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History of Augusta Essay
African Americans in Augusta Essay
Historic Preservation in Augusta Essay
Religion in Augusta Essay
List of Sites
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The National Park Service’s Heritage Education Services; Historic Augusta, Inc.; and the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area in partnership with the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources proudly invite you to explore Augusta. This Discover our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary highlights 39 historic places listed in the National Register of Historic Places that bring Augusta’s history to life.
The Augusta travel itinerary offers several ways to discover the city’s historic places:
• Descriptions of each featured historic place on the List of Sites highlight their significance and include color photographs and information on how to visit.
• Essays with background on important themes in the city’s development offer context for understanding historic places featured in the itinerary. Visitors can read about the History of Augusta, African Americans in Augusta, Historic Preservation in Augusta, and Religion in Augusta.
• A map to help plan a visit.
• A Learn More section provides links to such information as cultural events and activities, other things to see and do, and dining and lodging possibilities. This section also includes a bibliography.
View the itinerary online or print it as a guide if you plan to visit in person. The Augusta itinerary, the 45th in this ongoing series, is part of the Department of the Interior’s strategy to promote public awareness of history and encourage visits to historic places throughout the nation. The itineraries are created by a partnership of the National Park Service; the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers; and federal, state, and local governments and private organizations in communities, regions, and heritage areas throughout the United States. The itineraries help people everywhere learn about and plan trips to visit the amazing diversity of this country’s historic places that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The National Park Service and its partners hope you enjoy this itinerary and others in the series. If you have any comments or questions, please just click “comments or questions” at the bottom of each page.
History of Augusta
Founded in 1736 on the western bank of the Savannah River, Augusta, Georgia became the second town of the 13th British colony. General James Edward Oglethorpe, the colony’s founder, ordered the settlement and chose its location at the head of navigation of the Savannah River below the shoals created by the fall line. Oglethorpe’s vision was to establish an interior trading post for purchasing furs and other commodities from Native Americans to compete with New Savannah Town, a small outpost on the South Carolina side of the river.
Augusta thrived as a trading post from the beginning, with several of the South Carolina traders moving their base of operations to the new settlement. By 1739 a fort was completed, and the official surveyor of the colony, Noble Jones, laid out the town. Its colonial plan was similar, but not as elaborate as the one used in Savannah. Augusta’s plan focused on one large square or plaza and was four streets deep and three streets wide. Fort Augusta was adjacent to the 40 town lots on the west side near the river. Augusta named two of its original streets for Georgia’s colonial governors: Reynolds Street for John Reynolds, and Ellis Street for Henry Ellis. These streets are still prominent features of the Downtown Augusta, Broad Street, and Pinched Gut Historic Districts.
As traders populated the town, they brought their wives and began to have children. The desire for a more civilized atmosphere dictated the need for a church. As a British colony, Georgia petitioned the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel for a minister after constructing a church building in 1749. The first minister, the Reverend Jonathan Copp, arrived in 1751 and began conducting services according to the rites of the Church of England. After Georgia’s division into parishes in 1756, the Augusta District fell into St. Paul’s Parish, and the Augusta church became known as St. Paul’s Church.
During the French and Indian wars, refugees from the surrounding countryside came to Augusta, taking shelter in the fort and church. The building suffered significant damage in that period and was replaced in the 1760s. Soldiers coming to Georgia during the war spread the word about fresh lands, and in the early 1770s new settlers arrived to claim land grants in the surrounding countryside. Many had formerly been tobacco planters in Virginia and the Carolinas. They transported their tobacco culture to Georgia, where tobacco soon became the main cash crop of the colony. In approximately 1797, one of the last important tobacco merchants in Augusta built the Ezekiel Harris House (also known as the Harris-Pearson-Walker House), which is representative of that nearly forgotten economic factor in Georgia’s history.
Augusta played a significant role in the American Revolution as one of the westernmost towns in the 13 British colonies. The first of the two battles fought here, the Siege of the White House, resulted in the hanging of 13 patriot soldiers by Tory forces under Colonel Thomas Browne. After the second, called the Siege of Augusta, patriot forces, under the command of General “Light Horse” Harry Lee, retook the town. The British erected Fort Cornwallis on the site of the former Fort Augusta and in the process destroyed St. Paul’s Church. After the Revolution, a new church, built between 1786 and 1789 and lasting until 1820, served all denominations, although much of the time it had a resident Episcopal minister. The present building, the fifth on the site, dates from 1918 after a terrible conflagration destroyed 30 city blocks in 1916.
During the Revolutionary War, the original town plan of Augusta expanded to the south, east, and west. At that time, the city named new streets for important Revolutionary War generals. Washington Street (now 6th Street) on the west was for General George Washington; McIntosh Street (now 7th Street) was for General Lachlan McIntosh; Jackson Street (8th Street) was for General James Jackson. All are now within the Augusta Downtown Historic District. Elbert Street (now 4th Street) to the east was for General Samuel Elbert; and Lincoln Street (now 3rd Street) was for General Benjamin Lincoln. Both of these now lie within the boundaries of the Pinched Gut Historic District. Greene Street on the south, named for General Nathaniel Greene, is a major artery that bisects both the Augusta Downtown and Pinched Gut Historic Districts.
After the Revolution Augusta became the temporary capital of the new state of Georgia between 1786 and 1795, and many of the leaders of the government moved to the town. One of the most notable was George Walton, a Signer of the Declaration of Independence, who built his home, Meadow Garden, on what was then the outskirts of town. Walton held many important offices, including Governor and Judge. Walton Way, named in his honor, is the main artery through the Summerville Historic District, a suburban village originally laid out by Walton in the 1790s. In 1799 Christopher Fitzsimmons, a prosperous Charleston shipbuilder, built another outlying plantation house on his productive Savannah River plantation, the Fitzsimmons-Hampton House on Sand Bar Ferry Road. Henry Turknett lived at College Hill, another 1790s house, on property once owned by George Walton, who hoped to have the University of Georgia built there. Turknett Springs, located behind the house, provided Augusta’s first municipal drinking water, piped down the hill in hollowed out logs beginning in the 1820s.
The town continued to grow in size and population governed by a group of Trustees of the Academy of Richmond County. In 1791 they added Telfair Street, named for Georgia Governor Edward Telfair. Telfair Street today is another major artery through the Augusta Downtown and Pinched Gut Historic Districts. President George Washington’s visit in 1791 was a highlight of this period. Legend has it that Augustans planted the large ginkgo tree in his honor at the proposed site of the Richmond County Courthouse, constructed in 1801 and now known as the Old Government House. The Trustees of the Academy built a new school building in 1802, the old Academy of Richmond County.
Augusta’s first suburb, part of the Augusta Downtown Historic District, was originally the village of Springfield, developed on lands confiscated from James Grierson, a Tory during the Revolutionary War. Captain Leonard Marbury laid out lots there on the west side of Augusta and built some houses. Augusta included Springfield within the city limits at the time of its incorporation in 1798. Because of their displacement from the Silver Bluff Plantation in South Carolina during the Revolution, a large population of free African Americans settled in Springfield by 1787. They established the Springfield Baptist Church there, one of the oldest independent black congregations in the United States.
After the seat of the state government moved to Louisville and subsequently to Milledgeville, Augusta continued to grow fulfilling the prediction of William Bartram, the naturalist, who said it would become the metropolis of Upper Georgia during his visit of 1774. Robert Mills, America’s first native-born architect, won the competition to design the First Presbyterian Church built between 1809 and 1812. Nicholas Ware built Ware’s Folly (Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art) in 1818 in the Federal style, reportedly for the astounding cost of $40,000.
As Georgia expanded westward and the states of Alabama and Mississippi attracted many of its prosperous planters, Augusta’s economy began to stagnate. The Charleston and Hamburg Railroad in South Carolina reached a point directly across the Savannah River from the heart of downtown Augusta in 1832. In 1833 the Georgia Railroad, chartered in Athens, Georgia, began building westward from Augusta toward a yet unnamed settlement that would eventually become Atlanta. Constructing the railroad attracted an Irish immigrant population to Augusta that has an important presence in the city today. Many were Roman Catholics, who joined the already well established Church of the Most Holy Trinity, founded in 1810 by French Catholics who settled in Augusta after the slave revolts on the island of San Domingo in the 1790s. For years the church’s name was Saint Patrick after its patron saint, in deference to its large Irish population.
The railroad did not ensure Augusta’s future, as the tug on Americans to move westward grew ever stronger, but other factors had a positive impact on the city. Spurred by the invention in 1793 of the cotton gin, local farmers grew upland cotton in the surrounding countryside making Augusta the center of a large inland cotton market. They shipped their cotton to the port of Savannah via cotton boats down the Savannah River, or overland to Charleston on the South Carolina Railroad. Henry Cumming advanced the idea of manufacturing cotton goods locally. He proposed building a canal for waterpower following the example of Lowell, Massachusetts. Constructed in 1845, the Augusta Canal attracted flourmills, cotton mills, iron works, and other manufacturing establishments along its banks. By the time of the Civil War, Augusta was one of the few industrial centers in the South. The Historic Augusta Canal and Industrial District represents the economic salvation of Augusta from the 1840s until well into the 20th century.
Augusta prospered again on the eve of the Civil War as evidenced by several buildings and homes constructed during that period. Noted architect, Charles Blaney Cluskey, who lived in Augusta at the time, designed the Old Medical College of Georgia built on Telfair Street in 1835 to house the state’s first medical school. The Brahe House, a fine example of a typical house type in Augusta known as the Sand Hills Cottage, was the creation in 1850 of German immigrant and jeweler, Frederick Brahe. Later it became the first house in town to have electric lighting. Suburban Summerville Historic District became the summer residence of choice for wealthy Augustans, who believed it was healthier due to its higher elevation and lack of mosquitoes. Two fine houses there are the 1849 Reid-Jones-Carpenter House and the Gould-Weed House, circa 1860. Dennis Redmond, a noted horticultural editor, constructed Fruitlands in 1853 on his Washington Road plantation, which became famous under the ownership of the Berckmans family as a fine nursery and still more famous in the 20th century as the clubhouse for the Augusta National Golf Club.
The Confederate government established the Confederate States Powder Works on the Augusta Canal in 1862, at the present site of Sibley Mill. A United States Arsenal, erected in approximately the same location in 1819, moved to the village of Summerville in 1827, after the commandant determined it a healthier location. The original arsenal buildings remain largely intact as the centerpiece of Augusta State University, with the Commandant’s House, known as the Stephen Vincent Benét House, used as an administration building. During the Civil War, gunpowder made at the powder works was moved to the arsenal to pack munitions sent to soldiers in the field.
Augusta served as a major center of the Confederacy, providing cotton goods, shoes, guns, munitions, food, and many other commodities. In addition, the city was a religious center of the South hosting meetings for the formation of both the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America at St. Paul’s Church, and the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States at First Presbyterian Church. The meeting took place there at the invitation of its pastor, Reverend Joseph Ruggles Wilson, who lived with his family in the parsonage, the Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home. Next door to the future President’s home was the parsonage of First Christian Church, home of future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph R. Lamar. Wilson and Lamar, both sons of prominent Augusta pastors, were best friends as children.
Following the Civil War, Augusta’s economy struggled but rebounded with the enlargement and expansion of the Augusta Canal in 1875. Several large new cotton mills were built along its banks. The old 18th century village of Harrisburg gained new life, as a large mill village grew around the Harris-Pearson-Walker House. Continuing expansion to the west, the City of Augusta completed its first major annexation in 1880 by taking in what is now the Harrisburg—West End Historic District.
Many of Augusta’s Irish immigrants lived in a section of town then known as Dublin. The surrounding streets developed as enclaves for various immigrant groups in the 19th century, including African Americans. By the turn of the 20th century, because of Jim Crow laws legalizing segregation, this area, the Laney—Walker North Historic District, became predominantly black. A few blocks to the south is the Bethlehem Historic District, created in the late 19th and early 20th centuries exclusively by and for African Americans. The Sand Hills Historic District, adjacent to Summerville, is another historically black neighborhood that developed parallel to a predominantly white business and residential area after the Civil War.
As the old city continued to expand, most religious denominations realized the need to establish a second congregation in the western end of the city, and often a third or fourth in the suburban areas. Consequently, the Church of the Most Sacred Heart established at Greene and McKinne (13th) streets in 1874 became the second Roman Catholic parish in Augusta. A magnificent new building was constructed between 1898 and 1900 beside the original church, which became a school. Greene Street Presbyterian Church, founded in 1875, was an attempt by the First Presbyterian congregation to expand its influence. Curtis Baptist Church, also founded in the 1870s, and Saint James Methodist Church, dating from the 1850s, were other examples of efforts to evangelize in the city. Most denominations also established a church presence in Laney—Walker, Bethlehem, Harrisburg, Summerville and Sand Hills in the late 19th or early 20th centuries.
Set up in 1874, the Augusta Cotton Exchange moved to an impressive permanent headquarters building constructed in 1887 in the Queen Anne style. With the expansion of the Augusta Canal, the city was once again a thriving center of a cotton economy. Cotton warehouses lined Reynolds Street between St. Paul’s Church on the east and 9th Street on the west. One can still find the last cotton warehouses, now converted to restaurants and shops, along 9th Street in the Augusta Downtown Historic District. Mills along the Augusta Canal manufactured cotton goods, including the antebellum Augusta Factory (razed in the 1960s), Enterprise Mill, Sutherland Mill, King Mill, and Sibley Mill.
A horse drawn street car was first put into operation in 1866, connecting the neighborhoods that now comprise the Pinched Gut, Augusta Downtown, Broad Street, Harrisburg—West End, and Summerville Historic Districts. In 1890, electrified streetcars provided more access between Augusta’s neighborhoods and its suburbs. This development also sparked Augusta’s tourist industry with the construction of the original Bon Air Hotel in Summerville in 1889-90. The Bon Air attracted wealthy northerners who wanted to escape harsh winters. Soon Summerville had a lively cottage industry of winter boarding houses.
The Partridge Inn emerged from one of these boarding houses, evolving into its present state over a period of thirty years. Pleased with the southern climate, some of the winter visitors built their own homes, or remodeled or enlarged existing cottages in Summerville. Golf came to the village when the hotel established the Bon Air Links as a recreational opportunity for its guests. This course, originally sand, became the Augusta Country Club in 1899. Forrest Hills Hotel and Golf Course, laid out to the west of Summerville in the 1920s, had a complete automobile suburb featuring curving brick streets and Georgian Revival estates on large lots.
Founded in the early 1930s, Augusta National Golf Club is on the Fruitlands property on Washington Road west of Augusta on the northern border of Summerville. Also in the '30s, the club established the Masters Golf Tournament, which has become golf’s premier event in the United States.
A military town since its beginning as a military outpost in the 1730s, Augusta served as a place of refuge in the French and Indian War and passed back and forth between American and British hands during the Revolution. The city hosted a United States Arsenal beginning in 1819. During the Civil War, it was a center of military preparedness, supplies, industrial output, and support of Confederate troops from the domestic front. The United States government established Camp McKenzie at Augusta during the Spanish American War and Camp Hancock in World War I.
In 1940 shortly before the United States entered World War II, the Federal Government founded Camp Gordon about 10 miles from downtown Augusta in south Richmond County in an area historically known as Pinetucky. After the war started, Augusta became a major military town again. Available space became additional housing, with many of the antebellum and Victorian homes converted to apartment buildings. The resort hotels became year-round commercial hotels. Soldiers in uniform were everywhere. The old arsenal buzzed with activity with high security around the clock. Augusta would never be quite the same.
After the war, subdivisions began spreading to the west, south, and east of town. Camp Gordon became a permanent installation, Fort Gordon, the home of the United States Army Signal Corps. In the 1950s, the Army Corps of Engineers finally dammed the Savannah River upstream from Augusta to curtail the periodic flooding that occurred and to generate electricity. The U.S. Government also built the Savannah River Plant in nearby Aiken and Barnwell Counties, South Carolina. These three governmental expansions of post World War II Augusta generated an economic boom reflected in the modern commercial buildings constructed in the Augusta Downtown Historic District. Yet this economic boost for the region eventually caused downtown Augusta to decline, particularly after two shopping malls, both with approximately 1,000,000 square feet, opened within one week of one another in 1978.
Today, Augusta’s downtown is on the rebound with shops and restaurants opening on Broad Street and near the river and many facades of historic buildings restored. An Artists Row helped stimulate new energy and became the impetus for a monthly street festival known as First Friday. A reclaimed levee built in the 1910s to hold back the worst floodwaters from the Savannah River is now a park called the Riverwalk. Between 5th and 10th streets, the park has outdoor historical exhibits, developed in the 1980s and 1990s, to interpret the city’s history. Regular festivals are held near the Riverwalk and on a new green space called the Augusta Common, which is in the 800 block of Broad Street. The Augusta Common features a statue of Georgia and Augusta founder James Edward Oglethorpe. A second statue of soul singer James Brown of Augusta overlooks the Common from Broad Street.
African Americans in Augusta
Augusta's racial makeup has long been largely African American. Its African American citizens have contributed greatly to the rich tapestry of the city's history. A number of listings in the National Register of Historic Places reflect the role of African Americans.
Georgia initially banned slavery during earliest colonial times, but eventually the Trustees allowed it, acquiescing to pressure from colonists who saw slavery providing economic benefit to their neighbors across the Savannah River in South Carolina. Remote Augusta worked gangs of enslaved Africans brought over from Carolina even before it was legal to do so.
Production of cotton required intensive labor to grow and pick, as well as to prepare to sell and send to market. Cotton’s potential for making high profits accelerated the desire of southern planters to own more slaves in order to grow more cotton, and slavery grew ever more prevalent after invention of the cotton gin in 1793. Augusta area farmers joined in the frenzied rush to plant more cotton, which almost completely supplanted the previous cash crop, tobacco.
