Athens Regional Community Park
with Mary Stakes
Sunday, September 14, at 1:30 PM
Where would we be without a little bit of green space in our lives? In this hectic, wired world, a green space or park is a place where we can take a deep breath, relax in the sun, enjoy the breeze, and perhaps share the experience with a friend. Athens is home to a wide variety of small neighborhood parks that are easily accessible and open to the community.
Join this tour to hear the history and stories of five delightful and very different neighborhood parks—how they came into being, how they developed and are used, and how partnerships maintain them. Parks to visit include the Wilcox Triangle, Hodgson-Dodd, Athens Regional Community Park, Boulevard Woods, and Piedmont-Cobbham Park. Andrew Saunders, the Athens-Clarke County environmental coordinator, will introduce the tour, and a bus will take participants from park to park. A neighborhood representative will be at each park to tell its story. Wear comfortable walking shoes. This tour will last approximately 2 1/2 hours.
A high-style colonial revival house built around 1932.
with Lucy Rowland
Sunday, October 12, 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.
Grave markers in the Old Athens Cemetery.
with Janine Duncan
Saturday, October 18, at 11:00 AM
This tour will begin in the Old Athens Cemetery and conclude in the Circle Gallery, opened specially for tour participants. Both venues are located on Jackson Street on the university campus. The Old Athens Cemetery was established in 1810. It reached capacity as early as the 1840s and was officially closed in 1856. As memories of those buried there faded, so did concern for its condition, and the cemetery fell victim to neglect and vandalism. Rescued in the early 1980s by The Old Athens Cemetery Foundation, Inc., the group obtained a deed from the city of Athens and managed the site between 1983 and 2004. The foundation deeded the cemetery back to the University System of Georgia in 2004, and it has been managed by the UGA Grounds Department since that date. The preservation and stabilization of Old Athens began in January 2006 and continues to the present.
After touring the cemetery, tour-goers will walk the short distance to the Circle Gallery at UGA’s College of Environment and Design, 285 S. Jackson Street, where they will enjoy the exhibit: “Landscapes of the Hereafter: Three Historic Cemeteries in Athens, GA.” (The exhibit will be open October 9 through November 7.) The exhibit features photographs and historical information about Old Athens Cemetery, Oconee Hill Cemetery, and Gospel Pilgrim Cemetery, all of which are on the National Register of Historic Places and on the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation 2014 Heritage Walk schedule. Janine Duncan is curating the show.
The gravestone for Samuel F. Harris, whose unofficial studies at the University of Georgia at the turn of the century have inspired efforts to award him a posthumous degree.
with Al Hester
Saturday, October 25, at 10:00 AM
The African American Gospel Pilgrim Cemetery was founded in 1882 to establish a beautiful and dignified final resting place for Athens’ black residents. The Gospel Pilgrim Society, a social and charitable burial insurance organization, set up the cemetery in East Athens. Gospel Pilgrim Cemetery contains an estimated 3,500 graves on nine beautiful, wooded acres. Gospel Pilgrim is the resting place for many of Athens black leaders. Madison Davis, one of Clarke County’s two African Americans elected to the Georgia Legislature in 1868 during Reconstruction is buried there. Other well-known African Americans at Gospel Pilgrim include Professor Samuel Harris, a leading educator; William Pledger, black editor and orator; and Pope Ray, a homeless African American, whose plot and marker were donated by Athens residents, white and black.
The cemetery was re-dedicated in October 2008 and is now on the National Register of Historic Places and has also been awarded a Georgia Historical Marker. Presently, it is in need of a major rehabilitation to clear out-of-control vegetation and reestablish its well-planned avenues. This tour will last approximately one hour.
Note: The Circle Gallery at UGA’s College of Environment and Design, 285 S. Jackson Street, presents: “Landscapes of the Hereafter: Three Historic Cemeteries in Athens, GA,” October 9 through November 7. The exhibit features photographs and historical information about Old Athens Cemetery, Oconee Hill Cemetery, and Gospel Pilgrim Cemetery, all of which are on the National Register of Historic Places and are on the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation 2014 Heritage Walk Schedule. Janine Duncan is curating the show.
A beautifully-carved angel watches over the grave of Norma Marks Morris, 1874-1918
with Charlotte Thomas Marshall
Saturday, November 8, at 10:00 AM
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.
Note: The Circle Gallery at UGA’s College of Environment and Design, 285 S. Jackson Street, presents: “Landscapes of the Hereafter: Three Historic Cemeteries in Athens, Georgia,” October 9 through November 7. The exhibit features photographs and historical information about Old Athens Cemetery, Oconee Hill Cemetery, and Gospel Pilgrim Cemetery, all of which are on the National Register of Historic Places and on the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation 2014 Heritage Walk Schedule. Janine Duncan is curating the show.
The 1859 Meeker-Pope-Barrow House features one of only two antebellum gardens remaining in Athens.
with Steven A. Brown and Theresa M. Flynn
Sunday, November 16, at 2:00 PM
Wandering from Milledge Avenue to the Tree That Owns Itself, the gracious homes and gardens of Dearing Street seem to form the quintessential old Southern neighborhood that never changes through the decades. This walk will look below the calm surface, in conjunction with the forthcoming book The Tangible Past in Athens, Georgia, to consider the moves, removals, and remodeling that have shaped and reshaped the district – as well as celebrating the relatively constant.
The land was originally part of the 633-acre tract that John Milledge purchased and donated for the University of Georgia, portions of which were sold over the years to raise money for the college. Dearing Street was laid out in the 1830s into four-acre squares and sold over a 50-year period. Most of the homes were built between the 1820s and 1910 in a rich range of architectural styles including Folk Victorian, Colonial Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, Neoclassical and vernacular cottages. A list of the street’s former residents—among them the Deuprees, Barrows, Erwins, Cobbs, Rutherfords, Childs, and Harrises—reads like a who’s who of Athens. Subsequent owners subdivided their lots and later-period structures filled out the street. One of the early residents was Malthus A. Ward, a physician and botanist who created an 8-acre botanical garden for the university—the first in the South—which extended from his home eastward to Tanyard Branch. The Dearing Street Local Historic District is home to two charming local favorites, Finley Street, which is the last remaining street to feature Belgian Block paving, and The Tree That Owns Itself. Dearing Street was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. This tour will last approximately 2 hours, though hardy walkers are welcome to continue to a view into the lost quarry of Athens and other wonders beyond Dearing Street.