Local Heritage Organizations and Designations
As the site of the oldest state-chartered university in America (1785), the University’s North Campus, where the College of Environment and Design is located, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This district, along with much of the city of Athens, provides a doorstep laboratory for preservation majors at the University of Georgia — along with numerous sites, districts, and entire communities across the state. It is in the context of dealing with contemporary issues that these areas provide professional training and practical experience to the student in both rural and urban environments.
In 2009, the city of Athens was selected as one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations for its dynamic downtown, attractive architecture, cultural landscape, and strong commitment to historic preservation and revitalization.
Topics such as downtown revitalization and landscape conservation have been a part of the College of Environmental Design’s instructional emphasis since before the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act in 1966. Classes in historic preservation were first offered at the CED (then a school) in 1973, with a full two-year master’s degree program initiated in 1982.
Athens-Clarke County Historic Preservation Commission
The Athens Historic Preservation Commission aims to maintain the historic character of the city by protecting and regulating its historic districts and landmarks. The seven members are appointed by the Mayor and serve for three years with monthly meetings open to the public. https://www.athensclarkecounty.com/208/Historic-Preservation.
Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation
As a local non-profit advocate, the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation’s (ACHF) mission is to be a proactive force in developing community-wide understanding of the value of historic buildings, neighborhoods, and heritage. The Foundation manages important historic properties in town, such as the Athens Welcome Center, the Lyndon-Ware House, and Fire Hall No. 2 on Prince Avenue. They also award annual preservation awards to local individuals, businesses, and organizations who have actively contributed to preserving and maintaining local history. The MHP program has long worked with ACHF on local projects and students have become engaged members of this organization. www.achfonline.org
Athens Historical Society
The Athens Historical Society first began in 1899. However, after an active year of work, the society died out. In 1959, however, its mission was revived and a new group organized in order to preserve the history of Athens, Clark County, and the surrounding areas. AHS now promotes history in the Athens community by hosting seminars, exhibits, site visits, and social gatherings, as well as publishing their own paper, The Historian, and other books regarding the history of Athens. www.Athenshistorical.org/index.
Local and National Register Districts and Sites
Local Historic Districts and Sites
Athens is home to 44 local historic sites and twelve designated historic neighborhood districts encompassing many different architectural styles. Ranging from large mansions found within the Boulevard Historic District to the small row of shotgun houses in Rocksprings, Athens features a large variety of built historic resources. Being included in these districts prevents extensive changes to the homes and outlines requirements for new construction to maintain the historic fabric of these areas. Several neighborhoods support active associations which promote the preservation of these communities.
For more information on individual districts and outlined maps: https://athensclarkecounty.com/807/Maps.
For a map marking both historic districts and sites: https://athensclarkecounty.com/DocumentCenter/Home/View/19722.
National Register Districts and Sites
Athens supports 59 districts and sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as one National Historic Landmark. These offer a wide array of resources, including historic homes, government buildings, public buildings, cemeteries, schools, factories, and warehouses, as well as many more. Many of these are conveniently located around downtown and close to campus. For instance, the Morton Building, built in 1909-1919 by Monroe Bowers “Pink” Morton, remains a testament to the historic downtown African American business district. Since its construction, it has housed offices and businesses of black professionals, as well as the Morton Theatre, which was a prominent entertainment hub for the black community of Athens. Another interesting National Register site is the Oconee Hill Cemetery, which borders the university grounds just off East Campus Road. The design of the cemetery, rooted in the rural cemetery movement, features curved pathways, rolling hills, and impressive views and burial monuments reflect a variety of popular styles including Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, and Egyptian Revival.
A comprehensive list, including photographs and nominations, can be found: http://focus.nps.gov/nrhp/SearchResults/.
This map shows the locations of most of the sites in Athens: https://athensclarkecounty.com/DocumentCenter/Home/View/380.