The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation Announces its 2006 list of 10 'Places in Peril'

Nov 14, 2005, 00:00 ET from The Georgia Trust

    ATLANTA, Nov. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The Georgia Trust for Historic
 Preservation released today its 2006 list of 10 Places in Peril in the state.
     Sites on the list include: The Terrell County Courthouse in Dawson; the
 Auburn Avenue Commercial District in Atlanta; Andalusia, the home of Flannery
 O'Connor, outside of Milledgeville; Hartwell Downtown National Register
 District; Pasaquan, an internationally acclaimed visionary art site in Marion
 County near Buena Vista; U.S. Highway 17, the gateway to Historic Brunswick
 and the Golden Isles; the former Hawkinsville High School; Ponce de Leon
 Apartments in Atlanta; City Mills in Columbus; and the Cowen Farmstead in
     "This is the first year that The Georgia Trust has released a Places in
 Peril list," said Greg Paxton, president and CEO of the Trust. "We hope the
 list will draw attention to larger issues facing Georgia's historic places by
 highlighting endangered buildings or sites that represent threatened resources
 throughout the state," he added.
     Paxton also said the Trust anticipates developing a similar list annually
 and announcing the sites placed on the Places in Peril list each November.
     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.
     "We are not attempting to develop a 'most endangered list' for Georgia,"
 Paxton said of the Places in Peril list. "There are hundreds of locations
 throughout our state that could have been on our list -- and they are just as
 endangered and in need of community help as the 10 we have identified," he
     Through Places in Peril, the Trust hopes to encourage owners and
 individuals, organizations and communities to employ preservation tools,
 partnerships and resources necessary to reclaim, restore and revitalize
 historic properties that are in peril.
     The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation is the country's largest
 statewide, nonprofit preservation organization with more than 8,000 members.
     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 105
 Georgia Main Street cities and encourages neighborhood revitalization; trains
 Georgia's teachers to engage students in 61 Georgia school systems to discover
 state and national history through their local historic resources; and
 advocates for funding, tax incentives and other laws aiding preservation
     The Georgia Trust is a recipient of the Trustees Award for Organizational
 Excellence from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
     For more information on the 2006 Places in Peril list or to learn more
 about The Georgia Trust, go to
                Summary Information on each Places in Peril Site
     Terrell County Courthouse, Dawson
     Built in 1892, the Terrell County Courthouse in Dawson was designed by
 William H. Parkins, one of the state's leading post-Civil War architects. With
 estimated repairs reaching $5 million, this High Victorian brick courthouse is
 one of the most threatened courthouses in the state. Terrell County's
 courthouse is just one of 139 historic Georgia courthouses that risk
 endangerment without state technical and financial assistance. Others in great
 need of repair include courthouses in Appling, Brooks, Clinch, Hancock,
 Mitchell, Randolph, Schley, Steward, Talbot, Taliaferro, Taylor, Treutlen,
 Turner, Wilcox, Wilkes and Wilkinson counties.
     Auburn Avenue Commercial District, Atlanta
     Internationally recognized as the birthplace of the civil rights movement
 and a National Historic Landmark District, the Auburn Avenue Commercial
 District in Atlanta contains a long list of historically and architecturally
 significant structures. Once a thriving African-American business district,
 after segregation ended, businesses closed and residents moved elsewhere.
 Today, the remaining businesses are mixed with boarded up buildings. What the
 area needs now is a unified, community-developed and -supported vision for
 revitalization based on the preservation and reuse of the area's existing
     Andalusia, Milledgeville
     The home of one of the most respected American fiction writers, Andalusia
 served as an inspiration to many of the late Flannery O'Connor's stories.
 Located outside of Milledgeville, Andalusia has been deteriorating since 1964
 when it was last occupied as a residence. Since 2001, the Flannery O'Connor-
 Andalusia Foundation has worked to stabilize the property, but needs
 additional funds to maintain the buildings. The site represents scores of
