|In this issue:
-Camp Lawton Archaeological Discoveries Unveiled
-Patterns in the Rural Landscape: Identifying Barn Types in Georgia
-New Connections: Developing Pedestrian Options in Historic Downtowns
-Georgia Heritage Grant to Tybee Theater is Catalyst for More Funding
-Staff Profiles: Beth Gibson
Camp Lawton Archaeological Discoveries Unveiled
By Dr. Bryan Tucker, Archaeology Section Chief & Deputy State Archaeologist
Georgia Southern University archaeology student Amanda Morrow answers questions about the displayed artifacts.
Bullets, a tourniquet buckle, and a pipe with a soldier’s teeth marks are just a few of the artifacts recovered from archaeological excavations at Magnolia Springs State Park in Millen (Jenkins County). In the Spring of 2010, on the invitation of DNR Commissioner Chris Clark, Dr. Sue Moore of Georgia Southern University and her graduate student Kevin Chapman began investigations into a Civil War prisoner of war camp at Magnolia Springs State Park. Camp Lawton was constructed in 1864 by the Confederates to help house captured Union forces. The 42-acre prison was composed of a 15-foot high log stockade built around a small stream. Upon completion over 10,000 Union soldiers were housed in the prison; it was only in use for around six weeks before it was evacuated in advance of Sherman’ s march to the sea.
Dr. Moore tasked Kevin with finding the architectural footprint of the stockade of Camp Lawton. Kevin found the stockade and a lot more. Investigations on the grounds of Magnolia Springs State Park and the neighboring Bo Ginn National Fish hatchery began to uncover artifacts and evidence of the small tents or “shebangs” made by the prisoners. The artifacts show what life was like for Union soldiers captured late in the war and imprisoned at Camp Lawton. Though written records of the camp remain, these artifacts augment those records by giving a voice to the hundreds of soldiers who died in the prison as well as those who lived but never told their story.
Though the prison was only in use for six weeks, the discovery of Camp Lawton has been hailed as one of the most important archaeological discoveries in Georgia. However, the site’s significance is not based on its importance during the Civil War. Instead it is the undisturbed nature of this relatively minor site that makes it so important. In this respect the site is similar to other famous archaeological sites like the Tomb of King Tutankhamun. King Tut (as he is commonly know) was a relatively minor King whose tomb was overlooked by looters and treasure hunters largely because he was considered unimportant. However, the importance of his tomb lies in its undisturbed nature and in the information the undisturbed array of artifacts could provide. Similarly, Camp Lawton escaped looting largely because artifact hunters assumed that because of its short occupation there would not be many artifacts there. The undisturbed nature of the site and the wealth of personal artifacts recovered are providing an unrivaled view of everyday life in the camp, a view not possible at better-known but more disturbed sites like Andersonville.
The public unveiling of the discovery occured on August 18th. It was jointly organized by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Georgia Southern University. A number of local media outlets, as well as PBS, NPR, CNN, and the Associated Press were on hand to report on the proceedings and interview the participants. Over 1,500 people are estimated to have attended the event between the hours of 1 and 5pm, making this one of the largest public archaeology events ever held in the state.
The artifacts recovered so far are going to be on temporary display at Georgia Southern University until permanent facilities are available at Magnolia Springs. A public archaeology day will be held on a Saturday in late September to provide the public another chance to see the artifacts and to dig with the archaeologists. Details on the exact date will be available shortly.
For more information on Camp Lawton visit Georgia Southern's webpage or our Camp Lawton page.
Patterns in the Rural Landscape: Identifying Barn Types in Georgia
By Denise Messick, National Register Historian
Barns are commonly viewed as quintessential icons of America’s agricultural landscape. It is easy to forget that they were constructed as utilitarian buildings with forms and functions that vary greatly in different regions of the country. The geography and climate of the Deep South, as well as the migration patterns of early settlers, resulted in distinct differences between the number and type of barns found in Georgia, as compared to states in the Northeast and Midwest. In particular, agricultural practices have been adapted to local weather. Where winters are generally mild, as in Georgia, little need exists for large barns. Most livestock can go without shelter, and grain can be threshed outdoors, so fewer barns were built. Historic farms and plantations in the state evolved with many other features that comprise their layered cultural landscape.
