Downtown Athens National Register District


1910 postcard of Clayton Street, looking west from Jackson Street. All of these buildings still exist, although some have been greatly altered. The brick building on the far right was the Davison-Nicholson dry goods store. Its façade was modernized in the 1960s during its time as Foster’s Jewelers. The building with the long façade and turret was originally a Victorian-era hotel, and the turret was removed sometime before 1920. The multi-story Southern Mutual Building, built in 1908, sits at the other end of the block.

Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 2:00pm

Downtown Athens began as a small settlement on a hill above Cedar Shoals, the site of a spring which still exists today. The city was incorporated in 1806, five years after the University of Georgia opened for classes, and Athens soon became the intellectual center of Georgia. The University drew wealthy and prominent families who brought with them both business acumen and resources. Downtown was soon the center of commerce and the site of many of Athens’ earliest magnificent homes, only a handful of which survive today. Downtown in the early to mid-1900s was the commercial hub of Athens with streetcars bringing in shoppers and employees from the “suburbs” of Cobbham, Five Points and Boulevard. Urban renewal, suburban exodus, the growth of the University and the development of Athens’ first mall have all wrought their changes on downtown, yet it remains the thriving heart and soul of Athens. Tourgoers will hear a unique perspective from David Lynn, who appreciates its past but who also has ideas for the future of downtown. This tour will last approximately 2 hours.

 

 

Tour guide:

David Lynn is the director of planning and outreach for the Athens Downtown Development Authority. His career has included work in both the public and private sector to include city planning, geographic information systems, commercial real estate and law enforcement. Lynn served as an Athens-Clarke County commissioner representing the fifth district from 2002 to 2010, during which time he shepherded a consensus-based process to achieve a local historic district for downtown Athens. He also spearheaded the transformation of the Washington Street deck from single-use parking structure to a multi-use retail and office facility. His career and community involvement has provided him with a comprehensive knowledge on issues relating to downtown business and residents as well as outlying neighborhoods. Lynn holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Georgia, where he also earned a master’s degree in public administration with course work focused on urban planning, historic preservation, and local government administration.

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