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Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Sacred Heart Cultural Center

Sacred Heart Cultural Center
Rebecca Rogers

Victorian Romanesque in style with Byzantine influence, Sacred Heart Catholic Church (Sacred Heart Cultural Center) is considered one of the best examples of Victorian masonry work in Georgia. Towering twin spires, turrets, parapets, arches, and 15 distinctive styles of brickwork can be found on the building’s exterior. Imported stained glass windows from Munich Germany, a barrel vaulted ceiling supporting a dome, and an interior of intricately carved Italian marble give the building its unique quality. The church had its cornerstone laid in 1898, was dedicated in 1900, and consecrated in 1907. Brother Otten, a member of the Jesuit Order, was the architect.

The first Sacred Heart Parish dates from 1874, when the influx of Irish immigrants, who came to Augusta after the Great Famine in Ireland, made it necessary to build a new church to accommodate the growing Catholic population.  Its original building was a former wooden residence that served as both church and rectory for the Jesuit priests who came to administer the new parish. Shortly thereafter, the parish constructed a new building, which it used first as a church and later as a college and grammar school. That building still stands at 1322 Ellis Street and is now offices for the American Red Cross.

Sacred Heart Rose Window

Sacred Heart Cultural Center Rosette Window
Rebecca Rogers

For many years, Sacred Heart Catholic Church was one of the leading religious centers of Augusta. The pipe organ and choir were among the finest in the area.  The Jesuit priests were noted for their eloquence. The church's doors were always open as an invitation for people to come and meditate. Eventually, Sacred Heart’s prosperity began to fade. Two floods resulted in the exodus of the downtown population, and competition between parishes for membership diminished Sacred Heart’s support. Two world wars, the decline of the Sacred Heart schools, and constant maintenance demands also contributed to its overall plight. Sacred Heart held its last mass in 1971.

Sacred Heart Historic Photo

Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Historic Augusta, Inc.

Knox Ltd. restored Sacred Heart in 1987, and a nonprofit organization was formed to maintain the historic facility and to develop and promote cultural activities. Today, Sacred Heart Cultural Center is open for tours and is available for community events.



Plan your visit
Sacred Heart Catholic Church (Sacred Heart Cultural Center) is located at 1301 Greene St. within the Augusta Downtown Historic District.  It is open to the public Monday-Friday, 10:00am to 4:00pm. Self-guided tour, no charge; nominal fee for guided tours. Call ahead for group tours to 706-826-4700. Visit the Sacred Heart Cultural Center website for further information and a schedule of events. The church has been documented by the National Park Service's Historic American Buildings Survey.
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