Castalia Avenue Historic District


The house at 554 Castalia Avenue was constructed in the mid-1930s and is an English-style brick bungalow with Tudor elements. A typical Five Points home of this era fused traditional elements with simplified forms to create a new category of modern American home. While these homes were constructed of the same quality materials as larger, more expensive homes, their size and simplicity were suited for young families and first-time home buyers. Photo credit: Rinne Allen

Sunday, October 7 at 2pm

Castalia Avenue is one of the two newest historic districts in Athens and was approved unanimously by the Athens-Clarke County Commission in July 2018. The district encompasses fourteen historic homes reflecting Tudor, Craftsman and Contemporary Ranch architectural styles that were designed for the middle class resident. The street, as originally laid out in the 1913 plans of the Georgia Development Company, would have connected to what is now Mount Vernon Way, two blocks to the north. However, while the current block was in existence by at least 1926, the first homes on Castalia weren’t built until 1935, and the plan to extend the street was never realized. Initially, building lots were only available on the west side of the street as the east side of the street was the rear yard access for the properties fronting on South Milledge Avenue. By the mid-1950s, these back yards began to be subdivided and became the eastern side of Castalia Avenue. Thus, the architectural style on the east side of Castalia reflects a slightly later period. While a small street, the stewardship of these homes has been remarkable, and they retain a high degree of architectural integrity. Several high-profile demolitions and rebuilds in the area produced homes out of scale and out of character with the rest of the area and prompted the residents of Castalia Avenue to seek historic designation to preserve their charming homes and the character of this classic street. This tour will last approximately 1.5 hours.

Tour guide:

Missy Brandt Wilson’s love of preservation began as a teenager when she volunteered at Fort King George in her hometown of Darien, Georgia. Her interests led her to earn a degree in history and a master’s in business administration, and she turned those skills into a career which has included work in museums, as program coordinator and archivist for the Girl Scout Council of Savannah, and in hospitality positions along the Georgia coast. She served on the McIntosh County Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), eventually becoming chair. During her tenure, Sapelo Island’s Hog Hammock community was designated a local historic district. Her connection to Athens began when she met her husband-to-be and fellow McIntosh County HPC member, Will Wilson, who owned a house in Five Points. The couple eventually moved to Athens, and Brandt Wilson is currently the area director of sales with the McNeill Hotel Company. She and a group of dedicated neighbors were instrumental in the designation of Castalia Avenue as a local historic district.

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