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Monday, January 16, 2012 - 4:30am

Last Original Welcome Center Now 'Historic'

The Georgia Welcome Center located off U.S. Highway 301 in Screven County is one of a kind — the last of the state's original welcome centers from the 1960s to remain open.

Now the 50-year-old building has been added the National Register of Historic Places, the federal government's list of the nation's most historically significant buildings and locations.

The state's Historic Preservation Division said it was among the original welcome centers built in Georgia under Gov. Ernest Vandiver, who saw promoting tourism as an important piece of growing Georgia's economy. They offered travelers picnic tables, maps and staff to tell them about nearby tourist attractions.

The Screven County center was in a key location at the time, on a highway linking Delaware to Florida. It's now paralleled by Interstate 95.