By 1787 a large group of African Americans, who had been slaves on the Galphin Plantation at Silver Bluff, arrived in Augusta and settled in the then adjacent village of Springfield. Mostly free, they formed Springfield Baptist Church there, which was an offshoot of the Silver Bluff Church that the Galphin slaves established before the Revolution. Displaced by British invasion of South Carolina, former Silver Bluff slaves formed Springfield in Augusta and another church in Savannah that are among the oldest independent African American congregations in the nation.
Cedar Grove Cemetery in the Pinched Gut Historic District has been the burial place of Augusta’s black population, both slave and free, since the 1820s. Burials began there after the St. Paul’s churchyard closed in 1817. At that time, Magnolia Cemetery was founded for whites and Cedar Grove soon thereafter for African Americans. By an act of the legislature, authorities removed the remains of African Americans originally buried at St. Paul’s and re-interred them at Cedar Grove in 1825.
Augusta had five black churches before the end of Civil War, in an era when formalized assembly of African Americans was frowned upon, if not illegal, in most parts of the South. In addition to Springfield, Thankful Baptist, Trinity Christian Methodist Episcopal, Central Baptist, and Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Churches all had their own buildings.
After emancipation Springfield was the center of educational and political activities for Augusta’s black citizens. The Augusta Baptist Institute was founded in 1867 in Augusta's Springfield Baptist Church, eventually moving to Atlanta to become Morehouse College. The Georgia Equal Rights Association was founded in Springfield in 1866. This association evolved into the Republican Party in the state.
African American churches initiated efforts to educate Freedmen after the Civil War, first at a former wagon factory turned shoe factory by the Confederate government on 9th and Ellis Streets. Other notable African American educational institutions established in Augusta after the Civil War include Reverend Charles T. Walker’s Walker Baptist Institute; Ware High School, Georgia’s first public high school for African Americans, built in 1880 by the Richmond County Board of Education and later the subject of a Supreme Court case that legalized the practice of segregated education; Lucy Laney’s Haines Normal and Industrial Institute; and Paine College, a joint effort of the black and white Methodist churches. Shiloh Baptist Association founded Shiloh Orphanage in 1902 to provide housing, care, and education for black children without families.
After the Civil War, African Americans, not yet legally segregated from whites, gradually gravitated to the neighborhoods south of downtown. This area, now known as the Laney—Walker North Historic District, was formerly an area settled by Irish immigrants known as Dublin. Trinity Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Central Baptist Church, and Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church all had been in Laney—Walker since before emancipation. All three congregregations have moved away from the neighborhood, and only Trinity CME's building still stands. Afterwards a number of other churches came to the neighborhood. Tabernacle Baptist Church, which has a national reputation, moved to the district to its present building in 1915. Laney—Walker became Augusta's principal African American neighborhood and the location of important black owned businesses such as the Penny Savings Bank, and Pilgrim Health and Life Insurance. It was also home to noted black educator Miss Lucy Craft Laney. Another neighborhood developed outside the original city limits known as The Terri and Nellieville, parts of which became the Bethlehem Historic District.
Still another African American neighborhood, originally called Elizabethtown, developed north of the affluent suburb of Summerville. Today the neighborhood is the Sand Hills Historic District. The Cumming Grove Baptist Church and Rock of Ages Christian Methodist Episcopal Church were among the earliest congregations founded to serve its residents.
Amanda American Dickson’s acquisition of a large house on Telfair Street in 1886 is a notable exception to the trend toward segregation of housing and neighborhoods. Amanda Dickson was perhaps the wealthiest African American woman of her time, having inherited the entire estate of her white father, David Dickson of Hancock County, Georgia. She lies buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery under an imposing monument, a contrast to the modest grave markers on surrounding lots.
Preservation efforts in the African American community have centered on specific landmark buildings, including Springfield Baptist Church on 12th Street, The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History and Conference Center on Phillips Street, and the former Penny Savings Bank on James Brown Boulevard. In addition, Historic Augusta, Inc. is restoring the Union Baptist Church.
Historic Preservation in Augusta
Augustans have been involved in preserving parts of their historic city for over a century, and visitors today have the opportunity to see the tangible results of those efforts in many different ways. Reverence for the past is important in Augusta, and citizens' appreciation of what is worthy of preservation has evolved over time with national trends.
In 1900 shortly after its establishment in Georgia, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) made an effort to acquire Meadow Garden, the post-Revolutionary War home of George Walton, one of three Signers of the Declaration of Independence from the state. In 1901, the DAR succeeded in getting the house, which is located beside the Augusta Canal, making it into a museum that continues in operation today. With the Walton House, the DAR became the first organization in Georgia to acquire and preserve the home of a notable historically significant person for preservation as a house museum.
By the 1920's, the former Academy of Richmond County building became the new home of the Young Men’s Library Association--an early adaptive use in Augusta. Later the Augusta Museum occupied the second floor and eventually the entire academy building after the library association moved to Greene Street in 1960. Since the museum relocated to new quarters in 1994 the building has been vacant awaiting a new educational use, as stipulated by its owners, the Trustees of the Academy of Richmond County.
Next door to the academy, the Old Medical College Building also became vacant, when Richmond Academy moved to new quarters. The Sand Hills Garden Club converted the 1835 Greek Revival building into a garden center to be used by community organizations for parties, social events, and meetings. Other organizations had offices there, including the Augusta Genealogical Society. In 1989, the Medical College Foundation leased the building from the owners, the Trustees of the Academy of Richmond County, and completed a thorough rehabilitation. During the project, bones found buried in the basement provided proof that antebellum medical students learned medical procedures on stolen cadavers, when it was illegal for them to do so. The building is still an events center.
In 1937 Olivia Herbert, a winter resident, purchased and restored Ware’s Folly, an 1818 Federal style house. She gave it to the Augusta Art Association. Since that time, the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art occupies the house, using the building for classes and a gallery space featuring local and regional artistic talent.
Two private historic preservation efforts are notable in this period. In 1929, Dr. and Mrs. A. J. Kilpatrick carefully disassembled the 18th century Mansion House on Greene Street, numbered its pieces, and reassembled it on Comfort Road in the new Forest Hills development. In the early 1930s, Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts founded the Augusta National Golf Club on the Fruitland Nursery property, using the plantation home as the clubhouse. The building still stands. Today it is a familiar symbol of the internationally known Masters Golf Tournament.
After World War II, interest in preserving more of the area’s history led to the establishment of the Richmond County Historical Society in 1946. Two years later the fledging group bought “The White House” on Broad Street in Harrisburg, believing it to be the site of the First Siege of Augusta during the Revolutionary War. In 1964, the Georgia Historical Commission acquired and ultimately completely restored the building, operating it as a house museum. During restoration, someone discovered that the alleged “White House” was originally blue, so the Commission changed the name to the Mackey House, reflecting the owner during the Revolution. In 1975, Martha Norwood completed a definitive study, proving that the real “White House,” a.k.a. the Mackey House, was closer to the river, and that the house being interpreted as the Mackey House was actually built in 1797 by Ezekiel Harris, a tobacco merchant. Declaring it a fraud, the state quickly closed the house for tours. Later the building served as the Bicentennial headquarters. In 1982, the city took ownership and turned it over to Historic Augusta, Inc., a preservation organization. Historic Augusta reinterpreted the house to tell its true story. In 2004, the Augusta Museum of History assumed responsibility for the daily operation of the renamed Ezekiel Harris House.
In 1965, alarmed over the casual destruction of many historic properties in the downtown and following the example of the Historic Savannah Foundation, a group of Augustans founded Historic Augusta, Inc. The new organization’s members were concerned about construction of the elevated Gordon Highway in the 1950s through downtown, demolition of the 1820 Richmond County Courthouse and the 1890 Augusta City Hall, and a threat to the 1902 Beaux Arts Union Station. Two important initiatives included conducting a survey of historic properties and conceiving a plan to create a pilot project to demonstrate the value of historic preservation. The project centered on the Old Government House (1801) on Telfair Street, headquarters of the Junior League of Augusta beginning in 1952. After creation of the National Register of Historic Places as we know it today in 1966, Historic Augusta began actively initiating nominations to the National Register, first of local landmark buildings and later of historic districts.
The city adopted a historic zoning ordinance in 1970, superseded in 1992 by the present Historic Preservation Ordinance. As of May 2007, Richmond County had 44 listings in the National Register, 9 of them historic districts. The City has designated three local historic districts to protect them under the Preservation Ordinance, including Summerville, Downtown, and Pinched Gut (also known as Olde Town). Summerville and Pinched Gut (Olde Town) enjoy active and influential neighborhood associations that advocate preservation in these mostly residential districts.
Individuals, nonprofits, and corporations played significant roles in preserving historic buildings as well, especially after federal preservation tax incentives became available beginning in 1976. One of the earliest projects, known as LaFayette Center, focused on the former YMCA building on Broad Street and the adjacent row of 19th century townhouses. In the mid-1980s after sitting vacant for a decade, Sacred Heart Catholic Church underwent a thorough restoration becoming a cultural center. Historic Augusta acquired the Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home in 1991 and opened it as a house museum in 2001. The rehabilitation and conversion of Enterprise Mill to offices and apartments in the 1990’s was another successful project using the federal tax credits. The mill also houses the Augusta Canal Interpretive Center. More than 150 apartments have been developed above downtown commercial buildings in the Augusta Downtown Historic District since the late 1980s. The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History and Conference Center opened in the early 1990s, preserving a historic building and informing the public about the legacy of one of Augusta’s important black educators.
The City of Augusta supports preservation efforts in a number of ways including its renovation of the Old Government House in 1988 and rehabilitation of the William B. Bell Auditorium in 1989. The city established Main Street Augusta from 1991 until 2006 to help revitalize its downtown, and the Augusta Canal Authority in 1989 to preserve the Historic Augusta Canal and Industrial District and develop the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area. Augusta is a Certified Local Government and a Preserve America Community, both federal designations that demonstrate the city’s commitment to preserving its heritage for people today and future generations.
Religion in Augusta
Almost from the beginning, Augusta’s citizens made religious worship a high priority. The architecture of the historic buildings that remain and the rich religious history associated with them illustrate the importance of religion in the life of the community. Augusta’s historic churches are diverse in their denominational affiliations and in their architectural styles.
In 1749 even before colonial settlers had regular access to the services of a clergyman, they completed a small church. Because Georgia was a British colony, the congregants were of the Anglican faith. After the Revolution, the third of five successive buildings on the site of the first church ostensibly served all denominations even though an Episcopal priest was often in residence. Episcopalians gained control in 1819 and built the fourth St. Paul’s Church on the original site according to plans by architect John Lund. That Georgian style building burned in the Great Augusta Fire of 1916. The present building replaced it in 1918. Remaining true to Lund’s 1819 exterior design, architect Henry Ten Eyck Wendell enlarged the footprint and included a modern high style Georgian interior.
The oldest surviving church building in Augusta is now part of Springfield Baptist Church. Saint John United Methodist Church originally built Asbury Chapel on Greene Street in 1801 and used the building until 1844. When the Methodists constructed a new building, the Springfield Baptist congregation acquired the chapel and moved it to the corner of 12th and Reynolds. Springfield has existed on that site since 1787, making it among the oldest African American congregations in the United States.
In 1807 Charleston-born architect Robert Mills entered and won a design competition sponsored by the fledging Presbyterian congregation in Augusta. Although subsequently remodeled, the building he designed, constructed on Telfair Street between 1809 and 1812, still stands today as the historic sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church. Joseph Ruggles Wilson, the father of President Woodrow Wilson, was one of its notable pastors. In 1861 the church was the birthplace of the Presbyterian Church of the Confederate States.
Roman Catholics, banned in colonial Georgia, began coming to Augusta in the 1790s following slave revolts in the French colony of San Domingo. By 1810 they formed a congregation, known as the Church of the Most Holy Trinity, and obtained land on Telfair Street to erect a sanctuary. The present building, constructed between 1856 and 1863, is one of the two oldest Catholic Church buildings in the state. Later, many Catholic Irish immigrants came to Augusta to build the railroad and help dig the canal.
Kiokee Baptist Church, established in 1772 in what was originally St. Paul’s Parish, was the first of its denomination in Georgia. Kiokee is now located in Columbia County but remains the oldest Baptist congregation in the state. Although Trustees held a lot for a Baptist Meeting House on Ellis Street between 1777 and 1787, Baptists were slow to organize permanently in Augusta. They finally established a Baptist Praying Society in 1816 and constructed a building in 1820 on Greene Street according to plans by architect John Lund. The Southern Baptist Convention was born in this building in 1845, signaling one of many rifts that led to the Civil War. In 1902 First Baptist Church replaced the 1820 building with a Beaux Arts style edifice. The congregation moved to the west Augusta suburbs in 1975, but the 1902 building, its previous home, still stands and presently serves as a seminaryand a new Baptist congregation.
Other denominations established footholds in Augusta, even as the older congregations began to obtain second and third locations. First Christian Church dates from 1835 and had its first building on Reynolds Street, replacing it in 1875 with the present Romanesque Revival building on Greene Street, a gift of wealthy benefactress Emily Tubman. Lutherans arrived when German immigrants came in the 1850s. Their first church was Saint Matthews, built in 1860 on Walker Street, now the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association. In the 1880s a younger generation wanted services in English. They built Holy Trinity Lutheran Church at 553 Greene Street in 1889, now the Metropolitan Community Church. The two Lutheran congregations reunited in 1921 as the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, constructing their present building in 1926.
Liberty Methodist Church near Hephzibah was one of the first Methodist congregations in Georgia, having a presence as early as the 1770s. In town, Saint John Methodist dates from 1798. Its African American members formed Trinity Christian Methodist Episcopal Church on 8th Street in 1840. White Methodists established Saint James Methodist Church further east on Greene Street in 1856. Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church became Augusta’s second African American Methodist group before emancipation. Following the Civil War, additional Methodist congregations grew up in suburban areas, including Saint Luke’s in Harrisburg in 1875, and Trinity-On-The-Hill Methodist in Summerville in 1926.
Baptists quickly began evangelizing after their late start in the town, establishing among others Thankful Baptist in the Pinched Gut Historic District in 1840; Cumming Grove Baptist in the Sand Hills Historic District in the late 1840s; and Tabernacle Baptist Church founded in 1885, with its present building completed in 1915 in the Laney—Walker North Historic District. These three African American congregations were soon joined by other white brethren at Curtis Baptist, which located downtown on Broad Street in 1876. Its current sanctuary dates from 1927. The Hill Baptist Church, founded in 1930, has a building from 1940 in the Summerville Historic District. Baptists outnumber all other denominations in Augusta today.
A small number of Jews had a presence in Augusta by the late 18th century, and later formed an association. In 1847, they built their first synagogue and replaced it in 1869 with the temple at 512 Telfair Street. Known as Congregation Children of Israel, the reformed congregation joined with an orthodox congregation later in the 19th century. Both moved to west Augusta suburbs after World War II, but the 1869 temple, now used as city offices, remains the oldest synagogue building in Georgia.
In 1850, the second Episcopalian parish built the Church of the Atonement on Telfair Street designed by architect Richard Upjohn (razed 1976). Founded in Summerville in 1869, the Church of the Good Shepherd is now in an 1882 High Victorian Gothic building rebuilt after a fire in 1896. Good Shepherd’s original building, a wooden church in the Carpenter Gothic style, was moved to Harrisburg to become Christ Episcopal Church in 1882. African Americans founded Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church, located in a building on 12th Street since 1928.
The Presbyterians’ first attempt at founding a second church in Augusta in 1851 was not successful. The building, at 1102 Greene Street, later became a Civil War Sunday School for African Americans, but was acquired by Union Baptist Church in 1883, when a group of former members of Springfield Baptist improved and enlarged the wooden Carpenter Gothic building. In 1875, the Presbyterians started a new congregation known as Greene Street Presbyterian Church, whose present 1906 Romanesque Revival sanctuary has a commanding presence on the downtown skyline.
Roman Catholics expanded their flock by establishing Sacred Heart Church in 1875 on Ellis Street. The original building still stands and serves as the local headquarters of the American Red Cross. In 1898-1900, Sacred Heart built a magnificent new church at the northwest corner of Greene and 13th Streets, adjacent to the original building. Designed in the Romanesque Revival style, the building features 15 different brick designs and a cathedral-like plan. Since 1986 it has served as the Sacred Heart Cultural Center.
Taken together, Augusta’s historic churches and religious buildings represent an impressive collection of both modest and monumental ecclesiastical architecture for a city of Augusta's size. Fine examples of Gothic, Romanesque, Beaux Arts, Georgian, and Greek Revival styles can be found. These buildings witnessed important events in religious and national history, playing significant roles in religious freedom in America.
List of Sites
•Augusta Canal National Heritage Area/ Historic Augusta Canal and Industrial District
• Enterprise Mill
• King Mill
• Sibley Mill and Confederate Powder Works Chimney
• Augusta Downtown Historic District
• Academy of Richmond County
• Augusta Cotton Exchange Building
• Brahe House
• Church of the Most Holy Trinity
• Engine Company Number One
• First Baptist Church of Augusta
• First Presbyterian Church of Augusta
• Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art
• Joseph Rucker Lamar Boyhood Home
• Lamar Building
• Old Government House
• Old Medical College of Georgia
• Sacred Heart Catholic Church
• Springfield Baptist Church
• St. Paul's Episcopal Church
• United States Post Office and Courthouse
• Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home
• Bethlehem Historic District
• Harrisburg-West End Historic District
• Harris-Pearson-Walker House
• Academy of Richmond County─1926 Campus
• Fruitlands/Augusta National Golf Club
• Meadow Garden
• Shiloh Orphanage
• Tubman High School
• Laney─Walker North Historic District
• The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History and Conference Center
• Tabernacle Baptist Church
• Pinched Gut Historic District
• Sand Hills Historic District
• Summerville Historic District
• Appleby Library
• The Partridge Inn
• Stephen Vincent Benét House
Augusta Canal National Heritage Area/ Historic Augusta Canal and Industrial District
Augusta Canal National Heritage Area/Historic Augusta Canal and Industrial District includes a three-level canal constructed in 1845-46 and enlarged in 1874-77. The first level reaches 8.5 miles from head gate structures in Columbia County into downtown Augusta. The second and third levels take several paths through the Downtown and the Laney-Walker Districts prior to returning to the Savannah River, for a total length of approximately 13.5 miles.
Notable structures at the upper end of the canal’s first level are two head gates, the canal impoundment area, canal dam and attached fish ladder, stone quarry, and municipal raw water pumping station. The Enterprise, Blanche, Dartmouth, Sibley, and John P. King textile mills along the lower end of the first level date from the 1870s and 1880s. The Confederate States Powder Works Chimney is also in the area.
A source of power, water, and transportation, the Augusta Canal was one of the few successful industrial canals in the American South. Henry H. Cumming spearheaded its construction, envisioning that Augusta could one day become “the Lowell of the South.” Built by 1847, a saw and gristmill and the Augusta Factory were the first of many factories that would eventually line the canal.
At the time of the Civil War, Augusta was one of the South’s few manufacturing centers. The power afforded by the canal led Confederate Colonel George W. Rains to select Augusta as the location for the Confederate States Powder Works. The only permanent buildings ever constructed by the government of the Confederate States of America, the 28 powder works buildings stretched along the canal for two miles. Other war industries, established on or near the canal, made Augusta a critical supplier of ammunition and war material.
Unlike some other southern cities devastated by the Civil War and General Sherman’s march through Georgia and South Carolina, Augusta ended the war in “better condition than any other cities in this section of the South,” reported the Augusta Chronicle in December 1865. The population had doubled, and hard currency was available to finance recovery.
The canal’s Chief Engineer William Phillips suggested enlarging the canal as one of the improvements to mitigate recurring flooding. Boom years followed enlargement of the canal in 1875, as massive factories including the Enterprise, King, and Sibley textile mills; the Lombard Ironworks; and others opened or expanded. Farm families migrated to the city for factory jobs. Largely employing women and children, the factories led to the rise of several “mill villages” in their precincts. By the early 1900s, Augusta was a leading textile-manufacturing city in the South.
In the 1890s, the city replaced its old water pumping station with the impressive structure at mid-canal that is still in use today. As the electric age began to dawn, the city turned to the falling waterpower provided by the canal as the source of energy to drive the first electrical generation equipment. By 1890, the city boasted both electric streetcars and street lighting making it the first southern city to have these amenities. Gradually the factories converted from hydro-mechanical power to electrical power.
Periodic floods, which plagued the canal and Augusta for decades, continued to cause damage during the early 20th century. Following major floods in late 1920s and early '30s, the Federal Works Progress Administration deployed workers to make repairs and improvements, including raising the banks, building a new spillway, and straightening the canal.
By the mid-20th century, the canal entered a period of neglect. Textile factories began to close, and the center of Augusta’s industrial activity shifted south of the city. Although still the city’s drinking water source, the canal was no longer the driving force for development. At one point in the 1960s, city officials considered draining the canal and using the dry bed as the course for a superhighway.
Interest in reviving the canal for recreational use began to appear by the mid-1970s. A state park was proposed, and supporters of designation made efforts to have the canal and its 19th century mills declared a National Historic Landmark. While the state park never materialized, growing public interest in the canal’s historic and scenic potential led to several important developments. The canal and its industrial mills were listed in the National Register of Historic Places and later designated a National Historic Landmark as the Historic Augusta Canal and Industrial District.
In 1989, the Georgia State Legislature created the Augusta Canal Authority, the body that has jurisdiction over the canal today. In 1993, the authority issued a comprehensive master plan, outlining the canal’s development potential. In 1996, the US Congress designated the Augusta Canal as a National Heritage Area.
In the 21st century, the Augusta Canal is once again a source of pride and potential for its community. The mighty Enterprise Mill, revived after years of neglect as an office and residential complex, now houses the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area Interpretive Center. Its exhibits and artifacts depict canal construction and mill life and remind Augustans and visitors alike of the progress, problems, and promise of the Augusta Canal.
Begin your visit at either the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area Interpretive Center in the Enterprise Mill at 1450 Greene St. or the Columbia County Regional Information Center in the Locker Keepers Cottage located at the head gates of the canal at the end of Evan-to-Locks Road. Daily boat tours of the canal leave from the Interpretive Center. Times vary by season. Visit the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area website or call 706-823-0440 for information on activities, a schedule for boat tours, and a list of fees. The Historic Augusta Canal and Industrial District was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978. The canal achieved National Heritage Area status in 1996. Within the Heritage Area/district, the Augusta Water Works, Confederate Powder Works Chimney, Dartmouth Spinning Company, Enterprise Manufacturing Company, John P. King Manufacturing Company, and the Sibley Manufacturing Company have been documented by the National Park Service's Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record.
James L. Coleman, an Augusta farmer, had plans to build a flour mill on his plantation as early as 1845. With the initiation of the Augusta Canal project in 1845, he asked that its route be slightly changed in order to supply his land with water power. It was, and Coleman finished construction of a four-story granite mill in 1848 known as “Coleman’s Flour Mill” or “Coleman’s Granite Mill.” In 1873, the Granite Mill had an addition built on its west end. Upon completion of the canal enlargement in 1875, Augusta businessmen formed the Enterprise Manufacturing Company. The company hired Jones S. Davis to design a new mill. In 1877, paying nearly $200,000, Davis built a 3-story brick textile mill with a central stair tower situated at a right angle with the granite mill. In anticipation of future expansions, he provided for twice the necessary water power.
Three years after its completion, Enterprise’s shareholders voted to double the size of the mill. Thompson and Nagle of Rhode Island designed an addition to mimic the 1877 portion with the exception of ornamental details. To the rear of the combined buildings, they also added a tower to hold a 10,000 gallon water tank designed to feed a sprinkler system. The tower also housed the company bell.
The mill shut down in 1884. The directors rallied, and local lawyer and cotton broker James P. Verdery assumed the presidency. The mill withstood turbulent times in the early 1880s, and by the late 1880s, prosperity returned. The company constructed several more buildings including a weaving room (c. 1888), starch warehouse (c. 1890), the cloth warehouse (c. 1900) and a workers smoking building (c. 1920).
The Graniteville Company acquired Sibley Mill and in 1923 purchased a controlling interest in Enterprise Mill. In 1936, Enterprise and Sibley operations combined, and both mills became divisions of the Graniteville Company. Enterprise Mill stayed in operation as a textile mill until it officially closed its doors in 1983.
The mill sat vacant until 1997, when Clayton P. Boardman, III, a local businessman, purchased it and began extensive renovations. These included removing over 5,000 tons of non-historic debris, taking brick from the openings of and replacing 500 windows, restoring two stair towers, putting on new roofing materials, and extensive repointing of masonry. Enterprise Mill is now a thriving office, retail, and residential center, and the location of the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area Interpretive Center.
Enterprise Mill is located at 1450 Greene St. within the boundaries of the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area/Historic Augusta Canal and Industrial District, a National Historic Landmark. The Augusta Canal National Heritage Area Interpretive Center inside Enterprise Mill houses interactive exhibits about the canal’s conception and construction, its role in the Civil War and its aftermath, the New South industrial growth, and electrification of the city. The Interpretive Center is open Tuesday- Saturday, 9:30am to 5:30pm. Daily boat tours of the canal leave from the Interpretive Center. Times vary by season. Visit the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area website at or call 706-823-0440 for information on activities and a schedule for boat tours. Activities for a fee include the Canal Interpretive Center interactive exhibits and boat tours. Enterprise Manufacturing Company has been documented by the National Park Service's Historic American Engineering Record.
Incorporated in 1881, the John P. King Manufacturing Company was named in honor of a prominent Augustan, who was a moving force behind construction of the Augusta Canal, a United States Senator, and President of Georgia Railroad Bank. Charles Estes, company president until 1901, hired civil engineer John D. Hill to design and supervise construction of the new mill along the Augusta Canal in 1882. A year later, the mill was in operation with nearly 30,000 spindles producing cotton sheeting, shirting, and drills. Under the direction of Estes, the company prospered and by 1900, had 60,288 spindles and 1,812 looms.
The mill had a massive central stair and water tank tower reminiscent of the villa towers of northern Italy. Ornamental brickwork covered the tower and a variety of windows and doors ranging from arched to circular dotted the façade. The office and supply building continued the ornamental brickwork, as did later additions. The most historic buildings on the site include the much-altered office building with sections dating to 1882, the original mill and adjacent picker building, an 1892 mill, an 1896 powerhouse, and four brick-storage buildings.
Among many influential Augustans involved with the operations of King Mill, Emily Thomas Tubman, a well-known philanthropist, held a controlling interest in the company. Her nephew and grandnephew sat on the board until the 1960s. Elected president when Estes retired, Landon A. Thomas, Jr., was a natural choice, having served as vice-president beginning in 1898. His son, Landon A. Thomas, III, became president in 1926 when his father retired. In the early 1960s, Harris and Cassius Clay, brothers and members of the Thomas family, sat as directors and turned the focus of the mill’s production to institutional healthcare products. Spartan Mills purchased King Mill in 1968 but closed its doors in 2001.
Formed in the 1980s, the Augusta Canal Authority is concerned with the preservation and stewardship of the Historic Augusta Canal and Industrial District National Historic Landmark. Adhering to its mission, the Augusta Canal Authority recognized an immediate need when King Mill’s future was uncertain in 2001 and acted quickly to purchase the property and ensure that King Mill was under the direction of preservation-minded individuals. The authority leased the mill to Standard Textile, which put people back to work.
The John P. King Mill is located at 1701 Goodrich St. within the boundaries of the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area/Historic Augusta Canal and Industrial District, a National Historic Landmark. It is not open for tours. The mill has been documented by the National Park Service's Historic American Engineering Record.
Sibley Mill and Confederate Powder Works Chimney
At the beginning of the Civil War gunpowder supplies for the Confederate armies were insufficient. In 1861 Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, charged Colonel George Washington Rains with solving this issue by creating a local supply of gunpowder. Rains chose the flat lands by the Augusta Canal as the most suitable site for making the much needed gunpowder. He named Major Charles Shaler Smith as architect to design the Confederate Powder Works.
Work on the plant commenced in 1862 with materials gathered from the southern states including Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina. When completed, the powder works lined the banks of the Augusta Canal for two miles. The plant was organized for manufacturing efficiency. Raw materials entered at the first of 26 buildings and exited as gunpowder at the last. The most prominent of the buildings was the refinery, which resembled the British House of Parliament. Constructed directly in front of it was a tall smokestack in the shape of an obelisk, the only structure remaining today from the powder works.
The Confederate Powder Works, the only permanent edifice constructed by the Confederate States of America, was in operation until April 1865. During its lifetime, the facility produced approximately 7,000 pounds of gunpowder per day for a final total of 2,750,000 pounds. The Augusta Powder Works produced enough gunpowder to fully meet the needs of the Confederate armies and still retained a surplus of 70,000 pounds at the end of the war.
The Federal Government confiscated the powder works land and sold it between 1868 and 1871. By 1872, the buildings and structures remaining were deemed useless, and a project to widen the canal caused the demolition of most. At the request of Rains, the smokestack was left standing as a memorial to those who fought for the Confederacy.
As an early economic development project, a group of local business men formed the Sibley Manufacturing Company in 1880 and procured the site of the former Confederate Powder Works along the Augusta Canal. Brick from the demolished powder works was used in the construction of the Sibley Mill between 1880 and 1882. With the appearance of a medieval castle or fortress, the mill resembles the powder works it replaced. Designed to the specifications of Jones S. Davis by local architect Enoch William Brown, it is architecturally impressive and distinctive with its crenellated façade and corner towers, its massive size. and its Sibley Family Coat of Arms emblazoned on the towers.
Soon after the mill began operation, it became one of the largest and most successful cotton mills in the region, a model of good management and worker relations. Eventually, Sibley Mill became a part of the Graniteville Mills. Modernized in order to compete in an ever-increasing world market, the mill continued in operation until 2006, making denim used by major clothing manufacturers. Although no longer used for textile production, the mill's water-driven turbines still generate electricity which is sold to Georgia Power. Local businessman Clayton Boardman, who successfully rehabilitated the Enterprise Mill in the 1990s as living and office space, acquired the Sibley in 2007.
Sibley Mill and the Confederate Powder Works Chimney are located at 1717 Goodrich St. within the boundaries of the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area/Historic Augusta Canal and Industrial District, a National Historic Landmark. The Powder Works Chimney is accessible anytime free of charge. Sibley Mill is not open for tours. Sibley Manufacturing Company and the Confederate Powder Works Chimney have been documented by the National Park Service's Historic American Engineering Record.
Augusta Downtown Historic District
Augusta Downtown Historic District encompasses the historic commercial area centered on Broad Street; industrial properties along the Savannah River and the railroad; and governmental, religious, and residential resources along Greene and Telfair Streets. The city was laid out in 1736 in a gridiron plan with major streets set parallel to the river. Broad Street between 5th and 13th Streets is the historic commercial corridor with rows of continuous commercial blocks and a contemporary landscaped median. Greene Street is a tree-lined boulevard with a historic park-like center median. Government buildings, churches, and large houses of Augusta’s 19th century elite line the street. Telfair Street, the third principal avenue in the historic district, includes some commercial buildings but mostly features community landmark buildings, such as the Academy of Richmond County and the Old Medical College of Georgia. Ellis Street, a secondary thoroughfare, is lined with commercial buildings and provides service access to the buildings on Broad and Greene Streets.
The district contains a large intact collection of architecturally significant buildings in a variety of styles constructed from 1801-1967. Architectural styles illustrate the evolution of architecture in Georgia from its early settlement along the fall line in the 18th century through the mid-20th century. Historic buildings in the district include some of the state’s best examples of the Federal (Old Government House, Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art), Greek Revival (Old Medical College of Georgia), Gothic Revival (Academy of Richmond County), Romanesque Revival (First Presbyterian Church, Sacred Heart Catholic Church), Italianate (Joseph Rucker Lamar Boyhood Home), Second Empire, Queen Anne (Augusta Cotton Exchange Building ), Beaux Arts (First Baptist Church), Classical Revival (Lamar Building), Craftsman, Art Deco, and International styles.
Throughout its history as the commercial heart of Georgia’s second oldest city, Broad Street has played various roles in the city’s development. Because Augusta is a river town, trade came naturally to its early settlers making it a trading center. Trade links with the Indians raised the frontier town above the status of a garrison. Later, with the influx of Virginians, tobacco was introduced and became the staple crop of the Augusta area from c. 1770 to 1800. After the invention of Eli Whitney’s cotton gin in 1793, cotton outstripped tobacco as the principal cash crop until the early 20th century.
The coming of the railroad in the 1830s strengthened both the economic role of Augusta in the region and the commercial role of Broad Street in the city. Along with new industry and increased trade came additional retailing of goods and services. During the first half of the 20th century, established business traditions continued along Broad Street. Three new developments along Broad Street were the skyscraper (Lamar Building), the department store, and the movie theater. A revitalization effort is apparent along this main corridor with its new shops, loft apartments, restaurants, and art galleries opening.
Noteworthy landscape architecture is evident on Greene Street, one of downtown Augusta’s three main east-west streets. Greene Street is an excellent example of a 19th century urban park-like boulevard and is among the state’s longest landscaped avenues outside of Savannah. Named for Revolutionary War hero Nathaniel Greene, the street has two parallel roadways divided by a central median. Elm and oak trees now line the median originally shaded by oak, elm, and dogwood trees. It features open green spaces, azaleas, walks, benches, and commemorative monuments. Trees, grass, and sidewalks also border the perimeter of the street.
Downtown has always been important in politics and government because Augusta is the county seat of Richmond County, and the district includes buildings and structures directly related to the functions of the local county government and the Federal Government. The 1820 courthouse was demolished in 1957 to make way for the current Municipal Building which includes the county’s court functions. The Federal Government is represented by the c. 1916 United States Courthouse, on East Ford Street. The monumental size and scale of these buildings reflect the importance of government in Augusta throughout the 20th century.
Downtown Augusta is home to three historic schools, two of which have statewide importance. The Academy of Richmond County is among the first educational institutions established in Georgia. The Old Medical College of Georgia building represents the state’s first efforts to advance the understanding of human anatomy and physiology and train physicians in the practice of medicine. The John S. Davidson School illustrates the development of the public school system in Augusta and Richmond County.
The period of significance for the district begins in 1736 when Augusta’s gridiron plan was laid out and ends in 1967 to include the Miesian style Georgia Railroad Bank Building, a black steel and glass office tower erected following the boom years in which federal projects boosted the city’s population and building construction downtown.
Augusta Downtown Historic District is roughly bounded by13th St., Gordon Highway, Walton Way, and the Savannah River. The district contains many buildings open to the public and a number of private homes not open to the public. The Broad Street Stores, First Presbyterian Church, Greene Street Historic District, Murphey House (Richmond County Courthouse), Old Medical College (a National Historic Landmark), Phinizy Residence, Platt-Fleming-Walker-d’Antignac House, Sacred Heart Church, St. Paul’s Church, St. Paul’s Parish Cemetery Gate & Gravestones, Ware-Sibley-Clark House, Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home, and Zachary Daniels House have been documented by the National Park Service's Historic American Buildings Survey.
Old Academy of Richmond County
The old Academy of Richmond County is a hallmark for the Georgia public education system authorized by Georgia’s earliest legislation regarding public education. Established in 1783 as the first such institution of its kind in the State of Georgia, the academy initially held classes in a building on Bay Street beginning in 1785. The provisions of the original act establishing it provided for a Board of Trustees with broad powers in the town of Augusta. The board was to raise funds for building both a “seminary of learning” and a church, financing them through the sale of lots in the town. Lots were periodically laid out along with new streets, and then sold as the population grew.