The McLemore Cove Historic District in northwest Georgia includes an extensive collection of agricultural outbuildings and fields.
Georgia’s large size and environmental diversity can complicate attempts to identify patterns in this agricultural mosaic. The significance of barns depends on their context and setting. Elements of that setting may include orchards and fields for crops and grazing; patterns of paths and roads; boundary demarcations such as walls, fences, and irrigation ditches; terraces and ponds; home sites and domestic yards, including tenant houses; outdoor work and storage areas; and collections of varied outbuildings and structures, such as smokehouses, silos, corncribs, gins, mills, springhouses, wells, root cellars, chicken coops, and many more. The presence of these features varies with the size and location of the farm, changing agricultural practices and technology, and the types of crops and animals that are raised. The role of barns in these functional landscapes may be fluid, as they are adapted to new needs.
While big barns are relatively rare in Georgia, data gleaned from historic resource surveys indicates that most farms do have some type of barn, even if it is a small one. The common types of barns found in the state can be identified by either form or function. Examples of barns with special functions include tobacco barns, dairy barns, mule or horse barns, granaries, and seed houses. Of these, tobacco barns may have the most distinctive and recognizable forms, depending on the method of cultivation and curing employed. The following paragraphs will identify barns only by form, as this general typology can be applied to the majority of barns in the state.
Folklorists and geographers have labeled some of the earliest barns in the state as crib barns, with variations including single-crib, double-crib, four-crib, and transverse crib. A single-crib barn consists of one enclosure, sometimes augmented by open sheds on the side. These small barns usually have a gable-front orientation, and the oldest ones can be made of unchinked logs. Double-crib barns have several variations, but all have two enclosures separated by an open aisle. Four-crib barns are rare in Georgia, but may be described as two double-cribs facing each other under a common roof. Of the larger barns found in the state, the transverse crib barn appears to be one of the most common forms. It consists of three or more adjacent cribs (or stalls) on either side of a wide aisle or runway. The entrance to the aisle is on the gable end, and the barns usually have a hayloft in the space under the gable or gambrel. These versatile barns can serve mixed uses as storage for grain or farm implements or shelter for animals. Sheds or other additions are commonly found.
The bank barn is a fairly unusual form in Georgia that makes use of the side of a hill to permit direct access from two different levels. Normally the lower level shelters livestock, and the upper level stores feed that can be dropped through openings or chutes to the animals below. Even less common is the round barn. A few of these circular two-story barns were constructed on dairy farms between 1880 and 1930, when the form was considered efficient and progressive. Three-portal barns are similar to large transverse crib barns, except that they have three parallel aisles that give access to stalls. The central aisle is under the ridge of the front-facing gable, and the two side aisles are usually along the outer walls. After the middle of the 20th century, inexpensive pole barns became popular. Their framework consists of upright poles set directly in the ground, without the use of sills or foundations. They may have multiple door openings on any side, and floors are usually dirt or poured concrete slabs.
For other examples and a more detailed discussion, see Tilling the Earth: Georgia’s Agricultural Heritage, A Context (2001), available in PDF format on our website. HPD is co-sponsoring the 2010 Centennial Farm Awards luncheon at the Georgia National Fair in Perry on October 8, along with the Georgia Farm Bureau, Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia Department of Agriculture, and Georgia National Fairgrounds Agricenter. These awards honor farms that have been continuously operating for over 100 years. This year’s keynote speaker will be State Senator John Bulloch, Chairman of the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee and Vice Chair of the Natural Resources and the Environment Committee. Information and registration materials can be found on our website.
New Connections: Developing Pedestrian Options in Historic Downtowns
By Dean Baker, Transportation Enhancements Reviewer
Cities all across Georgia have a variety of historic and natural resources that can be best appreciated on foot. Walking is the original form of human locomotion and foot speed is optimal for appreciating the scale and detail of historic buildings and downtowns. Many of Georgia’s cities have invested in their future by developing sidewalks, streetscapes, trails and other projects. These projects have created lively new spaces and have improved access to recreational activities and non-automobile transportation options.
A new plaza provides a central, pedestrian-friendly gathering place in Swainsboro.
