As of 2023, the Georgia Trust holds and manages over 75 easements on properties throughout the state of Georgia ensuring their perpetual upkeep and protection. A preservation easement is a legal interest that regulates changes to a historic building and its land and may be given or sold by a property owner to a charitable organization.
An early example is the Federal-style Camak House, constructed in Athens c. 1834, which the Trust has held an easement on since 1992. The Camak House was built by James Camak, who was the first Georgia Railroad president, a factory owner, and an innovator in agricultural education. The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. As part of the easement protection on the property, The Georgia Trust has been responsible for reviewing proposed alterations over the years, which has included many development proposals to build on the unoccupied acreage. Following the recent sale of the property in 2022, the Trust has been working with the new owners, the Chabad of Athens, as they work to create a center for the Jewish population on the property while maintaining the house’s historic integrity.
Protected by an easement since 2019, the Historic West Hunter Street Baptist Church in Atlanta is best known for its connection with Rev. Dr. Ralph David Abernathy, who served as its pastor from 1961 to 1973. The church, located in the heart of a thriving African American community was a key rallying place during the Civil Rights Movement, and Rev. Abernathy worked with Dr. King, Rev. Hosea Williams, and others to lead non-violent movements across the nation. West Hunter Street and other nearby establishments were meeting places to organize these efforts. Currently owned by the Ralph David Abernathy III Foundation, the property received funding from the National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Fund African American Civil Rights Program toward its preservation. With the easement, Trust provides annual inspections and recommendations for the preservation of the building and restoration efforts are currently underway.
Do you own a historic property that you’d like to be protected in perpetuity? Could you use a tax deduction? Consider donating a conservation easement to The Georgia Trust! A gift of easement is a deed restriction that limits what changes can be made to a building’s exterior and the property and ensures its perpetual upkeep. Easement donations result in tax deductions for the donor and can lower property taxes. Best of all, easements give the easement holder the authority to make sure that important parts of our history are around forever.
Learn more about our Easement program and what’s involving in donating an easement on our Easement webpage.
Support the work of the Georgia Trust and programs like this by Becoming a Member today!
See more about the history of the Georgia Trust on our 50th Anniversary blog Celebrating 50.