2017 Endangered Properties Newsletter

Page 1

Historic Augusta News

Volume 42, No. 3



By Erick Montgomery, Executive Director Historic Augusta’s annual announcement of endangered historic properties was inaugurated a decade ago this fall. We can’t claim to have conceived the idea – the National Trust had established it’s “Eleven Most Endangered List” several years before. Other statewide and local preservation organizations across the country followed suit, and we drew off of their experiences and advice. I remember attending a meeting of the National Trust’s Statewide and Local Partners, and taking copious notes at a sharing session about how such lists worked, or did not work, for similar organizations as ours. Those notes and our own ideas lead to the establishment of a very successful program. Historic Augusta’s Preservation Committee, under the chairmanship of Anne Catherine Murray, launched the first list for 2007 – although like a new car, the year of the model is issued in the autumn before. Each year, the committee carefully considers possibilities, weighing such factors as likelihood of making a difference; geographical diversity; whether a property is truly in danger of loss; representative examples of threats caused by bad policy. At first, we had long lists. But we came to feel we wanted to make sure we had a chance to accomplish our mission of “preserving historic sites and structures in Augusta and Richmond County.” Subsequent lists got a bit shorter. The local news media embraces our annual announcements, and usually gives excellent coverage. After licking our wounds following several painful losses in the last couple of years, it occurred to our committee that perhaps we needed to assess our wins. And this year’s announcement focuses on the positive… historic buildings that have been saved that were featured over the past decade on our list. We are only adding one historic site for 2017 – East Central Regional Hospital, known by most as Gracewood. This idea came about after the staff was


invited to visit the campus located on Tobacco Road off Peach Orchard Road in South Augusta by the well-known and erudite gentleman who everybody seems to have known, the late Brian Mulherin. Brian, a long-time employee and subsequent volunteer, was extremely knowable about the history of Gracewood, and worried what would happen following its eventual closing. As a member and supporter of Historic Augusta, he wanted to make sure we understood Gracewood’s significance, and we considered it a special day. After the tour, we brought the idea back to the committee for consideration. Sadly, Brian passed away on February 19, 2016, only 2 ½ months after our visit. But the committee thought it was important, as we see former historic hospital campuses being abandoned in other cities, such as the ones in Milledgeville and Columbia. Perhaps if our Endangered Properties List can plant the idea of preservation, new uses can be identified for the many historic buildings there that might be repurposed there. We invite your thoughts, ideas and suggestions. And if you know a solution of any of the sites remaining on our list at the end of this publication, please let us know. Preservation of historic places never occurs in a vacuum. It takes whole committees, organizations and communities to accomplish these worthy goals.


PROPERTY East Central Regional Hospital, Gracewood Campus 100 Myrtle Boulevard, Gracewood, Georgia, 30812

OWNER State of Georgia; Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities

THE THREAT In 2013, it was reported that the state would be relocating residents of the East Central Hospital Gracewood Campus, leaving empty and buildings vacant. At this writing, much of that goal has been accomplished. The current property is a mix of both historic and non-historic buildings that cover 766 acres. Two of the oldest buildings are located near the main entrance of the campus on Myrtle Boulevard.

SOME HISTORY The superintendent’s report dated January 25, 1922 describes the formation of the Training School for Mental Deficiencies in 1919 with a $100,000 appropriation to erect a suitable institution and the purchase of the necessary land. One year later in 1920, the State of Georgia purchased the Tuttle-Newton Orphanage property for $75,000 with 325 acres of land. There were 8 existing buildings constructed of reinforced concrete and several frame structures. The buildings were described as 3 dormitories, a cottage for employees, an administration building, a school building, a dairy barn, and a cold storage building. The city of Augusta appropriated $25,000 for the school to operate for the first year. The school was officially opened on July 5, 1921 and by the end of the year had 52 residents.

In 1951, Dr. Norman Pursley became the 8th Superintendent of the school and in 1952 the State of Georgia purchased additional land to begin an institutional farming operation. In the 1950s, the campus included a school building, an infirmary, a hospital, and 8 dormitories. In 1961, the name of the school was changed to Gracewood State School and Hospital. Improvements during the 1960s included an auditorium, gymnasium, Olympic sized swimming pool, and a chapel. In the 1966 census, Gracewood State School and Hospital had 1,902 clients. The Gracewood State School and Hospital Archives was opened in 1996 in collaboration with the 75th Anniversary of the opening of the facility in 1921.

