The community developed as a cross-rail community after the Georgia Railroad established a spur line from Union Point to Athens in 1841. In the early 1850s, Diedrich Heinrich Winter moved his family from Bremerhaven, Germany, to the area and became the first railroad section foreman. As a result the town was named “Winter’s Station.” Later, his cousin John Winter and his family moved to the area from Hanover, Germany. John Winter was a local businessman and served as the Oglethorpe postmaster for several years. By 1866, the town was known as Winterville and the station was sometimes called the “Six-Mile Station,” because it was located six miles from Athens. By the 1880s, farmers in Clarke and Oglethorpe counties relied on Winterville as a place to transport their agricultural goods. In the last three decades of the 1800s, the established land-owning families in Winterville subdivided and sold portions of large tracts to newcomers. The practice of subdivision not only accommodated new residents, but also marked a transition from a strictly agricultural community to a more residential community. There is a wide variety of architectural styles among the houses in Winterville, ranging from Colonial Revival to Queen-Anne and Craftsman. Hal O. Johnson was a local builder and constructed several Queen Anne and Folk-Victorian houses. Roads were laid out on both sides of the rail line and new development began, centered around the depot. The city of Winterville was incorporated on August 15, 1904, and in 1906 the town chose to be included in Clarke County instead of Oglethorpe county. W.R. Coile served as Winterville’s first mayor and John Pittard as its clerk. The irregular boundary of the historic district, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, reflects the town’s orientation to the railroad and its historic rural character.
Winterville Depot, 104 Marigold Lane
Built in the late 1800s, the Winterville Railroad Depot once served the Georgia Railroad. Renovated in 1982 and 2003, it is now used as a community center. The railroad helped lead to the creation of Winterville, as it attracted people to settle near the depot. The depot was called Winter’s Station after Heinrich Winter, a member of the Winter family from which the town is also named. The railroad was abandoned and removed in the 1980s. The removed line is in the process of being made into a 39-mile walking trail known as the Firefly Trail (more here). The depot is painted a marigold color to signify the annual marigold festival held in the town since 1971. The marigold is also the official flower of Winterville.
Pittard Bank, 100 S Church Street
Designed in 1912 by John William Barnett, the bank served the Winterville community like many small rural banks in Georgia by assisting farmers by providing short- and long-term credit to support agricultural operations at low interest rates. The classical building is built of brick with decorative keystones and stepped parapet. It sits on the town square opposite the depot. The Pittard Bank closed as a financial institution c. 1930 as a result of the agricultural collapse of the 1920s and the beginning of the Great Depression. Later, the building served as a U.S. Post Office. Currently, the bank is used as a private residence.
115 Smokey Road
Most historic properties in Winterville are vernacular buildings based on regional building traditions. Typical house types and styles include Georgia, cottage, and bungalow. This unique home includes a columned porch with vernacular capitals, and an entrance door that is emphasized by side windows on either side. This home also features a mansard roof, which is a rarity in Winterville and Athens. The mansard roof is named for Jules HArdouin-Mansart, a French architect who was known for often using this style of roof in Baroque architecture. It was also used by other architects on later Victorian buildings usch as on this folk Victorian home. The mansard roof became popular because it allows for an additional half or full story depending on the height of the roof. Here, the second story windows extend into the mansard roof and feature gables that give them a dormer appearance.
Winterville High School
The historic Winterville School Building was built in 1918. IT is a two story four-squared building with a hipped roof and stuccoed exterior. The interior has four classrooms separated by a central hall on each floor. The rooms have plaster walls, wainscoting, tongue and groove ceilings, and wood floors. In 1935 a two-story brick ell addition was added to create more classroom space for the growing Winterville population. The last class graduated from the building in 1956. The building was then used for storage until it was abandoned about 15 years ago. The school is part of an educational complex located together along both sides of Winter Street. In 1920 the building hosted the first teacher training program for Vocational Agriculture and Home Economics in partnerships with the University of Georgia. In recent years the citizens of Winterville have made it their mission to save the building and it has been restored and adapted for new use along with the accompanying auditorium building. In 2016 the building was awarded ACHF’s Preservation award for Outstanding Rehabilitation. Today the building is used as the Winterville Center for Community and Culture. Be sure to come out and join the Fun and Friends event April 8, 2017, 4-6 pm to see this wonderful building!
Carter-Coile Country Doctor’s Museum, 111 Marigold Lane
This one-room, one-story, front-gabled building served as medical offices for over 60 years. Two physicians provided medical care to residents of Winterville. Dr. Warren D. Carter graduated from Atlanta Medical College in 1874 and practiced medicine in Winterville until his death in 1908. Dr. Frank Coile used the same building for his practice from 1920 to 1950. Today the building serves as the Carter-Coile Country Doctor’s Museum, dedicated to preserving and celebrating health care in rural America. In 2016, ACHF awarded this museum with their Preservation award for Outstanding Rehabilitation.
Winterville United Methodist Church, 101 Parkview Road
This is a Greek Revival building of brick construction with an expansive portico supported by four columns in antis. It has two recessed entrances and a domed cupola on the roof. The church is located in the center of historic Winterville near the bank and the depot. The original church was erected in 1867 on land that was donated by church member Sarah Pittard in 1859. It soon became too small for the congregation and in 1887 the current building was erected at a cost of $1800. The current sanctuary structure was completed in 1921. In 1963 an education annex was constructed to the south side of the building to accommodate the growing congregation. The interior of the church has undergone several renovations.