|In this issue:
- Message from the Director
- National Register Review Board Meeting in August
- Civil War Rifle Crate to be Displayed
- Locust Grove Partners with Georgia State University for Preservation Planning
- Recent News & Announcements
- Upcoming Events
Message from the Director
By Dr. David Crass, Division Director & Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer
While on a recent visit to Sapelo Island with DNR Board Member Bill Jones III
and WRD Assistant Director Mark Whitney, I had an opportunity to sit down and chat with Cornelia Bailey in the Geechee community of Hog Hammock. As many readers will no doubt know, Cornelia is a direct descendant of Bilali, a prominent Imam who was skilled in the cultivation of rice and the headman on Thomas Spalding's Sapelo plantation.
During our conversation Cornelia told me about the Geechee Red Peas Project. Red peas are a local delicacy, and are traditionally eaten with rice and pork. Cornelia’s plan is for the community to market the dried beans to upscale food emporiums, and so far, those discussions are encouraging.
If successful, the project would provide local employment
opportunities, produce much-needed revenue, and bring additional public exposure to Sapelo and its wealth of cultural and natural
A day after my conversation with Cornelia, I spoke at the dedication of the Brown's Mill Battlefield Park in Coweta County. It was the site of a running cavalry battle in 1864 between General W. T. Sherman’s and General Joseph Wheeler’s horse troopers. Sherman’s troopers were soundly thrashed, a rare victory for the Confederates at this stage in the war. I became involved in efforts to preserve the battlefield in 2000, as a master plan was developed, and have watched over the years as local citizens mobilized, raised funds, and advocated for the preservation of this critical historic resource.
My conversation with Cornelia and the dedication ceremony drove home several very powerful lessons. First, historic preservation is, at its very core, all about community identity. Yes, we use economic and other incentives to encourage the preservation of historic buildings, neighborhoods, landscapes, and archaeological sites—but those incentives are employed in the service of a much larger purpose. Second, historic preservation is a long-term endeavor--a game of inches--that we must be willing to play out over many many years. And finally, this is an endeavor that must have both deep local roots and the framework of the national and state historic preservation programs in order to be successful.
National Register Review Board Meeting in August
By Lynn Speno, National Register Specialist
HPD will be hosting the bi-annual meeting of Georgia's National Register Review Board
on August 23 at our office in Atlanta. At this meeting we will welcome three new members to the board: Willie Burns, Celine Gladwin, and Karen Huebner. Here is a preview of some of the diverse historic properties throughout the state that will be on the agenda:
Located in the city of West Point, the Riverside Club
, built in 1913 and renamed the Magnolia Club in 1920, was used as a place of lodging and entertainment by the West Point Manufacturing Company and its corporate successors until 2003. The main clientele of the club were visiting industrialists, including the company’s investors, salesmen, and other business associates. The last quarter of the 19th century had brought prosperity to the city from the many textile mills located along the Chattahoochee River. The architect for the Riverside Club was Park A. Dallis, Sr. of Atlanta, originally from Troup County, who designed the 1913 Craftsman-style club. In 1959 the owners hired noted architect Clement J. Ford to remodel the house with classical details, such as the six-columned porte-cochere at the entrance. Today the club is a private residence.
One of the few remaining antebellum houses in Cobb County that also retains several of its historic outbuildings is the Smith-Manning House
The house is also a rare example of a house in Piedmont Georgia that had its main living spaces built above a raised basement. The house, built with Greek Revival elements, was originally the home of Dr. Sidney Smith (1805-1856), who purchased the property in 1851, and used slave labor to build a house and develop a 900-acre plantation that he called "Rockford." After several other owners, John Lipsey Manning (1859-1922) purchased the property and added the Folk Victorian details in the 1880s. Subsequent generations of his family used the land for agricultural purposes through the 1970s. Except for four acres surrounding the house, all the land was eventually subdivided for residential development.