While located on Bay Street, the academy hosted President George Washington in 1791 during his southern tour. The two frame buildings near the Savannah River gradually deteriorated, prompting the construction of a new building on Telfair Street, designed and built by Richard Clarke, which the academy occupied in 1802. The earliest portion of this building appears today much as it did in 1856-57, when William Henry Goodrich was in charge of remodeling it in the Tudor-Gothic Revival style. Alterations made in the mid-19th century include the battlements atop the parapet walls, the dripstone of molded brick above all of the windows, and the cast-iron clustered columns on the front façade portico.
The academy continued in successful operation until after the Battle of Chickamauga, when the Confederate authorities used it as an administrative building for a hospital. It reopened as a school in 1868, remaining on Telfair Street until 1926, then moving to a new building near Summerville. From 1928 until 1960, the Young Men’s Library Association used the ground floor of the Telfair Street building, while the Augusta Museum utilized the upper floor beginning in 1933. After the library moved out, the museum occupied the entire building until 1994 before relocating to a new facility on Reynolds Street. The building is still owned and maintained by the Trustees of the Academy of Richmond County, authorized by the original legislation of 1783.
The old Academy of Richmond County is located at 540 Telfair St. within the boundaries of the Augusta Downtown Historic District. It is not open for tours. The Academy has been documented by the National Park Service's Historic American Buildings Survey.
Augusta Cotton Exchange Building
Designed by Enoch William Brown, the Augusta Cotton Exchange Building was constructed in the mid-1880s at the height of both the production and trade of cotton in Augusta. The ornate cast-iron entrance elements underneath the projecting round corner turret complement the vigorous brick and stone details of this significant High Victorian building. The local foundry of Charles F. Lombard cast the iron columns for the entrance in 1886. Both Charles and his brother George R. Lombard had foundries and were well known and respected for the manufacture of ornamental iron.
The building housed offices for the brokers as well as the trading floor, where buyers and sellers closely watched the day-to-day prices of cotton and other commodities. Women were not allowed in the Exchange Building, and it quickly became the “Man’s get-away,” the site of after-hours cockfights and Saturday football gatherings.
Located on the banks of the Savannah River, Augusta has long been associated with the cotton industry. At its height, Augusta was the second largest inland cotton market in the world. During that time, a group of prominent merchants organized the Augusta Cotton Exchange, and by 1878, its facilities received and processed 200,000 bales of cotton. In 1885, the city had eight cotton manufacturers. The most rapid growth in Augusta’s cotton industry occurred in the 1880s, with a 580% increase in production. The cotton trade continued to flourish during the first half of the 20th century. Eventually Augusta’s economic dependence on cotton began to decline due to the infestation of the boll weevil, and by 1964 the city no longer operated an exchange.
In 1988, Mr. Bill Moore of Aiken, South Carolina, noticed the decaying deserted building, which he purchased and restored. He had the third floor and original roofline replaced, scraped the paint off of the interior heart pine wood, and repaired the windows. The most important artifact still remaining from the exchange is the 45 foot blackboard, which still has chalk figures written on it dating back to the early 1900s.
Previously used by the Augusta Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau as a Welcome Center, the Augusta Cotton Exchange now serves as a branch of Georgia Bank and Trust of Augusta.
The Augusta Cotton Exchange Building is located at 32 8th St. (at the corner of 8th and Reynolds Sts.) within the Augusta Downtown Historic District. It is open to the public from 9:00am to 4:00pm., Monday-Friday. An exhibit and the blackboard are located in the main lobby. Call ahead for tours to 706-432-3332. Free.
Built in 1850 by Frederick Adolphus Brahe, the Brahe House is an example of Sand Hills Cottage architecture in the Greek Revival style. Its construction in this style with a full English basement makes the house an unusual building in the Augusta Downtown Historic District. Most other houses of the period in this area were more traditional townhouses.
A complete set of building specifications drawn up in March of 1850 survives entitled “Bill of Specifications of a House of F. A. Brahe.” These specifications indicate that the house was to be a three-story clapboard cottage. The ground floor was to be of “good brick, to be 4 fire places in basement, two with good modern stile mantelpieces… 4 rooms with a passage throu the centre…paved with brick and a good floor to be tongued and grooved of boards not exceeding seven inches wide…The body of the house to be covered with good Cyprus shingles…all the windows to have good Venetian shutters.” An interior stairway was to lead to the second story which also was partitioned into 4 rooms, each with a fireplace, and a central hallway. This level was to include a front “portico.” The attic story was to contain two rooms and a passage with another interior stairway fashioned with “good turned newell post.” Dormer windows were specified, two in front and one in the rear of the house. The plans end with specifications for servants’ quarters in the rear, and “a pailed fence dividing yard from gardens with gate in centre…The whole to be finished by the first of September, Eighteen Hundred and Fifty.” Some time later, the Brahe House was the first in Augusta to be wired for electricity, using a direct current system that was added after the house was built.
Frederick Adolphus Brahe came to Augusta from Albany, New York, prospering here as a silversmith and at one time holding the position of Official Tender of the City Clock. His son, Henry A. Brahe, continued the family business by then known as Brahe’s Jewelers. The years following the Civil War were lean for the Brahes, as for many other Southerners, and they finally sold the business in the early 1900s.
The Brahe House is located at 456 Telfair St. within the boundaries of the Augusta Downtown Historic District. It is not open for tours.
Church of the Most Holy Trinity
Church of the Most Holy Trinity (St. Patrick’s Church) is significant as one of the first examples in Georgia of the Round-Arch or Romanesque Revival style that had its origins in Germany. A number of central European architects transmitted the style to America. John Rudolph Niernsee designed the church. He immigrated to the United States to become one of the most significant architects practicing in Baltimore during the mid-19th century. The painting, sculpture, and stained glass in the church are important examples of mid-19th century fine art and decorative arts.
In addition, Most Holy Trinity has one of the two oldest Catholic Church buildings in Georgia. The church also is known for its efforts to promote the welfare of citizens of Augusta during times such as the 1839 and 1854 Yellow Fever epidemics. During the epidemics, the church served as a temporary hospital. During the Civil War, it cared for ill federal prisoners of war en route to the Andersonville prison.
Begun in 1857 and consecrated in 1863, the stuccoed-brick church features a basilica plan with a vaulted nave and side aisles, an octagonal apse, and a narthex. Between 1894 and 1899, an octagonal bell tower and spire were added to the northwest tower. The Dorr family donated the 4,750 lb. bell, which hangs in the tower. The inscription on the bell reads, “Presented to St. Patrick’s Church, Augusta, Georgia, 1894. McShane Bell Foundry, Baltimore, Maryland.”
Decoration of the church integrates architecture with painting and sculpture. Most apparent is the rich color often highlighting architectural elements. J. and J. Devereaux painted the interior walls of the church. A mural scene of the lamentation is above the apse. The artists Lamkau and Kreuger painted three more murals.
The gallery above the narthex holds a 29–rank Jardine organ. It was built by the New York firm George Jardine & Son during the Civil War but not delivered until 1868 because of the Union blockade of southern ports. The organ is set in a gabled Romanesque-style wood case. In 1993, The American Organist reported, “the organ is the largest extant 19th–century organ … and one of the largest Jardine’s in the country.”
Original stained glass windows are above the altar illuminating the apse. In 1919, elaborate stained glass windows designed by Mayer & Company of Munich, Germany replaced the 12 opaque windows along the side aisles that were from the date of construction.
Church of the Most Holy Trinity is located at 720 Telfair St. within the boundaries of the Augusta Downtown Historic District. It is open Monday-Friday, 9:00am to 4:30pm except during services, when it is open to worshipers. Call 706-722-4944 for reservations. Free.
Engine Company Number One
Engine Company Number One illustrates the City of Augusta's recognition of the need to shift from a volunteer to a paid fire department to improve public protection. Noteworthy as the first firehouse in the city constructed as a public building, it is representative of the city’s late 19th-century public buildings and of the urban, “storefront-style” firehouses of the period.
Around the mid-19th century, the public became dissatisfied with the social-club attitudes and lack of efficiency of volunteer fire fighting companies. In 1853, the first American steam fire engine was built, and horses to pull the heavy steam engines became a standard part of the department. The change in firefighting equipment and the organization of paid fire departments brought a new era of professionalism and subsequent changes to firehouse design. Following national trends in firefighting, in 1886 the Augusta City Council disbanded all volunteer companies and absorbed them into a city fire department. The city built Engine Company Number One as the first public firehouse for this new city administered and paid system of fire protection.
Designed by Augusta architect Lewis F. Goodrich and constructed by G. Rounds in 1892, the rectangular, 2-story, masonry firehouse stands detached on a narrow city lot. Its architectural details are an eclectic Victorian combination including Italianate corbelled brickwork, segmental arched window and door openings, and a prominent Romanesque arch. An elaborate square wooden bell tower that gave architectural emphasis to the building is now gone, but the building’s façade retains the oversized first floor entranceway that identified it as a firehouse.
While the stylistic front facade portrays the building’s importance as a public firehouse, the remainder of the exterior is utilitarian. Two masonry outbuildings used as hay, feed, and coal storage are attached to the building’s rear. They were constructed prior to 1904 and may date from 1892 with the main building.
The firehouse interior reflected the art of firefighting in the 1890s. The first floor was one large space that accommodated the steam engine, hose wagon, horses and all other necessary equipment. The second floor consisted of a large dormitory space for the men, plus three smaller rooms for offices, meeting rooms and a bath. Interior features include beaded tongue-and-groove ceilings, unornamented plaster walls, plain cast iron columns for interior support, simple door and window moldings, upper wood floors, and lower concrete floors.
In 1954 Engine Company Number One moved to new quarters. A theater used the building, and it later became offices for the city’s electrical department. An engineering firm, Cranston, Robertson & Whitehurst, rehabilitated the building for offices in 1985.
Engine Company Number One is located at 452 Ellis St. within the boundaries of the Augusta Downtown Historic District. It is not open to the public.
First Baptist Church of Augusta
First Baptist Church of Augusta is one of many monumental buildings on Greene Street. Designed by Atlanta-based architect Willis Franklin Denny in 1902 and completed in 1903, the building is a significant example of Beaux Arts Classicism. This architectural style dominated monumental American architecture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Reflecting the Beaux Arts school of eclectic Classicism, the overall character of the building is one of massiveness, symmetry, and restrained Baroque monumentality. The imposing dome on top is a climax to the massiveness of the entire building. The exterior features a heroic portico with six modified Corinthian columns. Varied textures highlight the many planes from the motif of the pediment, to the Corinthian columns, to the masonry.
The building served Augusta’s First Baptist Church from 1820 until the early 1970s when the congregation moved to Walton Way Extension in West Augusta. The origin of the congregation goes back even further to March 15, 1817, when 18 Augusta citizens organized the Baptist Praying Society. Perhaps the most significant event in the church’s history occurred in 1845 when delegates from Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Kentucky, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, and the District of Columbia met at the church and formed the Southern Baptist Convention. The Southern Baptist Convention is an important denomination in religious life in the South today and the largest Protestant denomination in the United States.
First Baptist Church of Augusta is located at 802 Greene St. at the southwest corner of Greene and 8th Sts. within the boundaries of the Augusta Downtown Historic District. The church is not open to the public.
First Presbyterian Church of Augusta
First Presbyterian Church of Augusta is an excellent example of a church building that throughout its 180 years of continuous use has changed to reflect the prevailing popularity of church styles. Robert Mills (1781-1855), a nationally known architect of such works as the Washington Monument, designed the orginal church. Mills was born in Charleston and was America’s first native-born architect. He was working in Philadelphia under Benjamin Latrobe, when he submitted his design for the Augusta church in 1807 in a design competition. The original plans by Mills survive and are among the oldest surviving for any Georgia building.
Constructed between 1809 and 1812 in the Classical style, the church was significantly changed in 1847 to incorporate Romanesque round-arched windows and doors and crenellated parapet walls. The only intact features surviving from the Robert Mills design, other than the overall form and size of the building, are the small anterooms that contain the winder staircases in the narthex. Four halls on the sides and rear of the sanctuary were added to the building from 1951 to 1978.
The church is the oldest Presbyterian Church building in Augusta in heavily Baptist and Methodist Georgia where Presbyterians were always in the minority. Reverend Joseph Ruggles Wilson, father of President Woodrow Wilson and a distinguished minister of his era, was the pastor from 1858 to 1870. In 1861, he and the church hosted the first meeting of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America, a national denomination formed in response to the Civil War. The church building has remained in continuous use and associated with the same congregation since its dedication in 1812.
First Presbyterian Church of Augusta is located at 642 Telfair St. within the boundaries of the Augusta Downtown Historic District. It is open Monday-Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm. Please call ahead to 706-823-2450. Free. For more information visit the church website. First Presbyterian Church has been documented by the National Park Service's Historic American Buildings Survey.
Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art
Completed in 1818 for the exorbitant sum of $40,000, the Nicolas Ware House, Ware's Folly, is an architectural showplace in Augusta. Nicholas Ware, mayor of Augusta and United States senator, built this grand Federal-style house which now is the home of the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art. The house has a simple four room, center hall plan with four end chimneys and a handsome portico, bays, and oval stairway. The home's fluted pilasters, elegant bay windows, and three-story elliptical staircase were attractions to visitors when it was built and still enthrall tourists today.
Ware’s Folly served as the elite town home for three important Augusta families of the 19th century. The house belonged to the Nicholas Ware family from 1818 until 1828. The James Gardner family, elite Augusta merchants and professionals, occupied the house from 1830 until 1871. William C. Sibley, an Augusta cotton-mill owner, lived there with his family from 1871 until 1909.
Ware's Folly became home to the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art in 1937 through the generosity of Mrs. Olivia A. Herbert. A wealthy New Yorker who often wintered in Augusta, Mrs. Herbert purchased and renovated the mansion to provide a permanent home for the Augusta Art Club as well as a living memorial to her daughter, Gertrude Herbert Dunn, soon after her death.
The Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, founded in 1937 and housed in Ware's Folly with the Walker-Mackenzie Studio (c. 1907), is the Central Savannah River area's only independent nonprofit visual art school and gallery. The institute offers visual art education opportunities for students of all ages and interests. Quarterly studio classes and workshops are available in a wide range of media, from drawing and painting to photography, weaving, clay, and sculpture.
The Gertrude Herbert Art Institute is located at 506 Telfair St. within the boundaries of the Augusta Downtown Historic District. It is open Tuesday–Friday, 10:00am to 5:00 pm. Guided tours by appointment only. Call 706-722-5495. Free. For more information visit the institute's website. The building has been documented under the name Ware-Sibley-Clarke House by the National Park Service's Historic Americans Buildings Survey.
Joseph Rucker Lamar Boyhood Home
Local stove merchant William H. Salisbury constructed the Joseph Rucker Lamar Boyhood Home in 1860. An excellent example of the Italianate style of architecture, the 2½-story house has architectural details including an elevated 1-story front porch with Corinthian columns, dentils, gable brackets, brick chimneys, masonry lintels and sills, and a front entrance with transom and sidelights. A 1-story brick side addition dating from in the 1880s has a c. 1940 second story.
Wealthy benefactress, Emily Thomas Tubman, provided the house to the First Christian Church to use as a parsonage. Joseph Rucker Lamar (1857-1916), a Justice of the United States Supreme Court, spent his childhood and young adult life in the parsonage, while his father James Sanford Lamar served as pastor of the First Christian Church. The Lamar family resided in Augusta until 1875, when James accepted a new pastorate in Louisville, Kentucky. Joseph Lamar lived in the house between the ages of three and 18. While there, he became friends with Thomas (Tommy) Woodrow Wilson, who lived next door in the Presbyterian Manse. Together the boys attended school, played baseball, and held meetings in the attics of their homes. Later their careers in Washington overlapped with part of President Wilson’s first term (1913-17). As an adult Lamar became a prominent political and legal leader in Georgia. He codified the laws of Georgia in 1896, and served on the Georgia Supreme Court from 1902-05. President William Howard Taft appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he served between 1911 and his death in 1916 at age 58.
The church sold the house in 1875 to Ferdinand Bowdre Phinizy after constructing a new church building with an attached manse. The Phinizy family lived in the house until 1885 retaining it as rental property until 1932. From the 1930s until 1990, the house was a tourist home and boarding house. Historic Augusta purchased the then dilapidated building in 1995. After extensive rehabilitation, the organization now utilizes the home as its headquarters and as the visitors center for the Boyhood Home of President Woodrow Wilson.
The Joseph Rucker Lamar Boyhood Home is located at 415 7th St. within the boundaries of the Augusta Downtown Historic District. It is open Monday-Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm, and Saturday, 10:00am to 5:00pm. No admission fee. The house serves as the headquarters for Historic Augusta, Inc. and the Visitors Center for the Boyhood Home of President Woodrow Wilson, for which admission is charged.
Work on what was intended to be the Empire Life Insurance Company building began in late 1913 under the direction of the Whitney Company of New York, general contractors. G. Lloyd Preacher of Augusta and W. L. Stoddard of New York were the associated architects. The building was one of the first “modern” office buildings in Augusta.
Only a shell remained after the new building was gutted by fire in the Great Augusta Fire of March 1916 that burned 32 blocks of downtown commercial and residential buildings. It was rebuilt and opened for use in 1918 overcoming many obstacles including bankruptcy of the parent company. By this time, the building was known as the Lamar Building in honor the late Joseph Rucker Lamar, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, who had lived in Augusta. The Lamar Building became the Southern Finance Building in 1925, after its new owners formed the Southern Finance Corporation.
The Lamar Building has 16-floors and conforms to the basic arrangements of early 20th century multi-storied office buildings or skyscrapers. Its steel frame, reinforced with concrete and sheathed with stone, brick, and glass, and its overall form of base, tower, and cornice derive from Louis Sullivan’s formula for tall buildings as developed by the Chicago School of Architecture. Its Baroque detailing and setbacks, however, clearly identify the building as an early 20th-century manifestation of a skyscraper. It is a large, vertical column with a 2-story base and 14-story shaft with setbacks capped by an ornate cornice. The mode of finishing the cornice was altered in 1975 when the original red tile hipped roof was replaced by a contemporary penthouse designed by I. M. Pei. This addition includes a glass room perched over an apartment.
