ATLANTA, Oct. 24, 2012— The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation released today its 2013 list of ten Places in Peril in the state.
Sites on the list include: Tift Warehouse in Albany; Candler Park Golf Course and Sweet Auburn Commercial District in Atlanta; Dobbins Mining Landscape and Stilesboro Academy in Bartow County; Cave Spring Log Cabin in Floyd County; Monticello Commercial Building in Jasper County; Lexington Presbyterian Church in Oglethorpe County; Hancock County Courthouse in Sparta; and Traveler’s Rest State Historic Site in Toccoa.
“This is the Trust’s eighth annual Places in Peril list,” said Mark C. McDonald, president and CEO of the Trust. “We hope the list will continue to bring preservation action to Georgia’s imperiled historic resources by highlighting ten representative sites,” McDonald said.
Places in Peril is designed to raise awareness about Georgia’s significant historic, archaeological and cultural resources, including buildings, structures, districts, archaeological sites and cultural landscapes that are threatened by demolition, neglect, lack of maintenance, inappropriate development or insensitive public policy.
Through Places in Peril, the Trust will encourage owners and individuals, organizations and communities to employ proven preservation tools, financial resources and partnerships in order to reclaim, restore and revitalize historic properties that are in peril.
Sites that have been placed on previous years’ lists have included: Rutherford Hall at the University of Georgia in Athens, which was demolished in June 2012 despite popular support from students, residents, alumni and the preservation community; Chattahoochee Park Pavilion in Gainesville, which received $25,000 in building materials after the Gainesville City Council voted in July to restore it; John Berrien House in Savannah, which was recently purchased by a descendant who plans to rehabilitate the house and use it for both commercial and residential space; and the Mary Ray Memorial School in Newnan County, which won a Preservation Award from the Trust in 2012. Updates on these sites and others can be found at www.georgiatrust.org.
Founded in 1973, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation is one of the country’s largest statewide, nonprofit preservation organizations. Committed to preserving and enhancing Georgia’s communities and their diverse historic resources for the education and enjoyment of all, The Georgia Trust generates community revitalization by finding buyers for endangered properties acquired by its Revolving Fund; provides design assistance to 102 Georgia Main Street cities and encourages neighborhood revitalization; trains teachers in 63 Georgia school systems to engage students to discover state and national history through their local historic resources; and, advocates for funding, tax incentives and other laws aiding preservation efforts.
Summary Information on each Places in Peril Site
Tift Warehouse, Albany, Dougherty County
Built in 1857 by Nelson Tift, the founder of Albany, Ga., to guarantee the extension of the rail line to Albany, the Tift Warehouse is Southwest Georgia’s only remaining antebellum brick railroad depot.
The construction of a larger depot in 1910 caused the building to be repurposed as a wholesale grocery warehouse; those modifications contributed to its susceptibility to flooding and moisture problems. Early changes to the rail yard’s topography and configuration further contributed to the warehouse’s frequent flooding. These flooding episodes and continual issues with rising damp and moisture infiltration have compromised the stability of the warehouse’s masonry walls.
Candler Park Golf Course, Atlanta, DeKalb County
Coca-Cola founder Asa Candler donated 55 acres of land in northeast Atlanta to be used as a public park by the city in 1922. The land included a nine-hole golf course designed by landscape architect Helen Smith. Smith was hired by Candler to design the course for his daughter because women were prohibited from playing on the Druid Hills course that Candler frequented.
In recent years, the city has leased operations of the golf course to a managing company; however, with low revenue and dwindling use, Atlanta’s Department of Parks is considering closing the historic golf course.
Sweet Auburn Commercial District, Atlanta, Fulton County
The birthplace of the Civil Rights movement, Sweet Auburn was once a thriving community that exemplified African American success in the South. Its businesses, congregations and social organizations provided a refuge for many black Atlantans.
Though recent rehabilitation efforts in adjacent residential neighborhoods have been successful, the effect of hard economic times has continued to plague the commercial district, leaving many significant buildings vacant and vulnerable to demolition or incompatible redevelopment.
