Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Georgia Theatre Update

As many of you will recall, the Georgia Theatre, Athens' beloved live music venue, suffered a devastating fire in June 2009. From the earliest days following the fire, it was made clear that the owners' intentions were to preserve what could be saved of the building and fully rehabilitate the historic theater. Through its Preservation Partners program, The Georgia Trust consulted with the theater's owners and established the Georgia Theatre Rehabilitation Fund. Organizations, businesses, groups and individuals from all over the country have donated money to the fund to be used solely for the rehabilitation of the Georgia Theatre. These generous donations have provided nearly $240,000 in support of the theater's rehabilitation, and have directly contributed to the theater's ability to celebrate its grand re-opening this summer!

Here's an update from the theater's owner, Wil Greene:

It's not too late to donate! Click HERE for more information about the Georgia Theatre and how YOU can make a tax deductible charitable donation to the Georgia Theatre Rehabilitation Fund!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Member Spotlight

In this Member Spotlight, The Trust would like to highlight Joe and Evelyn Adams, of Macon. Joe, a prominent artist, serves on the Hay House Board of Trustees. Recently Joe and Evelyn opened their lovely 1854 cottage home as a ramble site for the 2011 Spring Ramble in Macon. The trust is proud to feature the Adams, and their work in historic preservation.

TGT: How did you first become involved with the Hay House?

J&E: Evelyn and I first became involved with Hay House when we came up with the idea for the first Stanislaus/ Hay House Garden tour and ask Hay House to join us. My first memory of Hay House is from childhood. I grew up in the neighborhood and went to Whittle School at the bottom of the hill. I remember going to Hay House to "Tricker treat". I think Chester answered the door.

TGT: What do you find compelling about the mission of the Trust?

J&E: Evelyn and I love the Rambles. We have met many nice people through the Trust and love seeing the homes that are opened through the Trust. The trust does a great job in educating the public on the importance of preservation.

TGT: What committees or organizations do you serve on (at the Hay House or other organizations)?

J&E: I have just become a trustee and look forward to serving on Christmas at Hay House. I helped last year with the decorations. I am also interested in the ongoing preservation and restoration efforts at Hay House.

TGT: Please list any recent awards.

J&E: Evelyn and I are involved with Historic Macon Foundation and Evelyn is currently a board member. I was recently a trustee. We recently received a preservation award for our home on College Street that was recently on the Spring Macon Ramble. We have had several gardens on Garden tours.

TGT: Are you a native of Georgia?

J&E: Evelyn and I are Macon Natives.

TGT: Hobbies?

J&E: Evelyn and I love to garden and I paint. We also collect antiques and some people accuse us of collecting houses.

TGT: Preservation Tip: A tip in which anyone can play a role (large or small) in historic preservation.

J&E: Seek help of preservation experts BEFORE undertaking a preservation/restoration project.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

2010 Elizabeth Lyon Fellowship Project Update

This will be my final posting as part of the Elizabeth Lion Fellowship. I wish to provide some final thoughts and reflections on the Fellowship.


When I began researching how textile mill’s changed in Georgia, I quickly realized I had to ground myself in the entire history of Georgia’s textile industry. Although I knew a fair amount about the place of the textile industry in Georgia, and how the industry’s rise coincided with the state’s gradual movement away from agriculture, to a manufacturing society, I was; however, unaware of the sheer importance of the textile industry. The rise of the textile industry in Georgia and the broader South, between the 1880s and the mid-1920s, dramatically transformed the areas were mills decided to locate. Although the paternalism of most mill companies dissipated almost half-a-century ago, and many of the mills are no longer in operation, their effect on the society remains apparent.

Although there has been a significant amount written about the rise of the textile industry, there is far less known about the textile industry and textile mills after World War II. When I began digging into this time period I expected that the decrease in Georgia’s textile industry, in terms of employment and operating mills, would surely begin shortly after World War II. In reality I found that the textile industry in Georgia continued to grow after World War II, although slowly as part of the overall manufacturing economy, until the 1970s. Georgia is unique, in that textile employment generally hovered around 25-30 percent of total manufacturing employment until the mid-1970s whereas other states Southern states saw more precipitous decline, although today, admittedly, Georgia’s industry is a shadow of its former size. In states like North Carolina and South Carolina, where textile employment was as high as 60 percent, these states witnessed an almost constant precipitous decline as early as the early 1960s. However in this decline, there was a great deal of change and adaptation by the mills. Mills invested heavily in new equipment, new buildings, dismantled much of their corporate paternalism, and constantly struggled to cut costs and introduce new products. These aspects of the post-War textile industry were some of the key findings of my work.

I hope my work has assisted in uncovering some of the reasons that mills in Georgia underwent widespread changes. Once additions are understood and quantified, then preservation issues around these additions can be considered in context. Many of these additions are currently outside of the 50 year benchmark, but some are not, and are already historic based simply on their age. Many additions or mills that are not currently within the 50 year benchmark will very shortly fall within this key timeframe. The more mills and their respective additions are understood, in theory, the less issues may arise with the preservation of mills. When mills are being preserved it is essential to look at the entire complex, not just the original mill, as all additions on a mill display something about the changes in the textile industry and changes in mill construction, and are thus historic and important when viewed in the appropriate historic context.


I would be remiss if I did not thank the many people who helped me with this project. First I would like to thank the numerous individuals who allowed me to survey their properties, and numerous others who tried to put me in contact with the appropriate parties. I would like to thank both the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation and the Georgia Historic Preservation Division, and the numerous individuals within these organizations who offered assistance and comments on my work. Additionally I wish to thank The Center for Public History at the University of West Georgia, and my professors who assisted me in greatly in completing this project. I would also like to thank Carol Griffith who introduced me to various preservation networks in Georgia and commented on my work. Finally I would like to thank Dr. Elizabeth Lyons, for allowing me do to this project, and hope that I have contributed to the understanding of Georgia’s textile mills and how they changed following World War II.

Steven Eubanks is a graduate student at West Georgia University and recipient of the 2010 Elizabeth Lyon Fellowship. The Elizabeth Lyon Fellowship provides financial assistance for projects that acquaint undergraduate and graduate students, and young professionals with preservation programs and practices.