Since its completion in 1918, the Lamar Building has been one of the most prominent office buildings in downtown Augusta and a virtual hub of local commercial and financial activities. The building can be considered a local pioneer of modern office buildings with its fireproof characteristics, elevators, and office suites.
The Lamar Building is located at 753 Broad St. within the boundaries of the Augusta Downtown Historic District. It is open for free tours by appointment. To schedule call 706-564-6232.
Old Government House
Old Richmond County Courthouse or Old Government House, c. 1801, is one of the oldest remaining public buildings in Augusta. It was the seat of local government until 1821, when the government sold it to former Mayor Samuel Hale, who converted the public building into an elegant residence. The building was also home to several prominent families during the 1800s including those of Colonel Paul Fitzsimmons, a Charleston shipping magnate; Colonel James Gardner, editor of the Augusta Constitutionalist; and James Gregg, son of the founder of Graniteville Mills. In 1877, the Murphey family bought the property. Dr. Eugene Murphey was a well-known physician and humanist. He and his family owned the home for 75 years.
Dr. Murphey’s estate sold the property to the Augusta Junior League in the 1950s. The organization used the home as a reception facility until the 1970s and then gave it to Historic Augusta, which sold it to a development firm in the late 1970s. The City of Augusta purchased it in 1987. The city hired VGR Architects, PA, to rehabilitate the building into a reception hall that would also preserve its historic significance. Old Government House is once again a public building with a gracious residential character, accommodating parties and receptions.
The architectural history of Old Government House is particularly notable. It was built in a simple Federal style of brick with parapet end chimneys, appropriate for its governmental functions. When the building became a residence, the owners stuccoed the walls adding the elaborate recessed wings, iron portico, balcony, and window trim, giving it the look of the Regency style. The exterior of the house retains that Regency style today. These changes are thought to have been made between 1821 and 1839.
During the late Greek Revival period, probably in the 1850s, the iron portico was added, and the mantels, all but one door, and door moldings were changed to the Greek Revival style. The mantels were simple marble shelves with arched openings made of black or white marble. The doors were given rectangular sidelights and transoms. The stairway was replaced by an Early Victorian transitional one that is a straight-run but curves slightly when it reaches the central hall of the second floor.
In more modern times, partitions were added in the wings and second floor to provide baths, and the rear porch was enclosed. The stylistic changes to the house, which took place between 1821 and 1860, are compatible with each other and produce the elegant, tasteful, and balanced effect seen today.
Old Richmond County Courthouse or Old Government House, is located at 432 Telfair St. within the boundaries of the Augusta Downtown Historic District. It is open to the public for free, 8:30am to 5:00pm, Monday-Friday. Call 706-821-1812. Under the name of Murphey House, the building has been documented by the National Park Service's Historic American Buildings Survey.
Old Medical College of Georgia
Old Medical College, a National Historic Landmark, was built in 1835 to serve as home to the Medical College of Georgia (MCG), the third-oldest medical college in the Southeast. Old Medical College is of national significance because of its impact on the medical instruction of physicians nationwide in the antebellum period and because its distinguished and well-trained faculty helped found the American Medical Association to regulate medical education standards.
Constructed on land leased from the Trustees of the Academy of Richmond County, the Old Medical College was designed by Irish born architect Charles Blaney Cluskey, one of the nation’s earliest trained architects. It has a Greek Revival exterior with the exception of a central dome that was innovative for its day. The building stands two-stories tall with a raised and fully excavated basement and has a massed square floor plan. The front façade has a full-height portico with six fluted Doric columns that support a massive pediment. Built of brick, the building is clad in stucco scored to resemble stone. It contained ample lecture rooms, a museum, a library, and dissecting rooms. Two historic additions include a large solarium built in 1897 at the rear and on the west, the City of Augusta’s medicine dispensary constructed in 1869.
Old Medical College served the school well into the Civil War period and beyond. It reverted to Richmond Academy in 1913 when the medical school moved its base to the Augusta Orphan Asylum building. Richmond Academy held classes in the Old Medical College from 1914 to 1926, after which the building stood vacant for five years. During the 1930s, it was used by civic and social organizations and housed a USO canteen during World War II. From 1948 until the late 1980s, the Sand Hills Garden Club preserved Old Medical College, and the Augusta Council of Garden Clubs later took it over. The space was used as an activity center for receptions, meetings, and banquets.
The Medical College of Georgia Foundation began renovations to the building in 1988 as a conference and events center. The restored Old Medical College is referred to as the finest expression of the Greek Revival in Georgia.
The Old Medical College of Georgia, a National Historic Landmark, is located at 598 Telfair St. within the boundaries of the Augusta Downtown Historic District. It is open for self-guided tours by appointment only, Monday-Friday, 9:00am to 12:00 noon. Call 706-724-2627. Free. The Old Medical College has been documented by the National Park Service's Historic American Buildings Survey.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
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.
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.
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.
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.
Springfield Baptist Church
Springfield Baptist Church has two historic buildings on its campus. Springfield Baptist Church’s 1801 building is the oldest extant church building in Augusta and one of the earliest in Georgia. Originally constructed by Augusta’s first Methodist Society, since 1844 it has been the home of Springfield Baptist Church, one of the earliest independent black congregations in the United States. In 1897, the congregation built a new church building next to the old building. The buildings on the campus are two of the last surviving buildings of the historic Springfield community.
The Springfield Baptist congregation had been in existence for more than 50 years when it acquired its 1801 building from the first Methodist Society, which formed because of dissatisfaction with the Anglican-based church in Georgia. Throughout the 19th and into the 20th century, Springfield Baptist Church was an important religious, social, and cultural institution in the black community, spanning the change from slavery to freedom for African Americans. The Georgia Republican Party originated there as did Morehouse College.
The 1801 church building is an important and somewhat
rare example in Georgia of a “New England meetinghouse” type of church. The simple, two story rectangular wooden building has
two doors at the first floor topped by two arched windows and a smaller
arched attic window in the gable of the street facade. The east and west
sides of the church boast first and second floor ranges of seven wooden
12/12 windows. The interior of the church has an assembly-hall plan
consisting of a shallow vestibule on the north end and a long narrow meeting
When constructed by the Methodists as Asbury Chapel, the
1801 building was located at what is now 734 Greene Street and enlarged
there in 1822. In 1844, the Methodist congregation built a new brick
church, and the old wooden building then was sold to the Springfield Baptist
congregation and moved to face Marbury Street (12th) at the southeast
corner of Reynolds.
In 1897, Springfield Baptist Church moved the 1801 building back on its lot and turned it to face Reynolds Street. The congregation constructed a new brick church, which is a good example of the Late Victorian Gothic style and a significant work of architect Albert Whitner Todd. Rectangular in shape, the 1897 building has two square towers at the corners of the front façade. The larger of the two is the bell tower. The church’s pointed-arch windows and entrances, tower buttresses, gabled parapets, and steeply pitched pyramidal tower roofs are characteristic features of the Late Victorian Gothic style. On the interior the entrance vestibules open into the rectangular sanctuary with raised platform at the opposite end and two sections of wooden pews. Since constructing the 1897 sanctuary, the congregation has used its 1801 building for offices, meeting rooms, and activity centers .
Springfield Baptist Church is located at 114 12th St. with the 1801 building at the rear facing Reynolds St. within the boundaries of the Downtown Augusta Historic District. Open for tours by appointment only. Call 706-724-1056. Free. For more information about the Springfield Baptist Church and Augusta's Springfield community, you may also wish to visit this website.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is located on the banks of the Savannah River, where in 1735, General Oglethorpe founded Georgia’s second city as a fortress and Indian trading center upriver from Savannah. The church grounds are the site of the first church of Augusta built in 1749 and the location of old Fort Augusta built by colonists as protection against Indians. Rebuilt as Fort Cornwallis during the Revolutionary War, the fort was captured by “Lighthorse Harry” Lee, which was a great blow to the British cause.
The present building is a 1917-18 copy of the old Federal style church of 1820, the fourth church on the site that burned in the Great Augusta Fire of 1916. Architect of the church, Henry T. E. Wendell, planned and supervised construction of the present building with relatively faithful adherence to John Lund’s original exterior design but with significant modifications to the earlier interior design.
The red brick church has three entrances: one central projecting entrance section and two recessed ones on either side. A colonnaded façade in the Classical Revival style with Doric columns defines the entrances and completes the portico. The entrance has double doors topped by a variation of the Palladian window. A centered round window is on each of the bell tower’s four lower sides. The top section is a multisided bell tower with a domed roof.
The interior of the building has arched vaulted ceilings with Corinthian pilasters. The Palladian window in the chancel over the altar is of stained glass as are the arched memorial windows in the nave. Much of the church furniture saved from the 1916 fire is still in use in the church. The only relic of the first church is a simple marble baptismal font brought from England in 1751, which is on display in the narthex.
The cemetery dates from the very earliest days of the church and has existing tombstones dating from as early as the 1780s. It is the resting place of a number of important people. At the rear of the churchyard is a Celtic cross of granite erected by the Colonial Dames on the site of Fort Augusta/Cornwallis. General Oglethorpe brought the damaged cannon at its foot from England in 1733 for use at the fort.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is located at 605 Reynolds St. at the corner of 6th and Reynolds Sts. within the boundaries of the Augusta Downtown Historic District. The church is open 9:00am to 4:00pm on Monday-Friday, 10:00am to noon Saturday. Call ahead for tours to 706-724-2485. Free. Visit its website. St. Paul’s Church and St. Paul's Parish Cemetery Gate and Gravestone have been documented by the National Park Service's Historic American Buildings Survey.
United States Post Office and Courthouse
The United States Post Office and Courthouse in Augusta is an excellent example of the Italian Renaissance Revival, a style well suited to the concept promoted by the Federal Government in the early 20th century that government buildings should be both monumental and beautiful. Designed and constructed under the auspices of the U.S. Treasury Department's Supervising Architect Oscar Wenderoth, the building dates from 1916 and cost a total of $250,000. Wenderoth trained with Carrere and Hastings in New York, a firm nationally acclaimed for its designs in Classical Revival styles. President Taft appointed him Supervising Architect in 1912.
Sited on the edge of Augusta’s downtown commercial district, the building was part of a plan to beautify the area. The imposing U-shaped building has exterior walls of cream statuary marble provided by the Blue Ridge Marble Company of Nelson, Georgia. It has three stories, a full basement, and a mezzanine over the rear-mailing platform. The original red mission tile roof remains with minor replacements. The Renaissance Revival style can be seen in the symmetrical elevations with bold cornices, arched windows, different window design at each floor, use of brackets and arches, a veranda extending along an entire façade, and the sculptural ornamentation.
An extension to the east (rear) in 1936 enlarged the postal work area. A 1960 modernization included installation of a new passenger elevator, central air, and aluminum front doors. 1971 saw the addition of a fire escape, manual fire alarm system, acoustical ceilings, and contemporary lighting in the second and third floor corridors. A complete rehabilitation between 1992 and 1996 encompassed restoration of the original courtroom ceiling and the second and third floor corridors, and installation of a new security screen in the lobby and a new heating and air conditioning system and electrical wiring.
The building serves today as the headquarters for all U.S. District Court offices for the Augusta Division of the Southern District of Georgia. The impressive original courtroom is still used for the District Court. In 1973, the building’s function changed from being a combined Post Office and Federal Courthouse to an expanded United States Courthouse, seat of the Federal District Court. The building remains a beautiful and dignified symbol of the Federal presence in Augusta.
The United States Post Office and Courthouse is located at 500 E. Ford St. within the boundaries of the Augusta Downtown Historic District. It is not open to the public for tours.
Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home
Although he is generally associated with Princeton University and the governorship of New Jersey prior to becoming President of the United States, Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born in Virginia and spent 13 childhood years in Augusta, Georgia. The son of Joseph Ruggles Wilson, a Presbyterian minister, he moved with his parents and two sisters to Augusta in 1858, when his father was installed as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church. The future president, then known as “Tommy,” had just turned one when the Wilsons moved to Augusta. His younger brother was born while they lived in Augusta.
In 1860, the church offered Reverend Wilson a raise and a comfortable new house as incentives to remain. The salary increased from an above average $2,500 to a generous $3,000 per annum. The church purchased the house for $10,000. The Classical Revival 2½-story brick home had conveniences of the day, including gas lighting and running water. The church justified this purchase by explaining its goal of making the pastor and his family so comfortable in this temporal life that his only earthly concern would be the care of his congregants’ souls.
The Wilson family remained in Augusta until the fall of 1870 when Tommy was nearly 14. Wilson suggested in a speech in 1909 that his earliest memory was standing at the front gate and hearing someone pass by exclaiming that Abraham Lincoln had been elected, and there would be war. He also remembered wounded and dying soldiers, when his father’s churchyard had been confiscated by the Confederate government to use as a hospital. Joseph Wilson, originally from Ohio, defended slavery in a widely distributed sermon and served as Chaplain in the Confederate Army. Young Tommy Wilson witnessed Jefferson Davis being brought under guard through the streets of Augusta after his capture.
While living in the house, Wilson formed the Lightfoot Baseball Club with friends and served as its president. He wrote a constitution and bylaws and conducted the meetings according to Parliamentary Procedure in the carriage house. This started his lifelong fascination with governing and political science, culminating in the U.S. Presidency and formation of the League of Nations.
The Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home is located at 419 7th St. within the boundaries of the Augusta Downtown Historic District. It is owned and operated by Historic Augusta, Inc. and is open for tours, Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00am to 5:00pm. An admission fee is charged. Groups by appointment. Call 706-722-9828. For additional information, visit Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home. The home has been documented by the National Park Service's Historic American Buildings Survey.
Bethlehem Historic District
Bethlehem Historic District is significant as an intact historically African American urban neighborhood located in the southern section of Augusta. During the 1870s, three families owned the area of the Bethlehem community: the Jacksons, Steiners, and Picquets. By 1876, all three property owners had begun to subdivide their land to accommodate new interest in settlement of the area due to its favorable location.
The Central of Georgia Railroad runs along the east side of the neighborhood and two early roads, Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. (Milledgeville Road) and Savannah Road, merge near the center of the neighborhood. Because the district had both rail and road related transportation, industries located in the area. These industries included the Georgia-Carolina Warehouse and Compress Company, the Southeastern Compress and Warehouse Company, brick yards, lumberyards, and the Central of Georgia railroad yard. They employed those who settled in the neighborhood. The district also had a number of stores located along the intersections of major streets including grocery stores, barbershops, shoe repair shops, gas stations, and drug stores.
The district is architecturally significant for its excellent collection of historic residential, commercial, and community landmark buildings in a variety of styles—Shotgun, Folk Victorian, Colonial Revival, and Craftsman. The residential housing stock was built around the roads and railroad lines. Most of the houses were small so that a large number could fit into a small area. Some of the later homes are larger.
In 1898, Walter S. Hornsby, Sr. founded the Pilgrim Health and Life Insurance Company, the largest African American business in Augusta at the turn of the century. Pilgrim grew to be one of the leading insurance companies owned and operated by African Americans. Hornsby resided in Bethelehem. The Hornsby home on Twiggs Street, a large Colonial Revival style dwelling, is one of the few high style residences in the area.
Churches were important and vital institutions within the Bethlehem neighborhood. The church not only performed religious services but also served as a social center to discuss political issues, provide education, and support cultural activities. Intact historic churches include Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church (c. 1880) on Daniel Street, Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church (c. 1900) on Maple Street, and Mount Calvary Baptist Church (c. 1927) and Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church (c. 1921) on Wrightsboro Road. One of the most significant buildings is the Bethlehem Community Center established by a Methodist women’s organization in 1912 to provide day care and educational programs for the youth of the community. Brick veneer alters the exterior, but the interior still has its original plan, materials, and workmanship. The neighborhood adopted the Bethlehem name from the community center in the twentieth century.
Bethlehem Historic District is roughly bounded by Wrightsboro Rd., Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Railroad, Poplar, and Clay Sts. Most of the buildings are not open to the public.
Harrisburg-West End Historic District
Harrisburg—West End Historic District is an important large residential area that grew up west of downtown Augusta from the late 18th to the early 20th centuries. The district includes the remains of the late 18th-century village of Harrisburg, early to mid-19th-century development between the city of Augusta and the community of Summerville, a large amount of late 19th-century housing for the workers of the nearby mills, and an early 20th-century area. Together they form one cohesive community. The district has a collection of residential and commercial buildings, churches, and schools dating from the late 19th century into the early 20th century in a wide variety of building types and styles.
The earliest settlement formed around Ezekiel Harris’ house (Harris-Pearson-Walker House) at 1822 Broad Street. In 1794, Mr. Harris, a tobacco merchant from South Carolina, bought 323½ acres with the intent of developing a tobacco trading center to rival those in Augusta. He built a tobacco warehouse on the river, constructed his large house in 1797 to accommodate planters who arrived with their crops, and established a free ferry to entice business to the area. Mr. Harris was not a successful businessman, however. Due to a series of costly lawsuits, he began selling off lots for residential development in 1799. The area became known as the Village of Harrisburg by 1800 and existed as a sparsely settled community through the 1870s, when industrial progress brought tremendous residential growth.
The southeast portion of the district developed from the
early to late 1800s close to the major thoroughfares of 15th Street and
Walton Way that led from Augusta to the fashionable outlying community
of Summerville. From 1830 to 1860, the town of Rollersville flourished
centered along Hicks Street between Crawford Avenue and 15th Street on
land owned by the Huntington and Bohler families. Today, the only remaining
feature is the community cemetery with its graves of family members, slaves,
and Confederate and Civil War soldiers. A lone monument marks the
first burial in 1827 and the last in 1910. Rollersville was lost
in the 1970s, when almost all the houses were demolished for the construction
of the Calhoun Expressway.
The Augusta Canal enlargement of 1875 was the catalyst for further development, including two new mills dating from the early 1880s, Sibley Mill and John P. King Manufacturing Company. Sibley Mill is on the site of the Old Confederate Powderworks dismantled after the Civil War. Only the obelisk smokestack remains. Sibley purchased land across the canal and built housing for its employees. The John P. King Manufacturing Company, constructed in 1882 just east of Sibley, also built housing in the area for its workers. The mills increased the population making the small village a densely populated part of Augusta by 1900.
