Friday, November 6, 2009

2010 Places in Peril Coverage - Dorchester Academy

Posted: November 5, 2009 - 7:07am - By Wayne Hodgin - Savannah Morning News
The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation has placed Dorchester Academy in Liberty County on its list of most endangered places in the state.
The site in Midway, which has in the past served as a school for newly freed slaves and a haven for Civil Rights-era leaders, including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., is in various states of deterioration.
The school, founded in 1871, earlier this year was listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
Mark McDonald, president and CEO of the Georgia Trust, said the a list exists to provide awareness for historical sites.
"When the Georgia Trust puts a site on its list, it's not a 'Hall of Shame' moniker," he said. "It serves as a tool of awareness and encourages communities to step up and preserve the site by finding financial resources and other partnerships to save it from peril."
The school joins nine other sites across the state on the 2010 Places in Peril list, which also includes Central State Hospital in Milledgeville, Paradise Gardens in Summerville, Old Dodge County Jail in Eastman and the Ritz Theatre in Thomaston.
This is the fifth year the Georgia Trust has issued its Places in Peril list.
In previous years, the list has included local sites, including the Cockspur Island Lighthouse, Battery Backus on Tybee Island and the John Berrien House in Savannah.
There were 24 nominations this year, McDonald said.
"Before we place a site on our list, we require a local sponsoring group that is not only willing to put up the nomination but also is willing to put forth the effort to help us ensure the building and/or site is preserved for history's sake," he said.
More than a dozen buildings stood on the Dorchester Academy site at one time, but now the only building that remains is the boys dormitory, a brick Greek Revival structure built in 1934.
The Liberty County group that nominated the site is the Dorchester Improvement Association, whose members have provided care for the building over the decades. But its aging membership, coupled with limited resources, have made it impossible to make necessary impairs.
The financial burden of renovating the building, of which the roof is the major source of damage, will cost upwards of $100,000 just to stabilize the structure. The 2009 designees were awarded almost $50,000 in matching grant money.
"There are significant financial hurdles we and the Dorchester group will have to clear to fully restore the building," McDonald said. "But with a blend of grants and private donations, which will be spurned by its inclusion on these lists of most endangered places in Georgia and the nation, we can hopefully raise the funds to save the building and preserve its historical status."
Since 2006, the Georgia Trust has identified 50 threatened sites across the state with its annual Places in Peril list. The designation raises awareness and rallies resources to save the sites. This year's top 10 list includes:
-- Central State Hospital in Milledgeville
-- Paradise Gardens in Summerville
-- Morris Brown College in Atlanta
-- Canton Grammar School in Cherokee County
-- Leake archaeological site in Cartersville
-- Dorchester Academy in Midway
-- Old Dodge County Jail in Eastman
-- Ritz Theatre in Thomaston
-- Herndon Plaza in Atlanta
-- Capricorn Recording Studio in Macon
For more information on these sites, go to

No comments:

Post a Comment