ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL) – Abingdon community members are petitioning after church leaders at Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church announced plans to remove the 172-year-old Hiram Dooley House, also known as Fraley House, and replace it with a picnic pavilion.

Petition organizer Toni Doman told News Channel 11’s Amy Cockerham that the building pre-dates the Civil War.

“I mean it’s been standing through all of history,” Doman said. “To see it just being torn down for something that isn’t going to leave a historical impact is really disheartening.”

As of Monday evening, the petition had over 600 signatures.

“If the building was renovated and brought up to construction code, it still would not be an ideal facility for church activities,” Sinking Spring church leaders said in a statement.

Walter Jenny, President of the Washington County V.A. Historical Society, said the building is one of the last existing buildings from pre-Civil war times in the area.

“We want to sit down and talk with them,” Jenny said. “We think there are uses for this building that can make it a win-win situation for both the congregation and the community.”

To read the church’s full statement, click here.

To sign the petition, click here.