POSSIBLE FUTURE USES With a growing cyber industry taking root in Augusta, this South Augusta location could prove to be ideal for businesses or organizations seeking to relocate to the CSRA. The existing building stock could be eligible for certified rehabilitation tax credits if the property was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. With some planning and creative ideas, the Gracewood campus could have a variety of new end uses once vacated by East Central Regional Hospital.


The Benjamin Franklin Jones House, 656 Milledge Road (Listed: 2016)

Almost immediately after announcing this 1927 Colonial Revival style

home to the annual list, Historic Augusta learned that the property was purchased by a new owner with local connections and would be

rehabilitated. Historic Augusta has had the pleasure of speaking with

the owner and architect for this project and are pleased that this historic resource is being preserved and will be placed back in service. The Zachariah Daniel House, 448 Greene Street (Listed: 2015)

Condemned for occupancy and unable to contact the owner, a friend of Historic Augusta searched for that absentee owner and found him in New Jersey! With

a new path of communication finally opened, a local preservation minded buyer was able to make an offer, which was accepted, and now a certified rehabilitation is underway.

The Mary Warren Home, 2109 Central Avenue (Listed: 2015)

The same day of the 2015 Press Conference, Historic Augusta learned that the Mary Warren Home had been purchased by a local contractor who soon hired Historic Augusta to complete the applications to

apply for certified rehabilitation tax credits. With the overgrowth cut

back, the Mary Warren Home is a prominent anchor on the corner of Hickman Road and Central Avenue and is serving as residences for students attending Augusta University. Congregation Children of Israel Synagogue and Court of Ordinary, 525 Telfair Street (Listed: 2014)

Once word spread that demolition was proposed for these two historic resources

to make room for the new Information Technology building for Augusta-Richmond

County, a call to action was made. With the support from many concerned members of Augusta’s Jewish community and local preservationists, the buildings have been leased to Historic Augusta and subleased by the newly formed Augusta Jewish Museum which has already met several organizational milestones to transform these significant buildings into a downtown destination.


Coleridge/Windsor Manor, 3596 Windsor Spring Road (Listed: 2012)

The preservation and rehabilitation of Coleridge/Windsor Manor is the

best example of how Historic Augusta’s Endangered Property List leads to preservation success stories. A recent article in the Augusta Chronicle

documents the story of how Ian Shiverick located this house and was able to purchase it and painstakingly restore it by himself. You can read more about Coleridge/Windsor Manor by visiting www.wmaugusta.org . Former Augusta-Richmond County Library, 902 Greene Street (Listed: 2011) Listed to the Endangered Properties List for its mid-century modern architectural significance in the Downtown Historic District, the

former library remained empty once operations moved across the street in 2010. In 2015, Augusta-Richmond County initially reported that the Augusta Utilities Department would be the new occupant

but ultimately announced the former library building would be the location of the Public Defender’s office. With some design changes that are complimentary to the existing style of the building, the project should be finished in the Fall of 2016.

Hallock Cottage, 1303 Hickman Road (Listed: 2010)

A troublesome property that made the neighbors want to move, this

charming Victorian was purchased by a preservation minded buyer. This

turn of the century house was returned to single family occupancy through a certified rehabilitation. The owner-occupied residence is situated at the corner of Richmond Avenue and Hickman Road and is well known for

its yellow shingle exterior walls and red metal roof. Historic Augusta also maintains a preservation easement in perpetuity on the building. The Jacob Phinizy House, 529 Greene Street (Listed: 2010)

This Second Empire building was first constructed as a single family home for Jacob Phinizy and then served as the Poteet Funeral Home. The building sat vacant for a number of years until local architectural firm 2KM Architects purchased and rehabilitated the elegant home for its business offices and studios. They even painstakingly removed the white exterior paint to reveal the original red brick underneath.

The Henry-Cohen House, 920 Greene Street (Listed: 2009)

Frozen in time, the stately Henry-Cohen House was the first property to be

sold through the newly implemented Real Estate Program by Historic Augusta. Condemned for occupancy, the home required stabilization prior its sale to a local preservation minded developer who was able to apply for certified rehabilitation

tax credits. He also donated a preservation easement to protect the building in perpetuity. The owner was recognized for his preservation efforts by receiving a Preservation Award from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation in 2013.