The Drayton Arms Apartments
is a 12-story International-Style early modern skyscraper
located in downtown Savannah at the corner of East Liberty and Drayton streets. The building, designed by the Savannah architectural firm of Cletus W. Bergen and William P. Bergen Architects, was completed in 1951 utilizing funds from the Federal Housing Administration. The building was designed to house commercial tenants on the first floor with apartments on the upper floors. When completed, the building held the distinction of being the second tallest building in Savannah and the first building in the state to be fully air-conditioned. Drayton Arms is one of the earliest and most important examples of the International Style in Georgia.
The Bordley Cottage-Beach View Hotel
is a two-story hotel located on Butler Avenue, the main thoroughfare on Tybee Island. Built c.1915, the cottage was constructed as a seasonal
residence by Charles R. Bordley, an officer in the Savannah Guano Company, and his wife Ophelia. Charles died in 1917 and in 1932 Ophelia Wallis added rear ells to her Tybee cottage and (unsuccessfully) opened it as a boarding house. In 1944 William D. Garvin purchased the cottage for a vacation home and a boarding house. In 1945 he transformed the cottage into the four-season Beach View Hotel. The Beach View Hotel provided middle-class patrons with up-to-date seaside accommodations that were more comfortable than a boarding house and less expensive than the upscale Hotel Tybee. The Bordley Cottage-Beach View Hotel is among the oldest surviving hotels on Tybee Island. It was later converted to efficiency apartments and a restaurant. The building has been recently rehabilitated using state and federal tax incentives.
The William and Jane Levitt House
is an excellent example of the work of modernist Macon architect Bernard Webb that was completed in
1952. Webb received a degree in architecture from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1938, during which time he interned in the office of Macon architect Ellamae Ellis League. League and her daughter, Jean League Newton, were among the city’s pioneers in the Modern Movement. Webb’s admiration for the ideas of Frank Lloyd Wright coupled with his creative instincts and forward-thinking clients allowed Webb to produce innovative houses throughout his career. Many of Webb’s houses were designed to blend into the landscape and to minimize distinctions between indoor and outdoor settings, often emphasized with large sheets of plate glass. His own home, completed in 1949 in Macon, was featured in House Beautiful
Historic districts have been an important mainstay of Georgia's National Register program. Listing buildings and structures in districts allows a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to preservation planning. Three historic districts are on the August agenda:
The Kensington Park-Groveland Historic District
is one of the first residential subdivisions built in Savannah after World War II. Its plan, laid out in 1950, featured curvilinear streets and
cul-de-sacs. These neighborhoods capitalized on new ideas about "country" living in the suburbs and in doing so, broke Savannah’s 200-year tradition of the gridiron plan based on the 1733 Oglethorpe plan. The district contains one of the best collections of mid-20th-century houses in Savannah and includes American Small Houses, split-level houses, and ranch houses, which are the most prevalent house type in the neighborhood.
The Pine Gardens Historic District
is a residential development located along President Street in northeast Savannah. Built between 1942
and 1954, the neighborhood was initially constructed for defense workers in the shipbuilding industry during World War II. The Southeastern Shipbuilding Corporation was established in 1942 along the Savannah River east of downtown and employed 15,000 workers at any given time. The Pine Gardens neighborhood was developed by Pine Gardens, Inc. to provide housing for the civilian shipyard workers. The neighborhood’s rectangular grid of streets includes roughly 500 American Small Houses set on lots that measure one-sixth of an acre. This house type, which was popular in the 1930s and 1940s, catered to the materiel shortages of World War II. Pine Gardens included a shopping plaza, church, fire department, and, later, a school all completed by 1954. After the war, many residents purchased their houses in Pine Gardens.
