Tue., October 25, 2011 2:27pm (EDT)

Georgia Trust Names 'Places In Peril'
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 2 years ago

ATLANTA, Ga.  —  
Savannah Civil Rights leader W.W. Law lived in this house, where he kept large volumes of music and printed media that form an archive of Savannah history.  Preservationists say, the weight of all that gathering and years of neglect has left the house structurally deficient.  (photo Historic Savannah Foundation)
Savannah Civil Rights leader W.W. Law lived in this house, where he kept large volumes of music and printed media that form an archive of Savannah history. Preservationists say, the weight of all that gathering and years of neglect has left the house structurally deficient. (photo Historic Savannah Foundation)
Historic preservationists say, they plan to fight to the very end to keep University of Georgia's Rutherford Hall standing.

The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation put the building on its annual "Places in Peril" list.

The list prioritizes Georgia places where preservationists plan to focus their limited resources in the coming year.

The Rutherford Hall dorm was built in the 1930's and UGA plans to demolish it to build a newer dorm.

The Trust's Mark McDonald says, the list also includes the former Savannah home of the late Civil Rights leader Wesley Wallace, known as W.W., Law.

"He was also a dedicated and very effective historic preservation leader," McDonald says. "He led the fight, beginning in the 1970's, really, to save sites that were important to the lives of African-Americans."

McDonald says, Law's home is structurally deficient and could generate jobs -- in design, construction and other fields -- if it's restored.

"If we want to get America working again, there's nothing that we can do that's any better than undertaking historic preservation and rehabilitation activities," McDonald says.

A 2010 report by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources says, the state gets more in jobs and wages out of $1 million invested in historic renovation than from the same amount invested in manufacturing, air transportation or poultry processing.

The full list is provided from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation:

Rutherford Hall, University of Georgia, Athens-Clarke County


Built in 1939, Rutherford Hall is the University of Georgia’s third oldest female dormitory and has been the residence of hundreds of young women. The Neoclassical style building was constructed with Public Works Administration (PWA) funds during President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal program. The University is planning to demolish the residence hall in order to build a new 260-bed residence hall on the same site as Rutherford.

Orange Hall, St. Marys, Camden County


Built sometime between 1829 and 1839, this Greek Revival house is located near the ferry landing that takes visitors to Cumberland Island and is an iconic building for the City of St. Marys. The building was purchased by the City in 1965 and has been used as a museum since. The City would like to continue providing funds for the building’s restoration and maintenance, but it is currently overextended financially and is postponing repairs to the building. The building is in need of exterior and interior repairs that include several structural problems. Orange Hall operates as a house museum but creates little revenue.

W.W. Law House, Savannah, Chatham County


Located in Savannah’s Cuyler-Brownsville Historic District, this house was the home of Westley Wallace Law. Law was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement for Savannah and served as president of the Savannah chapter of the NAACP for 26 years. The W.W. Law House has strong community support from different stakeholders within the Savannah area and nationwide. The house contains an enormous collection of periodicals, books and other important documentary material whose weight has damaged the structural integrity of the building. The property has been vacant for nearly a decade and is suffering from a lack of maintenance and severe structural issues. The home’s interior requires extensive rehabilitation.

Historic Railroad Buildings of Atlanta, Fulton County


The development of the railroad was a leading force in Atlanta’s growth and prosperity in the 19th and early 20th century. With the demolition of Atlanta’s Union and Terminal Stations, Georgia’s capital lost much of its railroad legacy. Many railroad structures in Atlanta are vacant and have no current plans for reuse. Among the remnants of Atlanta’s railroad legacy are Peachtree Station on Peachtree Street and the Norfolk Southern complex on Spring Street. Peachtree Station, now known as Brookwood Station, was designed by Neel Reid and built in 1917. It is leased to AMTRAK. The Norfolk Southern complex includes two 1912 buildings as well as the largest vacant swath of undeveloped land in Atlanta, known as “the gulch.” Neglect and abandonment threatens many of these resources. AMTRAK is planning to move out of Peachtree Station.

Historic Liberty Street, Milledgeville, Baldwin County


As part of the Milledgeville National Register Historic District, Liberty Street contains some of the best preserved and unique examples of ante- and post-bellum architecture within the city. Notable examples include the Homestead and Orme-Sallie House, constructed with elements of the Federal and Greek Revival styles. These large private residences are noteworthy for their quality of detail, design, and historic character. Many locals are concerned that these single family homes will be converted into student housing, losing their historic fabric and perhaps falling into disrepair. Currently there are several homes for sale on Liberty Street. Existing city ordinances are designed to dissuade the conversion to multi-family homes, but residents of Liberty Street believe that the legislation contains too many loopholes.

Randolph County Courthouse, Cuthbert


Built in the 1880’s, this masonry courthouse located on the town square of Cuthbert was built in the Dutch Romanesque style, which is unusual for Georgia. With the construction of a new judicial center for Randolph County, the functions of the courthouse were relocated. The county is working with the architectural firm of Lord, Aeck & Sargent to redevelop the building as offices for many municipal functions including a welcome center, chamber of commerce, soil conservation lab and event space. The county is performing the restoration in phases, using prison labor. The courtroom benches have been restored as part of a rehabilitation program that trains prisoners to refinish furniture. Randolph County Courthouse has fallen into disrepair. Large amounts of timber framing in the building need repair due to extensive termite damage.

Mt. Zion Church, Sparta, Hancock County


Located in Hancock County, approximately seven miles north of the town of Sparta, this 1813 Greek Revival style building is all that remains of the once-thriving community of Mt. Zion. The former Presbyterian Church is owned by the Sparta-Hancock County Historical Society, which would like to rent it to create revenue for future maintenance of the building. Mt. Zion Church needs exterior and interior repairs. Its remote location makes it particularly susceptible to vandalism. The building has neither restroom facilities nor electricity.

Crown Mill Store, Dalton, Whitfield County


Built in the late 19th century, this masonry building was the company store for Crown Cotton Mills in Dalton. Although there were earlier fabric mills in the area, Crown Mill was the leading producer of the muslin cloth that was vital to the area’s chenille cloth industry. This building served as the general store for the employees and residents of the surrounding mill village. The Crown Mill Store is vacant and in need of restoration. The City of Dalton owns the building and is working to redevelop the Crown Mill area into an art and culture overlay district. With support from the City, the Whitfield-Murray Historical Society plans to restore and operate the building as a local history museum.

Secondary Industrial High School, Columbus, Muscogee County


Centrally located in the Waverly Terrace community of Columbus, this Beaux Arts masonry school building was constructed in 1906. It was the first school in the nation to combine vocational and academic courses in a public school system. The Muscogee County Board of Education has voted to use a special option local sales tax to redevelop the building to house alternative education programs. Secondary Industrial School’s rehabilitation could have a catalytic effect on the surrounding community and its revitalization. Redevelopment plans have been halted as funds for the rehabilitation of the building may not be available for five to ten years, leaving the building vacant and susceptible to further decay.

Chattahoochee Park Pavilion, Gainesville, Hall County


Built at the turn of the 20th century, Chattahoochee Park Pavilion was used as an entertainment venue in an amusement park called Chattahoochee Park, built on the banks of what was then Lake Warner. Georgia Power purchased the facility in 1923 and operated it as an employee retreat until 1955. When Lake Lanier was completed in 1958, most of the buildings of Chattahoochee Park were covered by water, leaving behind a sole pavilion building. This wood frame structure, which features an intricate roof trussing system, is owned by the American Legion Post 7 of Gainesville. The pavilion has a large amount of rotting timbers that are in need of repair and replacing.