Old Sue Reynolds School, 3171 Wrightsboro Road (Listed: 2009) SAVED!

Old Sue Reynolds School was purchased in 2014 by the Vineyard Community Church and has been rehabilitated as their worship and fellowship location. The Church held

their first service in August of 2016 after months of hard work refinishing the floors, restoring green chalkboards, transforming the auditorium into a sanctuary, and many other renovations all done primarily by the church members and pastor.

Merry Brothers Warehouse, 901 Reynolds Street (Listed: 2009)

As an example of the type of structures that were found along Reynolds Street in the 19th and 20th Century, incorporation of this warehouse into the new Augusta Convention Center allowed for the retention of the exterior walls. It also created a unique and intriguing entrance for guests.

Lowrey’s Wagon Works & the Confederate Shoe Factory, 912 Ellis Street (Listed: 2008)

In 2015, a local preservation minded buyer was identified who was able

to transform this 19th century building where wagons were built, shoes for Confederate soldiers were made, and the first black school in Augusta

was held. 19 income-producing apartments now occupy the building. This rehabilitation was recognized by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation with an award in early 2016.

Red Star Café, 533 James Brown Blvd. (Listed: 2008)

A significant African-American historic resource located at the corner of Walker Street and James Brown Boulevard, the Red Star Café Building was purchased in 2010 and has been rehabilitated into both income producing apartments and two commercial office spaces.

Sibley Mill, 1717 Goodrich Street (Listed: 2007)

In 2015, Sibley Mill was identified by local investors as an ideal facility for a data center since

electricity could be produced on site by turbines turned by waterpower from the Augusta Canal. The rehabilitation of the campus and its many buildings will be phased, with the first

installation aimed to be finished before the end of 2016. The main mill building will also

be rehabilitated in phases, with the data center occupying a non-historic addition facing Goodrich Street.


Historic Augusta continues to advocate for the reuse and rehabilitation of our existing historic resources throughout Augusta-Richmond County. The following is the list of buildings that remain on our list and are in need of a sensitive preservation solution:

2016 • The Penny Savings Bank Building, 1144 James Brown Boulevard • Old Engine Company No. 7, 2163 Central Avenue • The Penthouse at the Lamar Building, 753 Broad Street

2015 • Perkins-Cullum House, 510 Greene Street • Woolworth Department Store, 802 Broad Street • Bayou Building, 904 Broad Street • Kress Building, 832-838 Broad Street

2014 • Old First Baptist Church, 802 Greene Street • J. C. Penney’s Department Store, 732-738 Broad Street • Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Exchange Building, 937 Ellis Street

2013 • Erbelding Building, 601-603 Broad Street • Bon Air Hotel, 2101 Walton Way

2012 • Reid Range Building, 586 Broad Street


2011 • Appleby Library Accessory Building, 2260 Walton Way • Kahrs Grocery Building, 401 Greene Street • Dr. S. S. Johnson House, 1420 Twiggs Street

2010 • Private Family Cemeteries

2009 • Martha Lester School, 1688 Broad Street • Jessamine Hill, 3101 Richmond Hill Road • Fifth Street Bridge

2008 • Harrisburg-West End Historic District • 500 Block of Ninth Street

2007 • Denning House, 905 Seventh Street • Reynolds Street Depot, 511 Reynolds Street • St. Benedict’s Boarding School, 1220 Twelfth Street • Trinity CME Church, 731 Taylor Street • Greene Street Presbyterian Church, 1235 Greene Street


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Contributing Writers: Erick Montgomery Robyn Anderson Kuleigh Baker Designed by:

Historic Augusta News is published quarterly by Historic Augusta, Inc., PO Box 37, Augusta, Georgia 30903-0037. Offices are located at 415 Seventh Street. For more information concerning Historic Augusta, the Boyhood Homes of President Woodrow Wilson and Supreme Court Justice Joseph R. Lamar, or historic preservation activities in Augusta-Richmond County, call Historic Augusta, Inc. Phone: 706-724-0436 Fax: 706-724-3083 Wilson House: 706-722-9828 www.historicaugusta.org info@historicaugusta.org FRONT COVER : EAST CENTRAL REGIONAL HOSPITAL, GRACEWOOD CAMPUS