In celebration of Historic Preservation Month, the Eatonton Historic Preservation Committee honored local properties that have been restored to their former state.
Following is an (edited for space) article by Lyn Romine as published in the May 4 edition of the Eatonton Messenger.
This Place Matters
It’s May and time to celebrate Historic Preservation Month, which is a nationally recognized event sponsored by the National Trust of Historic Places to honor and promote preservation efforts across the country. We, the Historic Preservation Commission of Eatonton, want to take this time to recognize the excellent preservation efforts that have been undertaken here in our own hometown this year. The definition of what is historic and worth saving varies with the individual, but as one
writer simply put it, “historic” means “old and worth the trouble.” Let’s face it; all of us have places in Eatonton that are dear to us. Places that give meaning to our personal history and our community’s past. Places that matter.
Unfortunately, time and circumstances have begun to deplete our inventory and this trend will continue unless folks start looking at the practical values of rehabilitating old buildings and homes, looking at them as beneficial not only for a community’s culture, but also for its local economy.
Old buildings do seem to attract people.They are intrinsically more interesting than new
construction, and they give a city a sense of permanency and heritage. With their heart pine floors, old brickwork, unique wooden windows and distinctive historic style, the architecture resonates with people; and we are blessed here in Eatonton with a rich inventory of buildings and homes ready to fulfill new uses. This work may seem daunting to the beginner, but the results are amazing and personally fulfilling as you see pieces of your city’s history come back to life.
We want to congratulate the following business owners and homeowners for their preservation efforts during this past year. They are: Kevin and Sara Tomson-Hooper, Stew Aaron and Dan Lowery, Larry and Diane Folk, Bill and Kay Brewer, and Jim and Suzie Hudson. These folks recognize there is no second chance to renovate or to save a historic site once it’s gone.
Commercial: Downtown Business District
Kevin and Sara Tomson-Hooper
Artisans Village Art Gallery
118 Marion Street:
Built in 1884, this building has served downtown Eatonton in many capacities, including a dry goods store, grocery store, and restaurant. Thanks to its new owners and their attention to the building’s historic façade, which we had almost lost, it is used today to showcase the work of local artists.
Cotton Warehouse – 116-118 N. Jefferson Avenue:
Stewart Aaron and Dan Lowery In 1909, at this
location stood a wood frame office with the brick warehouses behind it. Then, in 1921, the front building was rebuilt in brick and served as the Eatonton Board of Trade; and J.R. Griffin owned the cotton warehouses. In the 1940s up until Stewart Aaron purchased it, the handsome brick building served as H. B Hearn’s cotton warehouse and office. It has since served as an antique shop and an auction hall; but in its new life, as an events venue, it hosts meetings, dinners, dances and receptions for up to 650 guests.
Larry and Diane Folk – The Wilkins-CooperJenkins House:
The oldest portion of this early home was built in 1818 by William Wilkins and it sat at the intersection of the “Avenue” and Carriage Drive. Purchased in 1880 by Judge W. Frank Jenkins, it was remodeled in 1886, and given its Victorian Gothic details. In 1909 it was moved north to its present location at the end of the avenue because the Judge felt “the Avenue was getting a bit too crowded.” The home nestles into the woods with landscaping by well-known horticulturist of the day, P.J Berckman, whose Augusta Fruitland nursery later became the Augusta National Golf Club. Lovingly restored by Larry and Dianne Folk as their home, these Washington D.C. transplants have saved one of Eatonton’s most beloved properties.
Phoenix-Hudson Properties – Bill and Kay Brewer, Jim and Susie Hudson
The Stow-McDade-Hudson House: Built around 1818 as a home for Elijah B. Stow, a local tailor, this is also one of Eatonton’s earliest home, and its
original two-room design was enlarged through the years.
This history came as a surprise even for the property owners as they began to research and peel back the layers of what they thought was a 1940s structure. Bill Brewer, husband to Kay Hudson Brewer, whose family originally bought this North Washington Avenue house in 1946, is no stranger to preservation and has done
many restoration and adaptive use projects in both Charleston and Savannah. With the restoration almost complete, Phoenix –Hudson Properties’ meticulous attention to historic detail is making this house a showpiece.
Take the time to stop by and see what these preservationists have done for our community. Tell them “thank you” for understanding that these places matter.
(Yes, Jim and I were involved, but the Brewers (above) did most of the restoration. )
We often brag about Lake Oconee’s sports activities, but the area is full of historic Southern homes which are often on tours. The downtown Eatonton structures described above are open to the public. Call us if you want to come live here, and enjoy learning about the history of the area.
Come visit and learn about the history of our small towns! Some historic homes are for sale
For more information, call Suzie (706-347-1115) or Jim Hudson (706-453-6253)
RE/MAX Lake Oconee