The Suwanee Historic District
is a small, relatively intact railroad community located in northwestern Gwinnett County. Suwanee was founded with the arrival of the Atlanta and Richmond Air-Line Railway in 1871, and it prospered as the center of commerce for the surrounding
agricultural-based economy. The district includes both commercial and residential areas that are primarily oriented along the railroad corridor. Commercial buildings are concentrated in a two-block area along Main Street, parallel to the Norfolk and Southern Railroad line. This area is characterized by one- and two-story buildings of wood, brick, and stone dating to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Residential areas extend along Main Street and also along Stonecypher Road and Russell Street. The historic houses represent common late-19th to early 20th-century types and styles, with a few mid-20th century examples. Community landmark buildings include the 1910 Suwanee First United Methodist Church, the 1910 commercial building known as Pierce’s Corner, and the former hotel at 3949 Russell Street that was built in stages beginning in 1880.
Summaries of each proposed nomination are available on our website
, along with the complete Review Board agenda. At the meeting on August 23, HPD staff will present 10-15 minute PowerPoint presentations about each property. Members of the board will have an opportunity to comment and ask questions before voting on whether the nomination meets the National Register criteria. The meeting is open to interested parties and the public. For more detailed information about the National Register of Historic Places nomination process in Georgia, please visit our website
Civil War Rifle Crate to be Displayed
By Josh Headlee, Senior Preservation Technician
Top: The rifle crate soon to be displayed at Sweetwater Creek State Conservation Park.
Bottom: Diagram of a similar packing technique.
A unique Civil War artifact is about to go on display at Sweetwater Creek State Conservation Park. It is an entire crate of British Enfield Rifles that was recovered from the wreck of the CSS Stono in Charleston harbor, South Carolina, in the 1980s. The Stono started life as the USS Isaac Smith, a 453-ton screw steamship. It was part of the Federal Atlantic Blockading Fleet until January 30, 1863 when it was captured by Confederate forces and renamed the CSS Stono. It was used as a blockade runner slipping past the Federal naval blockade of all Southern ports to supply arms and munitions to the Confederate forces during the war.
The British Pattern 53 Enfield Rifles in this crate were destined to arm Confederate troops. These were highly prized weapons by both Union and Confederate forces. In order to prevent the boat and all of her cargo from being captured by Union forces as they retook Charleston in 1865, the crew scuttled the boat in the harbor.
Many small cargo items from the Stono such as bullets were archaeologically recovered from the wreck at the same time as the rifle crate. While the conservation of these smaller artifacts was easily accomplished by conservators in South Carolina, the rifle crate proved to be too big and required too many resources. As a result, the rifle crate was transferred to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. In 2006 the crate was brought to the Preservation Laboratory located at Panola Mountain State Park. With the help of Archaeological Conservator Katherine Singley, conservation of the crate and its rifles began.
Only large fragments of the wooden crate remained. However, the crate contained an inner metal lining. This lining kept the cargo sealed from salt air that would damage the rifles in transit, and likely ensured that the rifles were not tampered with. This metal lining is brittle and weak, but in relatively good condition considering its history. The lining, however was damaged when the ship sank and over the years the crate filled with sediment. In order to treat the rifles, the sediment would have to be removed, and in order to remove the sediment, the lid of the crate lining needed to be removed. Luck was with us and as we started cutting into the lining original seal around the lid came loose and we were able to carefully lift off the lid with minimal cutting.
The rifle crate, submerged in a large vat of fresh water to keep it from drying out, became in essence an archaeological dig. The sediment was painstakingly removed from the crate preventing damage to anything inside. In some areas the sediment had the consistency of concrete, while in other places it was fairly loose and was easily scooped out. Excavation of the contents of the crate took more than a year and revealed a lot more than just the rifles. Found amongst the sediment were the remains of gun tools, a bullet mold, and bayonets. Twenty small cork and brass tampions (or tompions) were discovered. These are small devices used to plug the end of rifle barrels to keep water and dirt out.