The development pattern of Georgia’s historic cities and towns usually centered on a railroad stop, with a depot and the main commercial district located near the tracks and homes fanning out towards the periphery. Cities and towns that developed in this fashion are nearly always built to a pedestrian scale. Throughout Georgia and across the United States, cities continued this development pattern up until the years immediately following World War II, when a new model arose that focused on the personal automobile as the primary mode of transportation. In the decades that have followed, we have oriented our cities around the movement of the automobile. The development of pedestrian-oriented options should be viewed as an additional option, not as an immediate replacement for the car.
There are many great benefits to the addition of pedestrian options in a community. The groups that potentially benefit the most are the young (especially those who cannot yet drive), people who are seeking additional options for physical recreation, and finally those who are simply just looking for an alternative to making another car trip.
A large number of Georgia communities have already completed the first step in the process by developing a destination for the pedestrian. Most cities that followed the traditional development pattern around a historic commercial district or depot already have sidewalks that reach from the residential areas to the central business district. It is from this historic heart of the community that the next connection can be most easily made.
From the historic downtown, the options for linking the next connection or set of connections include activity centers, such as schools, parks, trails, shopping centers and transit stops, such as park-and-ride lots. Consideration needs to be made to make these sidewalks, paths and trails as easily utilized and pleasant as possible for the pedestrian. Sidewalks should be wide enough to easily accommodate two adult pedestrians, pushing baby strollers, to pass each other on the sidewalk without one of them having to yield or step off the path. If the trails are to be multi-purpose and include bikes and other non-motorized forms of transportation, they will need to be even wider and include additional markings and other features to promote the safety of all users. Most importantly, the perception of personal safety needs to be encouraged, with shade trees, lighting, and physical separation from heavily-trafficked streets all being taken into consideration for the final design.
More information is available at our transporation enhancements webpage. Visit the Better Streets, Better Cities blog for further examples.
Georgia Heritage Grant to Tybee Theater is Catalyst for More Funding
By Carole Moore, Grants Coordinator
In the fall of 2008 (SFY 2009) the Friends of the Tybee Theater received, with great fanfare, a $20,000 Georgia Heritage grant - the first funded exclusively with historic preservation license plate revenues - to repair the historic theater’s exterior doors and windows. Recently completed, the Phase I grant project has proven to be an amazing catalyst in generating donations far more than the original $20,000 grant award.
Although still in the early stages of rehabilitation, the Tybee Theater has already hosted numerous events and tours. Photo courtesy of the Tybee Theater.
Grant project manager Cullen Chambers, who also is executive director of the Tybee Island Historical Society, said, “The grant award is a classic example of how a small matching grant can multiply the dividends many times over!” Chambers explained that the visibility of the project has spurred the Tybee Island community, including visitors, to take an increased interest in the rehabilitation of the theater. Tybee citizens have committed over $240,000 in donations and pledges. The City of Tybee Island has committed up to $65,000 for the project, if the Friends of the Tybee Theater can raise that amount or more. Local business leaders have pledged to raise $100,000 in a separate campaign. And, finally, actress Sandra Bullock recently donated $10,000. The total amount raised or pledged is expected to cover the estimated $400,000 cost of the interior rehabilitation of the theater. Once rehabilitation is complete, the theater will be used as a much-needed multi-purpose cultural center for Tybee Island.
Chambers said, "Hopefully our elected officials who make decisions on funding historic preservation programs in Georgia will take note of how a small amount of State support can grow local support, as well as help form partnerships that create much-needed construction jobs."
Local business owner and Chair of the Tybee Tourism Council Amy Gaster said, "I think the façade restoration is an important first step to help supporters visualize the future of the theater. Hopefully, our fundraising project will further the theater board's goal to get more people inside the structure, so they can see what a wonderful place it will be for the community once it has been restored," she explained. "We are very excited to step up the fundraising efforts so that we can see real progress towards the completion, and we can't wait to witness the first curtain call with a real curtain!" she added.
Greg Stoeffler, another local businessman and member of Leadership Tybee, explained that his team has identified the Tybee Theater as a project that would "strengthen relationships and bridge potential boundaries between residents, municipalities, businesses and visitors to our island." The team has pledged $100,000 to the Tybee Theater through a fundraiser contest called "Casting for Stars," which will take place September 2010 through January 2011. Stoeffler added that, "city government, businesses, residents, and off-island groups and individuals are getting behind this effort from a fiduciary and participatory role. Building both of these and encouraging others to get on board is critical to the success of getting the theater open for business."