Several different areas grew between the 1880s and the turn of the century. The Augusta Land Company acquired an "L" shaped area roughly south of Broad and west of Tuttle and the Huntington and Bohler estates around 1873. Another area known as the West End, bounded by Hicks, Eve, Walton Way and 15th Street, also developed at this time but remained distinctively different from the mills. Augusta incorporated this section into the city limits in 1882 and designated it as the 5th Ward.
Harrisburg served as a place to live, shop, worship, and learn. Before 1904, commercial development
occurred along Broad Street and spread with corner stores and grocers.
A number of historic churches are scattered throughout the district.
The oldest is Christ Episcopal Church built in 1871 as Summerville's Church of the Good Shepherd and moved to the corner
of Greene and Eve Streets in 1882. The Crawford Avenue Baptist Church;
Central Christian Church; and two black churches, Hosannah Baptist and
St. John’s Baptist, are other examples. Three historic school buildings
remain. A school on Walker between Crawford and Tuttle Street is
one of the first public schools for African Americans in
Augusta. It is now the Harrisburg-West End Community Center. The
Martha Lester School erected on Broad Street in 1934 is used today for
music instruction by the Richmond County Board of Education.
By the 1930s, the mills began to decline and sell their housing to private individuals. Houses along Pearl Street near Sibley and King Mills were removed in 1972 in the name of urban renewal leaving large open spaces. Also in the early 1980s, construction of the John C. Calhoun Expressway divided the district into North and South regions. Through all of the change, however, the district remains a viable community of property owners who support their neighborhood institutions and are proud to call Harrisburg home.
The Harrisburg—West End Historic District is roughly bounded by 15th St., Walton Way, Heard Ave., Milledge Rd., and the Augusta Canal. The Harris-Pearson-Walker House, (now known as the Ezekiel Harris House and previously as the White House) has been documented as the White House by the National Park Service's Historic American Buildings Survey.
The architecturally distinguished Harris-Pearson-Walker House was the first house built in the Village of Harrisburg near Augusta and the residence of its founder, Ezekiel Harris, from 1797 until about 1807. The Pearson-Walker family then owned the home from 1809 until 1873. When the house was built, tobacco was the primary cash crop in Georgia. Liberal land grants and rich soil attracted tobacco planters who had depleted their farmlands farther north. Towns sprang up around the tobacco inspection stations and warehouses. Ezekiel Harris came to this area of Georgia from Edgefield County, South Carolina, to establish his own tobacco warehouse. In 1794, Harris bought 323½ acres of the White House Tract and built his home in 1797. On the rest of the land, he laid out a village he named after himself – Harrisburg. He hoped that this new village would rival Augusta in the tobacco trade.
The house is a rare example of the Georgian style of architecture popular in the 1700s, with elements of the transitional style between Georgian and Federal popular after the Revolutionary War. Structural evidence suggests that the house was constructed in two stages, with the eastern side of the building erected later than the western side. The most striking architectural feature is the front entranceway with a design similar to those in Palladio Londonensis. The door is flanked with fluted pilasters on pedestals supporting an entablature ornamented with a pulvinated frieze. More subtle architectural features are the beaded clapboards and chamfered porch supports, expensive decorative details that indicate Mr. Harris had considerable wealth.
The gambrel roof, as seen in English handbooks after 1733, extends to form the roofs of the front and rear porches. The low 68°-slope is characteristic of this period, when the tendency was to lower roof heights. Unusual in southern Georgian style, the gambrel roof was predominately seen farther north in the Virginia and Delaware areas.
The design of the interior represents the fashion of the late 18th century for plaster walls rather than the earlier paneled ones. The trim itself preserves the academic forms typical of the pre-Revolution period. The large room on the west, the parlor, is enriched with dog-ear motifs on the mantle and doorway. The mantle has a pulvinated frieze and dentil molding, and the breaks on either side of the entablature are simplifications of the end consoles illustrated in Swan’s British Architect, a popular builder’s guide of the period. Another unusual feature is the arched ceiling of the hall and differing wainscoting on the first floor rooms.
The Harris-Pearson-Walker House, now known as the Ezekiel Harris House, is located at 1822 Broad St. within the Harrisburg—West End Historic District. The house is open Tuesday through Friday by appointment only and Saturday, 10:00am to 4:30pm. Call 706-737-2820 or visit the website. The house has been documented under the name, White House, by the National Park Service's Historic American Buildings Survey.
Academy of Richmond County—1926 Campus
The Academy of Richmond County—1926 Campus is a fine example of the use of Academic Gothic style for a 1926 city high school. The school on its 30-acre campus reflects what one expected a school to look like at the time. Its impressive main building has design links to the past and to other academic institutions, mainly colleges. Constructed to replace the previous Academy of Richmond County on Telfair Street, the main building retains much of its original material and form with its Gothic detailing, pointed-arch entrance portals, corner buttresses, contrasting materials, and brick patterning. It was an important work of the local Augusta-based architectural firm Scroggs and Ewing. The architecturally significant 1950s additions to the school are in the Modern or International style. Major George Butler, the principal from 1909-27, described the school in 1927 as “second to no high school in the South in terms of facilities.”
The “academy” was one of the oldest forms of public education in Georgia. The Academy of Richmond County, which moved to this building when it was completed in 1926, was founded in 1783 by an act of the legislature and endowed with land formerly owned by the King of England. It opened in April 1785 on Bay Street and has been in almost continuous operation, making it the oldest educational institution in Georgia still operating and one of the oldest chartered high schools still functioning in the United States.
The school was for white males only until the 1950s. From 1926-58, it also housed the Junior College of Augusta, which was established by the Board of Education in 1925. The Junior College of Augusta was the first public junior college in Georgia that was supported by a local Board of Education, one of the first junior colleges in Georgia, and part of a nationwide movement from the 1890s to the 1930s known as the “Junior College Movement.” The Academy of Richmond County remains an active high school.
The Academy of Richmond County—1926 Campus is located at 910 Russell St. It is not open for public tours. Contact the Richmond County Board of Education at 706-826-1118 or the Academy at 706-737-7152 or visit its website for information about sports events and other activities on campus open to the public.
Fruitlands/Augusta National Golf Club
Fruitlands, Augusta National Golf Club, is the site of an antebellum plantation set on a tract of 345 acres now in the heart of Augusta’s western suburbs. Located on Washington Road, the main commercial artery leading from Downtown Augusta to Interstate Highway 20, the secluded and pristine ambiance inside its gates belies the suburban nature of its setting. Since 1930, Fruitlands has been the home of the Augusta National Golf Club, an exclusive internationally renowned course designed by Alistair McKenzie and Robert Tyre (“Bobby”) Jones, who became famous for winning the Grand Slam of Golf as an amateur in 1930.
In 1854 Dennis Redmond, an Irish born horticulturalist, built the plantation house now used as the clubhouse. Redmond edited the widely read Southern Cultivator, which was published in Augusta. He chose a design with broad, 2-story verandas topped by a hipped roof and cupola suitable for the hot, sultry summers typical in the South. A gallery with 20 square pillars encircles the building, which is constructed of concrete and is important as possibly the first example of such construction for a dwelling in the southeastern United States. Redmond espoused this construction as superior in his publication, stressing its cooling effect in the summer and its insulation in the winter. It also guarded against vermin. The Augusta National Golf Club has modified the house in a number of ways.
In 1857 and 1858, Redmond sold Fruitlands to a Belgian horticulturalist named L. E. M. Berckmans. He and his son, P. J. A. Berckmans, established Fruitland Nursery on the site, which became one of the most important horticultural centers in the South. Not only did they sell plant material, but they also imported new specimens and developed new varieties well adapted to the climate. The Berckmans created some of the most common southern shrubs and trees at Fruitlands. The beautifully landscaped golf course still has many plantings that originated when the Berckmans family operated their nursery.
One of the most famous scenes at the Augusta National Golf Club is Magnolia Lane, which leads from Washington Road to the clubhouse. The Berckmans planted its trees in 1858 and 1859 from seeds sent to them from Athens, Georgia. Fruitland Nursery imported more than 40 varieties of azaleas before 1861, popularizing the use of this flowering shrub as an ornamental planting in the region.
In 1930 Bobby Jones of Atlanta, Georgia, fresh from winning the Grand Slam, headed a group that purchased the former nursery in order to establish the Augusta National Golf Club. Intended from the beginning to be devoted to golf and not to provide the typical recreational opportunities offered by a country club, Augusta National has become one of the most exclusive golf clubs in the world. Working with Jones, Dr. Alistair McKenzie was the course architect. Jones was attracted to the site originally because he felt that it naturally lent itself to use as a golf course. The design of the course is an often-copied prototype for modern golf course construction.
President Eisenhower frequently played golf on the course. The Eisenhower cottage, where President and Mrs. Eisenhower stayed, was built for their use. The simple white frame house is about 200 feet south of the clubhouse area.
Since 1934 Augusta National Golf Club has held the Augusta National Invitational Tournament watched round the world (with the exception of the years during World War II) during the first full week in April. The club invites the most outstanding players in the world to play in the Masters Tournament, its name since 1939, and awards the winner the coveted green jacket. Augusta National is very generous to the Augusta community with proceeds from its annual tournament, which involves many residents who help host the thousands of visitors who attend each year.
Fruitlands/Augusta National Golf Club is located at 2604 Washington Rd. Public access is limited to ticket holders during the week of the tournament. For information, visit the Masters Tournament website. Otherwise, admittance is limited to members. The public often has photos taken beside the guardhouse and sign at the entrance on Washington Rd., but the clubhouse is not visible from that vantage point. Fruitlands and Ike's Cottage on the grounds of the Augusta National Golf Club have been documented by the National Park Service's Historic American Buildings Survey.
Meadow Garden was the home of George Walton, one of Georgia’s three signers of the Declaration of Independence and, at 26, among the youngest signers. Born in Virginia in 1749, Walton came to Savannah in 1769 to study law, subsequently becoming one of the most successful lawyers in Georgia and an activist for independence from Great Britain.
He was one of the “Sons of Liberty” in 1775 and distinguished himself as President of the Executive Council of Georgia (1775-76) and member of the Provincial Congress. In February 1776, he became a delegate to the Continental Congress arriving in Philadelphia in time to sign the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
In 1778, the British invaded Georgia. Walton, the senior
colonel in the state’s militia, became the acting commander of the
state militia forces. When the British attacked Savannah in December 1778,
Colonel Walton’s men participated in the battle. The stronger British
forces overwhelmed them wounding Walton and holding him captive until
1779. After the war, Walton became Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme
Court (1783-86 and 1793), Governor of Georgia (1779, 1789), United
States Senator (1795-96), and Judge of the Superior Court. He moved
to Augusta around 1787 and made Meadow Garden his home from c. 1791-92
until his death on February 2, 1804. Walton is buried at the Signers Monument
on Greene Street.
Because of his financial problems after the Revolutionary War, Walton never listed the title of Meadow Garden under his own name. The property was held in trust by Robert Watkins, Walton’s nephew, for Walton’s son, George Walton, Jr., who resided there after his father’s death. The property changed hands several times after George Walton, Jr. sold it in 1812. It was not until 1901 that the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution purchased the property for $2,000 with the aid of its Augusta chapter. The DAR raised the money by collecting 10 cents from each of its members. In 1961, the National Society deeded the property to the Georgia Society of the DAR, which continues to preserve it. Preservation efforts at Meadow Garden are among the nation’s earliest, and the site was the first house museum in Georgia.
Meadow Garden is a Sand Hills Cottage, a style particularly common in the Summerville area of Augusta. Originally a modest 2½-story frame cottage over a high brick basement, the house was enlarged and converted to a central hall type by a major three-bay extension. A 1-story porch with Doric columns, probably not original, extends across the front. The Daughters of the American Revolution made several of the changes to give the house a more uniform appearance, including adding the central stair to replace two sets of wooden steps and altering the rooflines to match.
Meadow Garden, a National Historic Landmark, is at 1320 Independence Dr., formerly 1230 Nelson St. The house is open to the public, Monday-Friday, 10:00am to 4:00pm. For information call 706-724-4174 or visit the Meadow Garden website. Meadow Garden has been documented by the National Park Service's Historic American Buildings Survey.
Founded by leaders of the African American community, Shiloh Orphanage now is known as the Shiloh Comprehensive Community Center. The orphanage played an important role historically by providing housing, care, and education for black children without families in a time when governmental assistance was not available. The orphanage consists of three buildings: Strong Academy, the Girls Dormitory,and the Boys Dormitory. These buildings are architecturally significant as examples of their type and because the dormitories were designed by locally prominent architects.
The Shiloh Baptist Association founded Shiloh Orphanage in 1902, initially locating it in the home of Reverend Daniel McHorton, the first superintendent. In 1904, the orphanage purchased land on 15th Street from Mrs. Hattie Strong, who had previously tried to organize an orphanage at this location near the historically black neighborhood of Bethlehem. Three buildings were constructed as part of the orphanage. A one room school for the younger children, Strong Academy, was built in 1910 and named in honor of Mrs. Strong’s husband. The Girls Dormitory was erected in 1927, designed by the architectural firm of Scroggs and Ewing. Edward Lynn Drummond, another locally prominent architect, designed the Boys Dormitory in 1936. The orphanage had a vegetable garden to the east of the complex of buildings and used some of the acreage to graze cattle.
At Shiloh, the older children took care of younger children. Some of the older residents worked in the homes of white citizens and members of the Shiloh Board of Directors. The children’s chores included washing, ironing, cleaning, and working in the garden. For entertainment, they played games in the yard, took walks in the neighborhood, and read books.
After operating for over 60 years, the orphanage closed in 1970. In 1977, the Shiloh Comprehensive Community Center formed to serve citizens in the area and began using the orphanage buildings.
Shiloh Orphanage (Shiloh Comprehensive Community Center) is located at 1635 15th St. Tours are by appointment only. Call 706-481-0952. Free.
Tubman High School
Named in honor of noted Augusta philanthropist Emily Tubman, Tubman High School has played an important role as an educational institution in Augusta since its founding as Neely’s Institute in 1874. Until the 1950s, it was the only public high school for girls in the Augusta area and is a major local educational landmark. In 1951, the school became a co-educational junior high and now serves as a middle school.
The new Tubman High School was built in 1917, an important result of Augusta’s first public bond referendum in support of education. At the time, Tubman was one of the most modern schools in the South, built with an auditorium to seat 864, a library, a lunchroom, and a principal’s office with an intercom system. The building also contained 26 classrooms, two study halls, a gymnasium, three domestic rooms, three science laboratories, a faculty room, a teachers rest room, cloak rooms, and a hospital room. It was steam heated, thoroughly ventilated, and “fireproof.” Situated on 10 acres, its grounds had ample facilities for girls’ field sports. The school illustrates the prevailing philosophy and technology used in the early 20th century for major new schools.
Designed by regionally prominent local architect, G. Lloyd Preacher, and constructed by Palmer-Spivey Construction Co, Tubman High School is also an outstanding example of the Beaux Arts style architecture popular during the early 20th century for public buildings. The 3-story brick building is monumental, featuring a symmetrical front façade, pedimented entrance with engaged columns, cornice dentils, and terra cotta ornamentation.
Tubman High School, now Tubman Middle School, is located at 1740 Walton Way. It is not open for public tours. For information, contact spokesman for Richmond County Board of Education at 706-826-1118.
Laney-Walker North Historic District
Two important events triggered the early development of Laney—Walker North Historic District: construction of the Georgia Railroad in 1833 and the building of the Augusta Canal from 1845-47. These activities and the industries that developed brought many laborers to the area in need of housing. The neighborhood functioned as a well-integrated, multi-ethnic working-class community until the end of the 19th century associated with three of Augusta’s historic minority populations—Irish, Chinese, and African American. The district also is significant for its wide variety of modest residential, commercial, and institutional buildings dating from the mid-19th through the early 20th century.
By the early 20th century, Jim Crow “zoning”
laws requiring blacks and whites to settle in blocks designated by race
quickly transformed the Laney—Walker District into Augusta’s
principal black neighborhood. New companies located in the area
to provide service to the black population. These included the Penny
Savings Bank at 1114 James Brown Boulevard, one of the first independently owned black banks when
it was started at the turn of the 20th century, and Pilgrim
Health and Life Insurance Company at 1143 Laney—Walker Boulevard. The working class, black professionals, and
white-collar workers all lived, worked, shopped, and worshiped together
in the neighborhood.
The Laney—Walker District is home to several historic
black churches. Trinity Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, one
of Augusta’s oldest black congregations, was established by slaves
in 1840. Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church and Central Baptist
Church also were founded by African Americans before emancipation. Both have been razed in recent years after the congregations moved to other facilities outside the neighborhood. A church
with a national reputation in the district is Tabernacle
Baptist Church, which dates from 1885. It moved from Ellis Street
to its present location at 1223 Laney—Walker Blvd. in 1915.
Visitors from around the country would travel to hear Reverend Charles
T. Walker, its founder and pastor. Reverend Walker was instrumental
in bringing the Walker Baptist Institute to Augusta in 1898.
Within the district at 1116 Phillips Street is the home of Miss Lucy Craft Laney, a noted educator who founded the Haines Normal and Industrial Institute, the first black kindergarten in Augusta, and the Lamar School of Nursing. Miss Laney’s home is now a museum and conference center, and her grave is located on the corner of the campus she founded.
Laney—Walker North Historic District is bounded on the north by D’Antignac St. and Walton Way, on the east by Seventh and Twiggs Sts., on the south by Laney-Walker Blvd., and on the west by Phillips and Harrison Sts. The district includes private homes not open to the public and a number of commercial and institutional buildings accessible to the public. The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History and Conference Center is located at 1116 Phillips St. Visit the museum's website or call 706-724-3546 for more information. The museum has an admission charge and is open Tuesday-Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm, Saturday 10:00am to 4:00pm, Sunday 2:00pm to 5:00pm, closed Mondays. The city has restored the Penny Savings Bank at 1114 James Brown Blvd. to house shops and vendors. Hours vary. Augusta Machine Works and Crescent Grain and Feed Mill have been documented by the National Park Service's Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record.
Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History and Conference Center
The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History and Conference Center is dedicated to African American history and art in Augusta. The museum opened in 1991 in the former home of Lucy Craft Laney, located across from the original site of Haines Normal and Industrial Institute in the Laney—Walker North Historic District. The mission of the museum is to promote the legacy of Lucy Craft Laney through arts and history.
Lucy Craft Laney was born in 1854 in Macon, Georgia. Through the kindness of her slave owner’s sister, Miss Laney learned to read and the importance of giving and sharing. In 1869, she entered the first class of Atlanta University and graduated with only three other students. Soon after, Ms. Laney began her teaching career in Macon and Savannah but eventually settled in Augusta. Encouraged by Christ Presbyterian Church, she started a school for black children which opened in 1883. Located in the basement of the church, the school had little money and only six students, but it grew rapidly.
By 1885 with 234 students, the school needed a larger facility. Ms. Laney appealed to the national Presbyterian Church to no avail. Shortly thereafter, Ms. Laney received word that Francine Haines, President of the Woman’s Department of the Presbyterian Church, had donated $10,000 for the school. Chartered in 1886 and named after its benefactor, Haines Normal and Industrial Institute opened in a building on Gwinnett Street (Laney—Walker Boulevard). Students at Haines learned classics such as Latin, algebra, art, music, various trades, and even sports. The first black nursing school in Augusta, the Lamar School of Nursing, started at Haines.
The Haines Normal and Industrial School closed in 1949. Most of the buildings were razed, and the Lucy Craft Laney Comprehensive High School was erected on the site. The Cauley—Wheeler Memorial Building constructed in 1924 is the only remaining building from Haines and serves as headquarters for the Haines Alumni Association.
Throughout Miss Laney’s life until her death in 1933, her accomplishments and dedication to education earned her many honors, including honorary degrees from universities. Gwinnett Street was renamed Laney—Walker Boulevard honoring her and Rev. Dr. Charles T. Walker, founder of Tabernacle Baptist Church. She has the distinction of being one of only a few African Americans to have their portrait hanging in Georgia’s State Capitol. Miss Laney is also a “Georgia Women of Achievement” recipient.
The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History and Conference Center is located at 1116 Phillips St., within the boundaries of the Laney—Walker North Historic District. It is open Tuesday-Friday, 10:00am to 5:00pm and has an admission fee. For further information call 706-724-3576, or visit Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History and Conference Center .
Tabernacle Baptist Church
Tabernacle Baptist Church, established in 1885, is Augusta’s largest black congregation and a church with a national reputation. Its founder and first pastor, Charles T. Walker (1858-1921), was well known for his powerful preaching and for bringing the Walker Baptist Institute to Augusta in 1898.
Tabernacle Baptist Church was formed by members of the Central Baptist Church, which at that time was led by Reverend Walker. The congregation bought a lot on Ellis Street and constructed a two-story brick building with an auditorium that held 800.
The expanding congregation outgrew the Ellis Street Church. Property was then secured at the corner of Harrison and Gwinnett Streets (Laney—Walker Boulevard) that better suited the congregation’s needs, and a new church was constructed by 1915. The impressive sanctuary with its two towers was designed with Italian Renaissance influences and has educational facilities on the first floor with an auditorium above that can seat more than 2,000. At this location, Tabernacle Baptist quickly grew into the largest church for African Americans in Augusta.
Reverend Walker’s speaking abilities brought prominent visitors from around the country to worship. Many important individuals attended services at the church such as Booker T. Washington, John D. Rockefeller, and President William Howard Taft. Reverend Walker instituted a wide variety of educational offerings at the church including cooking; sewing; automobile, business, and night schools; a laundering department; a library; and a reading room. Long after his death, Tabernacle Baptist continued to play an important role in the community and served as a base for the Civil Rights Movement in Augusta in the 1960s.
Beginning in early 2001, Tabernacle Baptist spent five months and $550,000 to rehabilitate the historic church. Now inside, shiny brass railings reflect the new crimson colored carpet, and the old pews have been refurbished, along with three paintings from 1910 that adorn the sanctuary. The church stands as a landmark in the Laney—Walker neighborhood.
Tabernacle Baptist Church is located at 1223 Laney—Walker Blvd. within the boundaries of the Laney—Walker North Historic District. Tours are by appointment only. To arrange, call 706-724-1230. Free. For more information, visit the church's website.
Pinched Gut Historic District
The always-residential Pinched Gut Historic District lies at the eastern end of the original City of Augusta. The origins of the name "Pinched Gut" are not certain but may relate to the famished condition of residents during a 19th-century flood or the hour-glass figures of fashionable ladies in the district. The district, also called Olde Towne, is important for its large, intact collection of historic residential buildings, examples of 19th-century landscape architecture and city planning, and for associations with education and religious history.
Dwellings, dating from the early 19th century into the 1930s, range from small shotgun cottages to large two-story townhouses representing every popular residential architectural style from Federal to Craftsman. The district, which developed from north to south, was carved largely from the town common during and after the American Revolution. The more substantial dwellings are along Broad, Greene, and Telfair Streets, downtown Augusta’s major east-west thoroughfares. Elaborate mid-19th century homes on Bay Street facing the river gave way to the first levee built between 1909 and 1918 to protect the district from frequent flooding by the Savannah River. The largest concentration of c. 1810-1910 Late Greek Revival and Victorian townhouses in Augusta sits along the southern side of Greene Street and on Telfair Street and parts of Walker Street. Less substantial dwellings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries are in the eastern and southern areas.
A large section of Pinch Gut’s most elaborate antebellum homes from the north side of Greene Street north to the levee burned in Augusta’s disastrous 1916 fire. The fire burned 32 city blocks from 8th Street eastward to East Boundary Street. The subsequent rebuilding exacerbated the trend of suburban relocation. In many cases, compensation for ruined buildings from insurance companies was used to build “modern” homes in the new, fashionable suburbs. Generally, less affluent residents built homes in the burned section of Pinched Gut after 1916, sometimes on big lots divided for the construction of two or more houses where there was originally one.
The Houghton School at 333 Greene Street is a pioneer effort at early free public education. John W. Houghton, a bachelor leather and shoe merchant, died and left a bequest of $40,000 to endow and erect a 2-story, brick grammar school. The original 1851 building burned in the 1916 fire requiring construction of the present building.
The levee, medians on Greene and Broad Streets, May Park, and the two public cemeteries—Magnolia Cemetery with its entrance at Walton Way and 3rd and adjacent Cedar Grove Cemetery are examples of 19th century landscape architecture. May Park served as a military parade ground. Dating from 1818, Magnolia Cemetery was for the burial of white citizens and Cedar Grove was for African Americans. In the realm of religion, the pioneering 1840 African Baptist Church, today known as Thankful Baptist Church, is at the corner of Walker and 3rd Streets.
Pinched Gut Historic District reflects important aspects of community planning in addition to the creation of the public cemeteries and the levee. From the late 18th century until the present, East Boundary and South Boundary (now Laney—Walker Boulevard) define the city limits. The city added streets and ranges of lots periodically as the town grew to these boundaries.
Construction of the Augusta Canal in the late 1840s and the consequent transformation of the commercial town into a partially industrial city accelerated the sale of lots in the southern end of the district. Although mill workers generally lived in company houses in other parts of town, a mechanic class and small-scale entrepreneurial class often settled in the southern portion of Pinched Gut. The 1916 fire created its own community planning by destroying the most affluent section of the district, which was rebuilt in a more modest fashion. In the mid 1950s, Gordon Highway created a substantial physical boundary on the west side of the district. The expressway further defined the district dividing it from the downtown business district and the more centrally located residential and institutional areas of Greene and Telfair streets.
Pinched Gut Historic District is roughly bounded by Gordon Highway, East Boundary and Reynolds Sts. and Laney-Walker Blvd. The district includes mostly private homes not open to the public, but also some bed and breakfasts and other commercial and institutional buildings that may be open to the public.
Sand Hills Historic District
Sand Hills Historic District, also known as Elizabethtown, is a historically black neighborhood adjacent to Summerville Historic District. In 1887 the Augusta Chronicle described the neighborhood, referring to it as Elizabethtown, as “a little hamlet just above Summerville.” The white community gave the neighborhood its original name in honor of Elizabeth Fleming. “Miss Lizzie” was a daughter of Porter Fleming, a white wholesale grocer in Augusta, who after many years as a missionary returned to Summerville. The Fleming plantation, “Westover,” was on the northwest edge of the district. The Community Development Department of Augusta gave the district the name, “Sand Hills," in the 1970s, but this was a historically accurate name for the Summerville settlement as early as the 18th century.
The neighborhood’s historical development is closely associated with that of Summerville, which was a summer retreat before it became a permanent neighborhood for prominent Augustans and Northerners. Summerville residents, including the Cumming and Fleming families and Judge William Watts Montgomery Jr., owned the Sand Hills land. Soon after the end of the Civil War, black residents settled into the area. They were primarily unskilled laborers and domestic servants working for the white homeowners nearby.
The district is significant in community planning and development for the design of the gridiron plan and narrow land lots, the development of commercial stores at street crossroads and junctions, establishment of a community school, and for its late 19th and early 20th-century residences. Important historic manifestations of landscape architecture include examples of swept yards that were popular with African Americans, uniformly setback houses, and the blending of trees and shrubbery in front yards to create an informal setting.
The historic residential, commercial, and community landmark buildings are very diverse in type and styles such as Shotgun, Craftsman, English Vernacular Revival, Colonial Revival, Dutch Colonial Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival, and Minimal Traditional. The variety of buildings is partially due to the passage of a 1913 city ordinance that imposed racial zoning. Housing stock prior to 1913 consisted of modest homes. After passage of the ordinance, a greater number of African Americans moved into the neighborhood. These new arrivals included a large number of middle-class African Americans, who built larger homes representing various popular styles.
Several businesses, churches, a school, and restaurants provide for the needs of those living in the district. Remaining historic churches include Cumming Grove Baptist, built in 1867 and rebuilt in 1915, and the c. 1890 Rock of Ages Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. The Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works funded construction of Weed School for residents of the neighborhood in 1936 to accommodate the increase in the student population from the area it served.
Summerville Black Cemetery on Fitten Street is one of the oldest black cemeteries in Augusta. Among those buried there are Willie Mae McNatt, Augusta’s first black juvenile court officer; Canute M. Richardson, an interim president at Paine College; and several members of the Dent Family, who founded Dent’s Undertaking Establishment, one of the oldest black mortuaries in Augusta.Sand Hills Historic District is bounded roughly by Monte Sano Ave. on the west, North View Ave. and Mount Auburn St. on the south, Johns Rd. on the east, and the Augusta Country Club on the north.
Summerville Historic District
The hilltop neighborhood of Summerville was a distinct community separate from Augusta by the late 18th century. This small village on the sand hills west of town was situated astride the Indian Trading Road connecting Augusta with the Creek Indian Nation to the west. Part of that road is roughly followed by parts of today’s Broad Street, Battle Row, upper McDowell Street, and Wrightsboro Road. Prominent Augusta citizens like George Walton, John Milledge, and Thomas Cumming acquired large tracts of land on the hill in the 1780s. Their names remain even now as the names of major Summerville streets.
Since its earliest days, Summerville has been the home, if only a seasonal one, for many of Augusta’s most influential citizens. Augusta’s proximity to the river and surrounding low-lying marshland made it uncomfortable during the hot Georgia summers. People from downtown built summer homes on “The Hill” to get away from the oppressive heat below believing that the sand hills intercepted the westerly breezes and provided some cooling relief. As Augusta merchants became more prosperous, they began to construct summer homes on “The Hill” spending their entire hot season in them, thus the origin of the name “Summerville.”
Early on, local people recognized that the air up on “The
Hill” was not only cooler in summer but seemingly healthier as well.
While malarial fever was a common ailment in the downtown area, “The
Hill” was free of this problem. In 1820 a major outbreak
of fever in the city nearly wiped out the entire garrison stationed
at the U.S. Arsenal near the river in Harrisburg. At the recommendation
of the commanding officer, the U.S. Government purchased about 72 acres
from Freeman Walker’s “Bellevue” plantation on “The
Hill,” and relocated the arsenal to this more healthful environment
by 1827. The arsenal is now the campus of Augusta State University.
The belief that “The Hill” was a healthful place is reflected
in some of the place names that survive like “Monte Sano”—Mount
Health in Spanish.
By the 1850s Summerville had become a four-season community. More permanent buildings and year round homes sprang up as the town prospered. In 1861 the village of Summerville was officially incorporated with the village boundaries defined as a circle of one mile radius. Its center at the intersection of Walton Way and Milledge Road – “Gould’s Corner” – was named for the handsome Italianate Villa at 828 Milledge Road, home of prominent merchant Artemas Gould. High Gate, a Sand Hills Cottage remodeled as another fine Italianate-style home in 1860, is located nearby at 820 Milledge Road. In 1861 Dennis Redmond, publisher and editor of The Southern Cultivator and founder of nearby Fruitland Nursery, built his Gothic Revival summer residence at 956 Hickman Road.
In the 1890s Summerville became a fashionable winter
resort and golf capital with the construction of several large hotels
and later the nearby Augusta National Golf Club. The village transformed itself from a
small summer resort for the local population to a winter playground for
wealthy northern industrialists and politicians. Two resort hotels, The Partridge Inn and the Bon Air Hotel,
hosted captains of industry and Presidents of the United States, who came
south to escape the cold winter weather of the North. Some
of the winter visitors built winter residences on "The Hill," while others
decided to stay permanently.
The City of Augusta annexed Summerville in 1912, so that
it lost its status as a separate village. Four years later, a fire
swept through downtown Augusta destroying much of the business district and the
residential neighborhoods around lower Broad Street. This event
prompted a building boom in Summerville, as many of the burned-out residents
of Augusta chose to rebuild their homes up on “The Hill.”
Following the tastes of the day, the new homes covered a wide range of
revival styles of architecture – Greek, Gothic, Italianate, Spanish,
and Colonial to name a few. Some were grand homes that competed
with the mansions built by wealthy visitors.
Others were modest bungalows in the then-popular Craftsman style. All contribute to the significance and beauty of the Summerville
A selection of interesting homes from a variety of periods
includes the John Milledge House (Overton),
c. 1799 and enlarged in the 20th century, at 635 Gary; the c. 1889 Queen
Anne style Bryan Cumming House
at 2231 Cumming Road; the Governor
Charles Jones Jenkins House (Green Court) built c. 1823 at 2243 Cumming
Road; and Salubrity Hall, a Tudor built
in 1928 at 2259 Cumming Road. The Spanish Colonial at 704 Milledge Road was commissioned by George Sterns, president of Riverside Mill, and
later became the home of novelist of African adventures, Edison Marshal.
19th-century statesman John Forsyth’s
house, c. 1818, is at 728 Milledge Road and Twin
Gables, c. 1913, a Dutch Colonial Revival, sits at 920 Milledge Road.
The imposing Lamar–Wallace House,
1006 Johns Road, was the former home of Joseph R. Lamar, who was Woodrow
Wilson’s boyhood friend, State Supreme Court Justice, and Associate
Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Montrose is at 2249 Walton Way and the
Church of the Good Shepherd
at 2230. The Stephen Vincent
Benét House is at 2500 Walton Way on the campus of Augusta State University.
Summerville Historic District is roughly bounded by Milledge Rd., Wrightsboro Rd. Highland and Heard Aves., Cumming Rd., and Henry St. Most buildings in the district are private homes not open to the public. See the descriptions and information on how to plan a visit to buildings that are open to the public including the Appleby Library; The Partridge Inn; and, Stephen Vincent Benét House, a National Historic Landmark. Click here for the National Historic Landmark registration file for the Stephen Vincent Benét House. The Chafee House, Harper House, High Gate, Mayor White House (a.k.a. Appleby Library), Reid-Jones-Carpenter House, the U.S. Arsenal (including Stephen Vincent Benét House), and the Women’s Club have been documented by the National Park Service's Historic American Buildings Survey.
Appleby Library is part of the Summerville Historic District. The City of Augusta owns the building and uses it as a branch library of the East Central Georgia Regional Library System. The house is significant as an example of the Greek Revival style of architecture and for its long life as a permanent edifice in the Summerville Historic District.
Constructed c. 1830 as a summer residence for Judge Benjamin Holmes Warren (1797-1870), the home displays attributes of the popular Greek Revival style. Painted white, the 2-story wood-frame building has six over six double-hung sash windows and 2-story porticoes. Its north and south facades each boast six 2-story fluted Doric columns to support the heavy architrave. A narrow line of transom and sidelights surrounds the door.
After the death of Judge Warren, his wife sold the house to Janet Montgomery in 1871. Although it changed hands several times among her heirs, the house remained in the Montgomery family for several decades. Percy May, a noted banker and former mayor of Augusta, rented it in the early twentieth century. In 1919, William P. White, another former mayor of Augusta, purchased the house. Scott B. Appleby bought it in 1928 from May White, the widow of William P. White. Appleby bequeathed the home to his wife, Annie De Prairie. After she died, her son, James Scott Appleby donated the house in 1954 to the Augusta City Council for use as a library. Dedication ceremonies took place in the gardens on May 30, 1955.
Fortunately, throughout its life the home has witnessed only small changes in its exterior appearance. In the early 20th century, noted Augusta architect Henry T. E. Wendell designed the current rear façade. Scott B. Appleby updated the interior. He installed bathrooms by cutting out space from chimneys in the upper bedrooms, added a large bedroom at the rear of the house, a kitchen, and service quarters. He also removed a partition between the front and back parlors to create a large drawing room. Paneling on the ceiling makes the two rooms seem as one.