The crate contained two layers of 10 rifles each. The rifles were placed in the crate in an alternating butt to muzzle pattern. Wooden blocks made to fit the bottoms and tops of the rifles were located between, above, and below the rifles to prevent the rifles from shifting and being damaged during shipping. However, many of the rifles were badly damaged when the ship sank. The crate was smashed at one end, which resulted in a number of broken rifle stocks.
Salt water is very corrosive. Consequently, all of the iron components of the rifles (barrels, locks, hammers, ramrods) are in very bad shape, and what iron is recognizable is very brittle and fragile. Only fragments of the barrels, locks, bayonets, and the gun tools have been recovered. On the other hand, the wooden stocks are in relatively good shape, as are all of the brass components (trigger guards, butt plates, nose caps).
At this stage in the conservation process we are playing a waiting game. The rifles absorbed large quantities of salt (sodium chloride) from the sea water in which they rested, and this is one of the leading factors in their deterioration. The majority of this salt must be removed in order to prevent further deterioration. This is being done very slowly via repeated baths of fresh water. The chloride level is monitored weekly to show how much salt is in the water. Once the salt level remains constant, the aquarium is drained and refilled with fresh water. Once the chloride levels are immeasurable, it will be time for the next stage of conservation, which will require consultation with an expert to discuss the various options for treatment.
One of the most difficult aspects of conserving an artifact like this is that it is made up of different materials (wood, iron, and brass). The treatment for one of the materials can often damage the other components. If the rifles were simply taken out of the water and allowed to dry; the wood, which is currently saturated with water, would shrink resulting in splitting, cracking, and the overall destruction of the rifles.
The rifles will obviously never look like they did when they were brand new. In fact, with much of the iron gone, they will at best look like shells of their former selves. However, there are enough fragments and recognizable parts left that they are an instrument of education for Civil War and Enfield Rifle scholars who are being given a rare glimpse into how the rifles were crated and transported. The crate and its contents will also give the public a glimpse at a rare and unique artifact that is a testament to the importance of foreign trade to the Confederacy and in this case, rifles that never quite made their destination.
Locust Grove Partners with Georgia State University for Preservation Planning
Marcy Breffle, CLG Program Intern
Boasting small-town southern charm with big city amenities, the thriving city of Locust Grove is a popular destination for those wishing to indulge in retail therapy, avoid the expenses of nearby Atlanta, or explore a community rich in historic resources. Located in Henry County, Locust Grove was developed as a major rail distribution center in the late nineteenth century and has experienced exponential growth in the recent decades with new construction radiating away from the city’s historic inner core. Like many Georgia cities, Locust Grove has been confronted by the need to preserve the historic character of the community while encouraging development. This past spring, at the suggestion of Leigh Burns as well as other HPD staff, Richard Laub, Director of the Master of Heritage Preservation (MHP) Program, led students in supporting and assisting the Locust Grove Historic Preservation Commission (LGHPC) through a positive partnership with Georgia State University to meet this challenge.
A popular course in the MHP Program, the Preservation Planning class is taught jointly by Richard Laub and Mary Ann Eaddy. Both professors are former HPD employees; Mr. Laub has served as the GSU MHP Director since 1998. Working together with the LGHPC and other involved local government organizations and citizens, the fourteen graduate students (including myself) outlined the semester-long project objectives and began their work. The objectives of the project included preparing a set of local historic district design guidelines for historic properties and infill construction, identifying potential local historic districts, and making recommendations for future preservation planning efforts including consultation with community members and local government officials.
In addition to their coursework, the graduate students made several trips to Locust Grove to survey the city's distinctive historic character, research the community’s history, and interview community members. The graduate class presented a set of resourceful local historic district design guidelines, recommended that Locust Grove begin a process to become a Certified Local Government, advised ordinance revisions, and established the boundaries for several potential local historic districts. Often confused with National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) districts, local historic districts protect the historic properties and character of a community through a design review process. Local historic districts are designated by Mayor and Council, or County Commissioners and are meant to encourage sensitive development within the district boundaries. Currently, Locust Grove has one local historic district; these student recommendations offer additional guidance for the designation of other local historic districts.