After being added to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list in 1992 and The Georgia Trust’s Places in Peril list in 2006, both organizations re-listed Sweet Auburn in 2012 and have agreed to work with the City of Atlanta and the Historic District Development Committee to revitalize the Sweet Auburn Commercial District.
Dobbins Mining Landscape, Bartow County
From 1867 until 1945, the Dobbins Manganese Mine provided manganese ore, essential to the manufacturing of iron and steel. Manganese ore was used in the steel mills and served the nation’s industrial needs during both World Wars. The remains of this open-cut mining site are uniquely illustrative of the industrial heritage of the region and Georgia. The Dobbins Mining Landscape was recently deemed eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places; it is a rare example of an undisturbed historic mining site and no other manganese mine is currently included in the Register.
The Georgia Department of Transportation proposed a new highway project to facilitate traffic from I-75 to Rome, known as the US 411 Connector. As planned, the connector will course directly through the cut of the Dobbins mine.
Stilesboro Academy, Taylorsville, Bartow County
Constructed in 1858-59, Stilesboro Academy’s grand opening was celebrated with a picnic on the first Saturday of May in 1859, a tradition the community has continued for the past 153 years. The school was occupied by the Union Army in 1864 and spared by Sherman. The school was saved again in the 1930s when the ladies of the Stilesboro Improvement Club raised money for the Bartow County School Board to purchase new lumber for a modern school, rather than demolish Stilesboro Academy and reclaim its lumber.
The Stilesboro Improvement Club remains the caretakers of the Academy, but with a dwindling membership, the building’s continual maintenance poses a challenge.
Cave Spring Log Cabin, Floyd County
The Cave Spring Log Cabin was discovered two years ago when layers of clapboard siding on a larger structure built around the cabin were removed. The well-crafted log building likely dates to the early 1800’s, the frontier days of the Cave Spring settlement. When the log structure was uncovered, the Cave Spring Historical Society purchased the building to save it from destruction.
Almost 200 years old, the Cave Spring Log Cabin is suffering from deterioration; some of the original foundation timbers have decayed beyond repair. Now that the log structure is more exposed, the structure will deteriorate further without some intervention and stabilization work.
Monticello Commercial Building, Jasper County
Built in 1887 on Monticello’s square, the Monticello Commercial Building originally operated as N.B. White & Co, a merchandise company. Since then the building has served as a general store, and more recently, a hair and beauty supply store.
The building’s roof and rear wall are significantly damaged. Efforts have been made to temporarily mitigate these problems, but a full rehabilitation is required.
Lexington Presbyterian Church, Oglethorpe County
Built in 1893, the Lexington Presbyterian Church is home to the oldest Presbyterian congregation in Northeast Georgia.
The Lexington Church congregation has dwindled to less than 10 members and is preparing for its dissolution. The church building is in disrepair and declining. Efforts to maintain and repair the structure proved to be inadequate in the face of accelerating damage and deterioration which are beyond the resources of the small congregation.
Hancock County Courthouse, Sparta
The 1883 Hancock County Courthouse was the third courthouse to be built on its site since the town of Sparta was founded in 1795. The magnificent Second Empire style building was designed by the prominent Atlanta architectural firm of Parkins and Bruce. The courthouse anchors the essential center of historic Sparta and has been the site of numerous historic trials and events.
The courthouse is still in use but suffers from lack of funding for maintenance and preservation.
Traveler’s Rest State Historic Site, Toccoa, Stephens County
Built in 1815 as an inn for travelers on the historic Unicoi Turnpike and later used as the headquarters of a 14,400-acre plantation, Traveler’s Rest has been owned by the state since 1955.
Due to budget cutbacks, the Department of Natural Resources is only able to open the National Historic Landmark site once a month. The Friends of Traveler’s Rest funds three additional days of operation per month. Limited use and decreased tourism has resulted in decreased revenue and deferred maintenance.