The oldest active welcome center in the nation was commissioned in 1960, built in 1961, and opened in 1962. The Space Age architecture was meant to be Georgia’s way of announcing to travelers that it was embracing the modern world.
Governor S. Ernest Vandiver was convinced that tourism was destined to become one of Georgia’s biggest industries and hired Statesboro architect Edwin C. Eckles to create something a bit out of the ordinary. Located just across the Savannah River from the South Carolina state line on busy U. S. Highway 301, the Welcome Center was well-positioned to carry out this mission in the era before interstate highways. Women were hired as “hostesses” to welcome weary travelers and to suggest they visit landmarks throughout the state.
Changing travel patterns mean fewer people come through these days, but hopefully, this relic of the space age will be around for a long time to come.
National Register of Historic Places