Partnerships between universities and preservation organizations, as well as through state historic preservation offices, serve not only to provide field experience for future professionals, but also to expand the public awareness of local preservation planning efforts. As the city of Locust Grove and the Heritage Preservation students can attest, these mutually-beneficial partnerships create lasting relationships within the community and support for historic preservation everywhere.
For more information about Locust Grove please visit their website at http://www.locustgrove-ga.gov
. For more information about the Master of Heritage Preservation Program at Georgia State University please visit http://www2.gsu.edu/~wwwher/
Recent News & Announcements
The July 2013 issue of Reflections is now available here.
2013 Historic Landscape and Garden Grant Program Now Accepting Applications
The Garden Club of Georgia is now accepting applications for its 2013 Historic Landscape and Garden Grant Program, which provides funds for the preservation and restoration of Georgia’s historic gardens and landscapes. Non-profit organizations, local governments, and local garden clubs are eligible to apply for the 50/50 matching grant in amounts up to $3,000. Grants will only be awarded to projects that are historically documented, and projects must be completed within one year. Guidelines and the one-page application may be found at the Garden Club of Georgia’s website
. The deadline for submission is August 1, 2013
. If you have questions about your application, please contact Committee Chair Joy Vannerson
at 770-540-2764, email@example.com
or Carole Moore
, HPD Tax Incentives & Grants Coordinator, at 404-651-5566, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Brooks Family Farm Listed in the National Register of Historic Places (press release - July 30)
Three Georgia Communities to Receive Round 2 Federal Historic Preservation Grants (press release - July 2)
Thursday, August 15, 2013 - Summer Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) Training - Savannah
HPD is pleased to announce that we will offer a one-day HPC Training through our ongoing partnership with the Georgia Downtown Association and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. The training is part of the four-day Georgia Downtown Conference
, August 13-16, 2013. More information will be posted on our website
as it becomes available.
Saturday, August 17, 2013 - GA SHPO/HPD Alumni and Friends Reunion - Gainesville
"An HPD Alumni and Friends Reunion is scheduled for Saturday, August 17, 2013, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm or whenever....at the Chattahoochee Park Pavilion on Lake Lanier, 2374 Sportsman Club Rd, Gainesville, GA 30501. Bring your own picnic lunch. It's open to all, especially those that have worked long and hard with HPD over the years. An HPD staff history is being compiled to document HPD staff, positions held and dates of service, and other interesting information." Contact Carole Griffith for more information about the reunion and the staff history. Carole Griffith, email@example.com
September 10-11, 2013 - The Recent Past: Identification and Evaluation of Mid-20th-Century Resources - Atlanta
Review nationwide trends in mid-20th-century houses and commercial structures, with an emphasis on the evolution of suburban development patterns, construction methods, and building types. Examine era-specific factors that help to identify and evaluate these buildings in terms of their significance for eligibility for listing in the National Register and consideration of Section 106, Section 110, and Section 4(f) regulatory issues. Co-sponsored by the National Preservation Institute, HPD, and GDOT. An agenda and registration information are available online at www.npi.org
September 12, 2013 - Preservation Planning and Policy Development for Historic Roads - Atlanta
Explore the current tools and techniques used for the identification, preservation, and management of historic roads. As an emerging area of historic preservation, planning and policy for historic roads presents new challenges for the historic preservation professional. Learn how to apply transportation policies to historic roads, balance safety and function with historic preservation objectives, and build awareness and new constituencies for the legacy of highway design in the United States. Co-sponsored by the National Preservation Institute, HPD, and GDOT. An agenda and registration information are available online at www.npi.org
October 9-11, 2013 - Georgia Municipal Cemetery Association annual conference - Thomasville
Co-sponsored by HPD. Full details will be posted here
as they become available.