with Gwen O’Looney
Sunday, October 18, 2:00 p.m.
John Addison Cobb laid out 80 lots on his farmland in 1834 for a speculative development characterized as a “town in the woods.” In the antebellum period, wealthy Athenians built suburban villas on its expansive lots, but, by the time of the Civil War, lots became smaller, prompting many cottage-type homes. Residents of Cobbham—T.R.R. & Howell Cobb, Lucy Stanton and Ben Epps among them—figured greatly in the history of the nation and the South.
After World War II, Cobbham underwent a transition as speculators turned large homes into student apartments. Institutional intrusions on both ends of Cobbham caused the demolition of several homes and threatened others. History professor and preservation activist Phinizy Spalding was instrumental in a grassroots effort to protect Cobbham, ultimately achieved through its designation as a local historic district.
Today Cobbham enjoys its place as one of the premier historic neighborhoods in Athens, and it contains some of the finest examples of Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, and Second Empire architecture in the Classic City. This tour will last approximately two hours.
When Gwen O’Looney and her husband John moved to Cobbham, her mother cried, “You’ve bought the worst house in the worst neighborhood in Athens.” That was 1982. Today a house in Cobbham is a coveted address. After election to Athens City Council, Gwen succeeded in having Cobbham designated as Athens’ first Historic District. As the first mayor elected after unification of the city of Athens and Clarke County, and the first head of a newly-unified government to be reelected in U.S. history, Gwen continued promoting the arts as industry and historic design, e.g., the Classic Center and Lyndon House Arts Center. Today, Gwen is a Trustee of Historic Cobbham Foundation and heads Special Projects that recently expanded Cobbham’s self-guided walking tour available in print and online.
A high-style colonial revival house built around 1932.
with Lucy Rowland
Sunday, October 25, at 2:00 PM
In the heart of Five Points, the neighborhood that includes University Drive was first platted in the 1880s, well south of the University of Georgia campus, which is today a close neighbor. Its full length from South Milledge Avenue to what is now Agriculture Drive appears on the 1918 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. There were a few scattered homes, including Dr. Robert Isbell Hampton’s large Victorian (now demolished) that consumed the entire 300 block to the south and the Hart-Comer cottage “Dogwood Lodge” at 564 University Drive, that were built prior to 1918. Grand Craftsman houses first appeared on the south side of University Drive in the mid- to late-teens. In the 1920s and ’30s well-designed, primarily brick homes in a mix of architectural styles with many custom details were built. The street became so popular in the early 2000s that modest ’60s ranch houses were purchased and renovated to add a second story, with some do-overs accomplished more successfully than others. There were still a few vacant lots available, but, by 2011, some existing houses were purchased and razed to build larger homes. Despite some intrusions, University Drive remains one of Athens most distinctive and grand avenues displaying a marvelous and diverse collection of twentieth century residences. This tour will last approximately two hours.
- A 1910 postcard of Winnie Davis Hall, built in 1902 by the Daughters of the Confederacy to serve as a dormitory for the daughters of Confederate soldiers.
with Scott Messer and others
Saturday, October 31, 10:00 a.m.
In 1860, the University of Georgia constructed Rock College, a preparatory school on 30 acres of land off Prince Avenue. Between 1862 and 1891, the school served the educational needs of Georgia in a variety of roles including as a Confederate military school, as a Federal garrison, as a school for disabled young Confederate veterans, and as home to UGA’s agriculture and mechanical arts programs. In 1891, the state established the Normal School to train rural teachers in teaching standards or “norms,” and the nearby commercial area soon adopted the name “Normaltown.” The oldest surviving buildings were built during this period, including Winnie Davis Hall, erected in 1902 as a memorial to the daughter of Jefferson Davis, and the Carnegie Library, built in 1910 with a grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation. In the 1930s, the campus served as home to UGA freshmen and sophomore women to keep them isolated from the temptations of the main campus and downtown. In 1953 the site was purchased by the U.S. Navy as a permanent location for its Supply Corps School. In 2011, ownership of the campus returned to the University of Georgia, which is now home to UGA’s Health Science Campus while preserving its historic buildings. Because of its historical and educational significance, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This tour will last approximately 2 hours.