When the Georgia Heritage Grant Program was created in 1995, it was envisioned as a "seed" grant program to do exactly what we have seen happen on Tybee Island. Although the Georgia Heritage Grant Program is not a large program, it has awarded over $3 million in matching grants to a total of 243 preservation projects for significant community landmarks throughout the state, such as lighthouses, cemeteries, theaters, depots, courthouses, and schools. Unfortunately, due to the current economy, the grant program is currently funded solely through historic preservation license plate sales. Here’s how it works: as of July 1, 2010, there is a $25 manufacturing fee and a $35 special plate fee. Yearly renewals cost $35. $22 of the special plate fee and $22 of the annual renewal fee go towards the Georgia Heritage Grant program. These funds are critical as we work to preserve and continue to use Georgia’s historic places.
Through April of this year (HPD’s most recent figures), almost 5,000 plates have been sold for a total of $104,423. Five Georgia Heritage projects (included in the 243 total mentioned in the preceding paragraph), totaling $66,285, have been awarded funding with the license plate revenues. It is anticipated that two to four projects will be awarded funding this fall for SFY 2011. Stay tuned for the upcoming award announcement. Details on the grant program are available on our website.
Beth Gibson, Preservation Architect
As Preservation Architect, Beth’s primary responsibility at HPD is to review the preservation tax incentives applications to insure conformance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. She also reviews applications for HPD’s grant programs and provides technical assistance regarding historic properties.
Beth grew up on the coast of Georgia on St. Simons Island and came to Atlanta in 1981 to attend college. She earned a Master of Architecture degree from Georgia Tech and has been a licensed architect since 1992. She is married and has two school-age children. Beth returned to HPD last fall to work with the Tax Incentives and Rehabilitation Guidance Program; she had previously worked at HPD in the 1990s when she served as an architectural reviewer in the Technical Services Unit.
What made you choose architecture as your profession?
I always wanted to be an architect when I was growing up. Interestingly, there were no architects in my family and I didn’t know any architects but somehow from a very young age I knew that was what I wanted to be. I can remember sitting at my desk in elementary school and drawing floor plans when I was finished with my class work. I was always designing something.
What do you do on a typical work day?
On a typical day, most of my time is spent reviewing applications for tax incentives. For a typical project, I go through the application materials, look at the "before" photographs of the building, and read the scope-of-work descriptions so that I can determine how much historic fabric is remaining and the existing condition of the building. Then I look at the proposed plans and descriptions for rehabilitation so I can evaluate whether or not the project meets the Standards. I work closely with the Tax Incentives Coordinator and the Specialist throughout the review process to coordinate correspondence with the property owners, discuss problematic rehabilitation issues and concerns, schedule site visits when needed, and make sure the review process stays on schedule.
What do you like most about your job?
What I most enjoy is going out “in the field” and actually seeing the architecture and talking with property owners about their projects. It’s always more meaningful to see a building in person and to evaluate the existing conditions and the rehabilitation issues first-hand. I enjoy hearing property owners talk about their historic buildings; every place has a unique story. Over the years, working at HPD has afforded me the opportunity to travel throughout the state, getting to know Georgia in ways I wouldn’t have otherwise. I’ve been fortunate to see so many incredible places that I didn’t even know existed and to meet some wonderful people throughout our state. This fall, I’m looking forward to traveling with our Grants Coordinator to visit the historic buildings that have been awarded funds for rehabilitation through HPD’s Georgia Heritage Grant Program and license plate sales.
What is one of your favorite projects you’ve work on?
My favorite project that I’ve worked on at HPD is the Women’s History Initiative. In the early 1990s, I attended an academic conference at Bryn Mawr with the theme of "Women’s History and Historic Preservation." I was so inspired after that trip that I came back to Atlanta and suggested the idea for a women’s history initiative within HPD. It turned out to be the first initiative of its kind to be established in a State Historic Preservation Office and led to the first-ever state conference on women’s history and historic preservation as well as the development of an on-going large-scale study of Georgia women and the built environment. Working on these two projects was so gratifying for me because these successfully combined two of my primary interests: architecture and women’s studies.