Appleby Library, also known as the Montgomery Place, is an integral contributing component to the composition of the Summerville Historic District. Home to important Augustans throughout its existence, the building is almost a textbook example of the Greek Revival. The property continues to be important to the community in its role as a neighborhood library offering many outreach services such as a summer outdoor concert series, “Evenings at the Appleby,” and a children's reading hour.
Appleby Library is located at 2260 Walton Way, within the boundaries of the Summerville Historic District. The building is open to the public. Call 706-736-6244 for information.
The Partridge Inn
The Partridge Inn, a gracious Summerville landmark, dates from the early 1800s, when it was a two-story residence for the Meigs family from Connecticut. Around 1900, Morris W. Partridge, a seasonal hotel employee in Augusta who managed the Bon Air Hotel across the street, acquired the property. Mr. Partridge began offering guest accommodations in the old Meigs house during Augusta’s winter season. Over the years between 1907 and 1929, he expanded the inn several times. After the Great Depression, the inn became a year-round commercial hotel and subsequently an apartment house. The building fell into disrepair after World War II barely escaping demolition in the 1980s. Local citizens saved the landmark, thus preserving one of the rich historic legacies of Augusta’s “Hill” section. It continues as a popular hotel and restaurant.
The architecture of The Partridge Inn, or the “P. I.” as locals refer to it, is eclectic. With one wing built of brick, the mostly wooden building has a façade punctuated with verandahs, balconies, and porches that create an appealing setting perched on the side of the gradual slope beside Walton Way known as “The Hill.” In the days when the hotel was at its peek, the inn reigned as the second of Augusta’s preferred winter hotels joining the Bon Air, which is still across the street but is now apartments. Many of those who patronized The Partridge Inn were Northerners who came every winter and stayed for most of "the season.” The presence of these well-to-do visitors in the city prompted the creation of recreational opportunities such as golf and polo and a need for distinguished local citizens to entertain prominent guests. As a result, for a number of years in the early 20th century, Augusta had a section in the Social Register listing local socialites. Complete with cross references for “married maidens” and “dilatory domiciles,” the Social Register even provided its subscribers the maiden names of wives before marriage and where they could find families at certain times of the year.
As it developed in the early decades of the 20th century, The Partridge Inn began to have the general feel and many of the elements of the Craftsman style. The building is too unusual, however, to place easily in that architectural category alone. Due to its piecemeal construction over parts of three decades, the inn has multiple levels on some of the floors, although the basic floor plan is close to being identical for guest rooms on the third, fourth, and fifth floors. A penthouse suite on the top or sixth floor has decks that provide a panoramic view of Augusta and the Savannah River Valley. The first floor contains the lobby, meeting rooms, and offices as well as a few guest rooms. The second floor houses the dining rooms and kitchen with additional guest rooms in the wings. An appealing verandah on this level provides outdoor space for dining and entertaining.
In 2006 the inn underwent a certified rehabilitation using the federal historic preservation tax credits. The rehabilitated hotel retains its historic character and charm and is up to date to meet the expectations of its current guests. Today, the hotel welcomes business and leisure travelers, local club meetings, wedding parties, and community events. Augustans and visitors alike embrace and appreciate this historic inn, often using it as a place for special events.
The Partridge Inn is at 2110 Walton Way, within the boundaries of the Summerville Historic District. The inn is a full service hotel that is open to the public. Call 706-262-1111, or consult The Partridge Inn website for information.
Stephen Vincent Benet House
The Stephen Vincent Benét House, also known as the Commandant’s House and the President’s Home, is located on the present campus of Augusta State University. Completed by 1829, the Commandant’s House was one of the original buildings erected as a part of the United States Arsenal when it moved to this site in 1827.
Assigned as Commandant of the United States Arsenal in Summerville in 1911, Colonel J. Walker Benét brought his son Stephen with him, enrolling him in the Summerville Academy. They remained in residence at the arsenal until the autumn of 1915. Colonel Walker’s son, Stephen Vincent Benét (1898-1943), became famous for his poetry and prose fiction. Young Benét began writing while living at the arsenal, including his first book, Five Men and Pompey (1915), a series of dramatic monologues in verse. It prefigured the technique he used in his most famous work, John Brown’s Body (1928). Entering Yale University in the fall of 1915, he continued to write and had his first two books published while he was there. Some of his other notable early works include Young Adventure (1918), and The Beginning of Wisdom (1921).
Benét received the honor of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1926, which enabled him to go to Paris to write John Brown’s Body, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1929. In 1937 he published a short story, “The Devil and Daniel Webster,” considered a classic of American literature and made into both an opera and a film. He received a second Pulitzer Prize in 1943 for an uncompleted long poem entitled Western Star. The Commandant’s House at the Augusta Arsenal is the extant building most significantly associated with the career of Stephen Vincent Benét.
The 2-story building is of load-bearing brick in the Federal style with a side-hall plan and a full basement. The 3-bay façade is sheltered by a 2-tier portico with Tuscan columns. It features the characteristic Federal fanlight over the front door. The house evolved in the 19th century, with the addition of a 2-story north wing and a small glassed-in chamber to the north side of the entrance hall.
Part of a complex that forms a quadrangle, the house was one of several buildings originally constructed by the Federal Government in 1819 near the Savannah River in the village of Harrisburg. After the commandant of the arsenal recovered from malaria at Bellevue, the home of Freeman Walker in the village of Summerville, he persuaded government officials to relocate the facility there on higher, healthier ground. Beginning in 1827, all the original buildings were dismantled and rebuilt in the Summerville Historic District. The Commandant’s House, as originally constructed, was identical (in reverse) to the Officers’ Quarters on the northeast corner of the quadrangle. A brick wall, creating in effect a small fort, encloses the quadrangle.
The Department of the Army deactivated the arsenal in 1955. The Richmond County Board of Education acquired it, and it later was home to the Junior College of Augusta. In 1958 the junior college became a part of the University System of Georgia evolving into a four year institution renamed Augusta College in 1963. Augusta College became Augusta State University in 1996.
Stephen Vincent Benét House, a National Historic Landmark, is located at 2500 Walton Way on the campus of Augusta State University. Click here for the National Historic Landmark registration file. The house currently houses the Admissions Offices for Augusta State University and is open on a limited basis for public tours. Contact Augusta State University Admissions Office at 706-737-1632. The U.S. Arsenal has been documented by the National Park Service’s Historic American Buildings Survey.
By clicking on these links, you can go directly to particular sections:
Augusta History, Tourism, and Preservation Websites
Websites of Places Featured in Itinerary
Selected Bibliography for Augusta
Augusta History, Tourism, and Preservation Websites
Augusta Canal National Heritage Area
The official site for the nation’s only industrial power canal still in use for its original purpose. Includes information on tours, museums, events, and projects in and around the canal area.
Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau
Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau is a nonprofit organization that promotes tourism in the metropolitan Augusta area.
Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce
This site contains information on the many businesses that are located in Augusta, along with information on promotions and events within the business district.
Augusta-Richmond County Historical Society
Organization that collects, preserves, and publishes the history of the Augusta-Richmond County area.
City of Augusta
The official government site for the city of Augusta.
Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Historic Preservation Division
Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Historic Preservation Division is the State Historic Preservation Office for Georgia. This office processes all National Register nominations, coordinates identification of historic places, helps protect historic properties as part of the planning of government-funded projects, and awards matching grants for preservation projects.
Georgia Historical Society
Georgia Historical Society is a nonprofit, but state-chartered organization that collects, preserves, and shares Georgia history.
Georgia Secretary of State Archives and History Division
Georgia Archives identifies and preserves Georgia's most valuable historical documents.
Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation
Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation is a nonprofit organization that promotes an appreciation of Georgia’s diverse historic resources and provides for their protection and use to preserve, enhance and revitalize Georgia's communities.
Heritage Documentation Programs in the American Memory: Built in America
Heritage Documentation Programs, National Park Service, administers HABS (Historic American Buildings Survey), the Federal Government’s oldest operating preservation program, and companion programs, HAER (Historic American Engineering Record), HALS (Historic American Landscapes Survey), and CRGIS (Cultural Resources Geographic Information Systems). Drawings, maps, photographs, and historical reports produced through the programs and archived at the Library of Congress constitute the nation’s largest collection of historical architectural, engineering, and landscape documentation.
Historic Augusta, Inc.
Historic Augusta, Inc. is a private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the preservation of the historic built environment of Augusta and Richmond County, Georgia.
Historic Hotels of America
A feature of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Heritage Traveler program that provides information on historic hotels and package tours in the vicinity of this itinerary.
National Heritage Areas
A "national heritage area" is a place designated by the United States Congress where natural, cultural, historic, and recreational resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally distinctive landscape arising from patterns of human activity shaped by geography. These areas tell nationally important stories about our nation and are representative of the national experience through both the physical features that remain and the traditions that have evolved within them.
National Historic Landmarks
National Historic Landmarks are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior, because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. They are all listed in National Register of Historic Places.
National Park Service
The main National Park Service website is the gateway to national parks, information on preserving America’s history and culture in parks and communities, and a vast amount of other useful information. Visit the National Parks located in Georgia: Andersonville National Historic Site, Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Augusta Canal National Heritage Area, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, Cumberland Island National Seashore, Fort Frederica National Monument, Fort Pulaski National Monument, Jimmy Carter National Historic Site, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, Ocmulgee National Monument, and Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.
National Park Service Office of Tourism
National Parks have been interwoven with tourism from their earliest days. This website highlights the ways in which the National Park Service promotes and supports sustainable, responsible, informed, and managed visitor use through cooperation and coordination with the tourism industry.
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official inventory of historic places worthy of preservation. Districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture are included in the National Register, which is expanded and maintained by the National Park Service. The National Register website is the gateway to information on authentic registered historic places, the benefits of recognition, and how to become involved in identifying, nominating to the National Register, and protecting these irreplaceable reminders of our heritage.
National Scenic Byways Program
This website, maintained by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, includes information on state and nationally designated byway routes throughout America based on their archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic qualities. Visit the America’s Byways Savannah River Scenic Byway website for more ideas.
National Trust for Historic Preservation
National Trust for Historic Preservation is a U.S. Congress-chartered nonprofit group that preserves historic places, publishes information about preservation, and operates preservation initiatives. Learn about the programs and membership in the oldest national nonprofit preservation organization.
Teaching with Historic Places
Teaching with Historic Places is a program of the National Park Service that offers a series of online classroom-ready lesson plans on registered historic places and other resources to help teachers and students use historic places in the classroom.
Links to Websites of Places Featured in This Itinerary
Augusta Canal National Heritage Area/Historic Augusta Canal and Industrial District
Augusta Canal National Heritage Area
Augusta Downtown Historic District
Church of the Most Holy Trinity
First Presbyterian Church of Augusta
Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art (Ware’s Folly)
Sacred Heart Catholic Church (Sacred Heart Cultural Center)
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home
Harrisburg—West End Historic District
Harris-Pearson-Walker House ( 1797 Ezekiel Harris House )
Academy of Richmond County--1926 Campus
Augusta National Golf Club Masters Tournament website
Laney--Walker North Historic District
The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History and Conference Center
Tabernacle Baptist Church
Summerville Historic District
The Partridge Inn
Summerville Neighborhood Association
Art Work of Augusta, Chicago: W. H. Parish Publishing Company, 1894.
Bragg, C. L, Charles D. Ross, Gordon A. Blaker, Stephanie A. T. Jacobe, Theodore P. Savas, Never for Want of Powder: The Confederate Powderworks in Augusta, Georgia, Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2007.
Byrdy, Stan, Augusta and Aiken in Golf’s Golden Age, Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishers, 2002.
Callahan, Helen, Augusta, A Pictorial History, Virginia Beach, VA: Donning, 1980.
Callahan, Helen, Summerville: A Pictorial History, Augusta, GA: Richmond County Historical Society, 1993.
Cashin, Edward J., Augusta and the American Revolution: Events in the Georgia Back Country, 1773-1783, Darien, GA: Ashantilly Press, 1975.
Cashin, Edward J., The Brightest Arm of the Savannah: The Augusta Canal 1845-2000, Augusta, GA : Augusta Canal Authority. 2002.
Cashin, Edward J., (ed.), Colonial Augusta: “Key of the Indian Country”, Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1986.
Cashin, Edward J., From Balloons to Blue Angels: The Story of Aviation in Augusta, Georgia, Augusta, GA: Richmond County Historical Society, 2003.
Cashin, Edward J., The King’s Ranger: Thomas Brown and the American Revolution on the Southern Frontier, Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1989.
Cashin, Edward J., Lachlan McGillivray, Indian Trader: The Shaping of the Southern Colonial Frontier, Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1992.
Cashin, Edward J., Old Springfield: Race and Religion in Augusta, Georgia, Augusta, GA: Springfield Village Park Foundation, 1995.
Cashin, Edward J., The Quest: A History of Public Education in Richmond County, Georgia, Augusta, GA: Richmond County Board of Education, 1985.
Cashin, Edward J., The Story of Augusta, Augusta, GA: Richmond County Board of Education, 1980.
Corley, Florence Fleming, Confederate City: Augusta, Georgia, 1860-1865, Columbia: University of South Carolina Press,1960.
Fleming, Berry, Autobiography of a City in Arms: Augusta, Georgia, 1861-1865, Augusta, GA: Richmond County Historical Society, 1976.
Fogleman, Marguerite, Historical Markers and Monuments of Richmond County, Georgia, Augusta, GA: Richmond County Historical Society, 1986.
Greene, Vicki H., Scott W. Loehr and Erick D. Montgomery, An Augusta Scrapbook: Twentieth-Century Memories, Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2000.
Hanson, Robert H., Safety-Courtesy-Service: History of the Georgia Railroad, Johnson City, TN: The Overmountain Press, 1996.
Hatlermann, Bryan M., From City to Countryside: A Guidebook to the Landmarks of Augusta, Georgia, Augusta, GA: Lamar Press, 1997.
Jones, Charles C., Memorial History of Augusta, Georgia: From Its Settlement in 1735 to the close of the Eighteenth Century, Spartanburg, SC: Reprint Co., 1980 (reprint of original publication of 1890).
Lee, Joseph M., Augusta: A Postcard History, Dover, NH: Arcadia, 1997.
Lee, Joseph M., Augusta and Summerville, Dover, NH: Arcadia, 2000.
Leslie, Kent Anderson, Woman of Color, Daughter of Privilege: Amanda America Dickson, 1849-1893, Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1995.
Montgomery, Erick, Thomas Woodrow Wilson: Family Ties and Southern Perspectives, Augusta, GA: Historic Augusta, Inc., 2006.
Peters, Linda E., A Study of the Architecture of Augusta, Georgia, 1735-1860, Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms, 1983.
Roberts, Clifford, The Story of the Augusta National, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co, 1976.
Rowland, Arthur Ray and Helen Callahan, Yesterday’s Augusta, Miami, FL: E. A. Seemann Publishers, 1976.
Sylvester, C. Doughty, A Pictorial History of Augusta, Georgia, Augusta, GA: Fleming Printers, 1962.
Whites, LeeAnn, The Civil War As a Crisis in Gender: Augusta, Georgia 1860-1890, Athens, University of Georgia Press, 1995.
Smith, Julia Faye, Tommy: The Civil War Childhood of a President, Dorcet, UK: Russell House Publications, 1996.
The Augusta Discover Our Shared Heritage travel itinerary was produced by the National Park Service’s Heritage Education Services; Historic Augusta, Inc.; and the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area in partnership with the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The Augusta travel itinerary is based primarily on registration information on historic places in the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks collections. These archives are kept at 1201 Eye Street NW, Washington, DC, and are open to the public.
The itinerary was conceptualized and written by Erick D. Montgomery, Executive Director of Historic Augusta, Inc. and Kim Overstreet, former Preservation Director, with the assistance of Rebecca B. Rogers, Director of Marketing and External Affairs, Augusta Canal National Heritage Area. The itinerary was funded in part by a Tourism Grant from the City of Augusta and the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau. Erick D. Montgomery, Kim Overstreet, and Rebecca B. Rogers took most of the photographs. Many of the photographs belong to Historic Augusta, Inc. The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History and Conference Center and The Partridge Inn also provided photographs. Evelyn Benes, GIS Specialist with the Augusta-Richmond County Information Technology Department-GIS Division, provided the Augusta-Richmond County's GIS files used as the basis for the map in the itinerary. Carol Shull, Chief, Heritage Education Services, National Park Service edited and managed production of the itinerary. Cynthia Jarrin, graduate student in Public History at American University and Michelle Farley, graduate student in Historic Preservation at the University of Maryland, College Park assisted in editing and making corrections, and also programmed the itinerary. Kathryn Warnes, graduate student at George Washington University’s School of Business, Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management assisted in making final revisions in response to comments. Hyejung Kwon designed the computer template for the itineraries as the practicum for her Masters of Tourism Administration (MTA) at George Washington University’s School of Business, Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management.
The itinerary was produced with the support of Jon Smith, Assistant Associate Director for Heritage Preservation Services; Bryan Mitchell, Chief, Preservation Services; Paul Loether, Chief, National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks; and Richard O’Connor, Chief, Historical Documentation Programs. Shannon Davis, National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers contractor assigned to the NPS Battlefield Protection Program under Paul Hawke and Jeff Joeckel of the National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks staff provided advice and assistance in the development of the itinerary. Diedre McCarthy and James Stein of NPS’s Cultural Resources Geographic Information Systems, Historical Documentation Programs under John Knoerl provided training and advice on Geographic Information System maps. Thanks also to the people of Augusta for sharing their historic places.
Photo Captions for Homepage: All photos courtesy of Rebecca Rogers of the Augusta National Heritage Area, unless otherwise noted. Augusta Canal at Dusk; The Partridge Inn, courtesy of The Partridge Inn; Old Medical College of Georgia; Broad Street; Sacred Heart Catholic Church; Appleby Library; Carrie Street in the Laney-Walker Historic District; Canal Tour Boat; and Shotgun Houses on Crawford Street in the Harrisburg-West End Historic District.