 historic sites across Georgia that need additional funds to fulfill their
 mission and operate as museums.
     Pasaquan, Marion County, Buena Vista
     Pasaquan, an internationally acclaimed visionary art site in Marion County
 near Buena Vista, consists of six major structures-the oldest a redesigned
 1885 farmhouse-and hundreds of feet of decorated walls that are rapidly
 deteriorating due to lack of adequate funding to maintain the property. The
 four-acre site is now managed by the Pasaquan Preservation Society, a
 volunteer board of trustees that needs funding to develop a strategic plan, a
 master plan for the site and for restoration. Like Pasaquan, there are scores
 of historic landscapes throughout Georgia that need additional funding to
 support restoration and maintenance efforts.
     Downtown Hartwell
     National drugstore chain CVS wants to open a location in downtown
 Hartwell, but its plans include the demolition of an entire block of historic
 buildings. In their place, the company wants to build a store with a drive-
 through window and blank wall facing the street-a design incompatible with
 Hartwell's revitalization efforts. The influx of retail chains like CVS into
 downtown can be positive, but an auto-oriented suburban site plan for this
 store does not fit into the context of a walkable, pedestrian-friendly
     U.S. Highway 17, Brunswick
     Over the years, many preservationists and local organizations have tried
 to preserve Highway 17, known as the "Gateway to Historic Brunswick and the
 Golden Isles." More recently, leaders in this area have recognized the
 importance of this gateway to their communities. While a master planning
 process is currently focused on this important corridor, character-specific
 zoning and design guidelines are needed to protect its historic and scenic
 character while guiding compatible new development along the route. Like
 Highway 17, many other roadways leading to Georgia's historic downtowns are
 becoming engulfed with unplanned development and would greatly benefit from
 measures to preserve positive qualities while guiding new development.
     Old Hawkinsville High School
     Built in 1936, the Old Hawkinsville High School served as the neighborhood
 school for Pulaski County until 1976. Many want to save the structure, but if
 a new use or influx of funds for preservation and ongoing maintenance are not
 found within the next two years, the building may be demolished. As schools
 are built on the outskirts of town on vacant lots, well-built former schools
 such as Hawkinsville High School are falling into disuse and disrepair.  Many
 communities have found adaptive uses for their former schools. New national
 guidelines already in place offer Georgia an alternative to abandoning
 conveniently located, historic in-town schools.
     Ponce de Leon Apartments, Atlanta
     Located opposite the Fox Theatre at the corner of Atlanta's Ponce de Leon
 Avenue and Peachtree Street, the Ponce de Leon Apartments opened in 1913 as a
 companion piece to the Georgian Terrace Hotel. After an incomplete condominium
 conversion in 1982, the building's fate is up in the air. The building needs
 substantial funding for rehabilitation. Many historic condominiums may face
 similar problems in the future.
     City Mills, Columbus
     Established by wealthy planter Seaborn Jones in 1828, City Mills in
 Columbus, Ga., spent 150 years grinding corn and wheat. Recently one of the
 mill's structures built by Horace King, a freed slave known for his post-Civil
 War covered bridges, was illegally razed. Because the long-term owners have
 been unable to find a new use for City Mills, its future is uncertain. While
 several large mill buildings throughout the state have recently been
 rehabilitated, Georgia has dozens of such mills sitting vacant. Although it's
 often a challenge to find new uses for such large buildings, successful
 examples in Georgia include mills in Newnan, Athens, Augusta, Atlanta and
 elsewhere in Columbus.
     Cowen Farmstead
     Like many historic properties throughout metro Atlanta, the Cowen
 Farmstead in Acworth-one of the few remaining antebellum houses in Cobb
 County-is now threatened by deferred maintenance and impending development and
 sprawl. In mid October, The Georgia Trust took ownership of the property, and
 in the coming months will seek funds and in-kind donations to initiate
 exterior restoration work on the National Register-listed property. Once the
 property is stabilized, the Trust will sell it to a new owner who will
 complete interior restoration.
      For More Information Contact:
      Harry Hollingsworth
      Christy White

SOURCE The Georgia Trust