UGA Arch near the Holmes-Hunter Academic Building.
with Larry Dendy
Saturday, November 2, at 10:00 AM
Founded in 1785, the University of Georgia is the first university in America chartered by a state government and the model for our country’s great system of public higher education. UGA is well known for cutting-edge research, far-reaching public service and championship athletic teams. But one of its most visible—and valuable—assets may also be one of its most overlooked features. Scattered around North Campus are some of the oldest and most historically significant buildings, structures and spaces in Athens. These buildings and landmarks—many more than a century old—are more than just static elements of infrastructure. Architecturally diverse and aesthetically charming, they embody the university’s values, cultural heritage and educational purpose. They harbor its history and traditions, hold cherished memories for alumni and provide space for faculty to teach and create and students to learn and explore. Many also shelter surprising secrets. This tour will look behind the doors of buildings to reveal the backstory of their origin, their namesake, their varied uses and their place in UGA’s colorful past and dynamic present. Tour participants will learn answers to such questions as: Which prominent building began as two separate buildings? Where did famous Georgians Alexander Stephens and Crawford Long live as roommates? Where did the first murder on campus occur? Where is the portrait of the only UGA graduate to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court? And which building has a name associated with someone who isn’t the building’s namesake? From the iconic Arch and Chapel to the charming Founders Memorial Garden and beautiful Herty Field, this tour will illustrate what makes UGA one of America’s classic college campuses. This tour will last approximately 1 1/2 hours.
The view from a front porch on Woodlawn Avenue is nothing short of spectacular.
with John Waters
Sunday, November 8, at 2:00 p.m.
The Woodlawn Historic District is an outstanding example of an intact early 20th century neighborhood. Developed from 1915 to 1926, this residential area was subdivided into lots from one large tract of land that had previously been in the estate of Mrs. N. Adams. In February of 1873, William Rutherford surveyed the land and divided it into smaller lots. The name of the street was changed from Habersham Avenue to Woodlawn Avenue between 1913 and 1916.
The large hardwood trees in the front yards create a park-like atmosphere along the street, adding to the beauty of the Woodlawn Historic District. These early 20th century residences include Colonial Revival, Neo-classical Revival, and Tudor Revival styles, yet the majority of the district consists of Bungalow/Craftsman cottages with Classical Revival details. The early residents of Woodlawn were well represented by Athens upper middle class. Original homeowners included H.C. Anderson of the Bludwine Company; G.C. Armstrong, President of Athens Ice Company; and A.E. Davison of the Davison-Nichols Company. A particularly notable resident was Andrew J. Cobb, a Justice of the State Supreme Court and a Judge of the Superior Courts of the Western Circuit of Georgia. By 1926, one-fifth of Woodlawn inhabitants were University of Georgia professors and staff. This tour will last approximately two hours.
A beautifully-carved angel watches over the grave of Norma Marks Morris, 1874-1918
with Charlotte Thomas Marshall
Saturday, November 14, at 10:00 a.m.
The beautiful monuments among the rolling hills of the historic Oconee Hill Cemetery memorialize a cross-section of Athenians old and new. Many names, such as Lumpkin, Cobb, Church, and Hill, have long been fused with Athens’ history. The cemetery was established in 1856 and designed as a rural or natural landscape cemetery, distinguished by its park-like appearance. Originally only 17 acres in size, the cemetery has grown to almost 100 acres. There are three distinct cemeteries which appear as one: the original cemetery opened by the City of Athens, the Factory Burying Ground set aside by the nearby Athens Manufacturing Company for the use of the families of their employees, and the Congregation Children of Israel Cemetery established after the Civil War. The Bisson family, who served as sextons for 86 years, included several skilled sculptors, and they crafted many of the tombstones and memorials. The family lived in the Sexton’s House, a circa 1880 Georgian Cottage which was beautifully restored in 2007 by the Friends of Oconee Hill Cemetery. The cemetery’s tombstones are rich in detail and symbolism, and the tour will include an explanation of the meanings of the various carvings, symbols, icons and other funerary art found there. This tour will last between 2 and 3 hours. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended