Category Archives: Athens GA

Vince Dooley, 1932-2022

Vince Dooley at the 2015 Georgia Writers Hall of Fame Ceremony, Athens

News of the death of Vince Dooley came at particularly tough time, as fans were beginning preparations for the big Georgia-Florida game weekend. Coach Dooley was revered for leading the Bulldogs to their legendary National Championship season in 1980 and transforming the program into a powerhouse, and there is plenty of information to be found about that online and in print. But he was much more than a sports personality and this a personal appreciation.

When I met him, by chance, at the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame ceremony in Athens in 2015, he was talking with some of that year’s inductees about their work. His genuine interest in arts and culture came as somewhat of a surprise to me but it was easy to see that this was just a part of who he was. Though he was often the center of attention when on the UGA campus, he came to events like this to celebrate others. He had no air of self-importance about him whatsoever. I was honored to be able to meet and photograph him.

After a tour in the Marines, while coaching at his alma mater, Auburn, Dooley obtained a master’s degree in history. This all happened before he began his storied career at Georgia, in 1964. His interest in history never wavered and in 2011 he was named a Trustee of the Georgia Historical Society, serving as chairman of the board from 2016-2018. In addition to this work, and tireless fundraising for a wide variety of causes, he found the time to be a master gardener.

He will be greatly missed but he leaves an amazing legacy.

Wilkins House, 1860s, Athens

Alfred Dearing began construction on this house around 1860, and after work was interrupted by the Civil War, completed it in the late 1860s or early 1870s. It was sold in 1878 and after passing through several owners, became the home of leading Athens banker John Julian Wilkins in 1905. The Classical Revival landmark is among the grandest homes on South Milledge Avenue.

National Register of Historic Places

Queen Anne House, Athens

Bas-Relief Triptych, Athens

Central Panel

This bas-relief triptych is located on the Athens-Clarke County Information Technology office at 596 Prince Avenue. I’m unsure as to the origin of the sculptures or the original use of the building, which is of Mid-Century Modern design.

Left Panel

This sort of work was commonly found on structures built a bit earlier, during the New Deal, and later was common on Medical Arts buildings and doctor’s offices.

Right Panel

I’m sure someone will know more about this building than I do, and hope to identify it soon.

Georgia Theatre, Athens

My daytime shot doesn’t really do this Athens icon justice, but when I was hanging out with my favorite local photographer at the Globe the night before, it never crossed my mind. [I’ll see if I can find some other, older shots]. But I digress.

Located on North Lumpkin Street in the heart of downtown, the Georgia Theatre has been, along with the 40 Watt Club, one of the centers of the thriving Athens music scene for many years. “Athens music scene” means different things to different people, but the Georgia Theatre has covered all the bases, hosting local favorites, as well as nationally known acts of all genres.

Opened in the late 1930s* the Georgia Theatre has had a varied history, both as a movie and live music venue. Various owners and even name changes have been a part of the chronology. After being gutted by fire on 19 June 2009, it was rebuilt using the original walls, soon thereafter and remains a beloved landmark.

*- A comment by Joe Vogel on Cinema Treasures incorporates an interesting primary source: An article in the October 13, 1936 issue of Film Daily listed 22 theaters either recently opened or under construction in Georgia, and the Georgia Theatre at Athens was among them. It was opened by Lucas & Jenkins, who already had the Palace Theatre in Athens. The article didn’t specify which houses had already opened, so the Georgia might not have opened until early 1937.

Fuller’s Grocery Building, Circa 1906, Athens

Now home to Daily Groceries Co-Op, this was originally known as Fuller’s Grocery. The proprietors lived upstairs in the early years of the business.

Cobbham Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

The President’s House, Circa 1856, Athens

This landmark of the Greek Revival was built by John Thomas Grant, who later sold it to Benjamin Harvey Hill. In 1883 it was sold to James White, whose daughter W. F. Bradshaw inherited it upon his death. It was acquired by the Bradley Foundation in Columbus from the Bradshaw estate in the 1940s and in 1949, it was given to the University of Georgia to be used as the president’s house.

National Register of Historic Places

Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 1899, Athens

Emmanuel is the oldest Episcopal congregation in Athens, dating to 1842. When Dr. Richard Dudley Moore brought his new wife, Elizabeth Stockton, to Athens in 1835 she was concerned that there was no Episcopal church in the city. The daughter of the governor of Delaware and a granddaughter of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Elizabeth had been a member of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in her native state. When the congregation was organized by Dr. William Bacon Stevens, the name was chosen to honor her. A New England-style structure was built in 1843 but by the 1890s the congregation had outgrown it. The cornerstone was laid in 1895 and this Gothic chapel, sided in Georgia granite, was completed in 1899.

Cobbham Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Corner of Hill & Pope Streets, Athens

North Pope Street crosses Hill Street near the triangle formed by their intersection with Prince Avenue. Several historic commercial structures, as well as an early fire station, are located in this area.

Cobbham Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

T. R. R. Cobb House, Circa 1834 & 1852, Athens

The T. R. R. Cobb House is one of Georgia’s great preservation success stories. It is thought that Thomas H. McKinley built the original section as a Plantation Plain circa 1834. Georgia’s first Chief Justice, Joseph Henry Lumpkin, bought it from McKinley in 1842 and gave it as a wedding gift to his daughter Marion and son-in-law Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb in 1844. The portico and octagonal wings were added in 1852.

Cobb served as reporter of the State Supreme Court from 1849-1857, founded the Lucy Cobb Institute in 1858, and with his father-in-law and William H. Hull founded the School of Law at the University of Georgia in 1859. One of the leading advocates of slavery and secession, he was killed at Fredericksburg in 1862. Marion lived in the house until 1873. It was later a rental property, fraternity house, and boarding house. In 1962, it was purchased by the Archdiocese of Atlanta for the use of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Threatened with demolition in the 1980s, it was moved to Stone Mountain Park in 1985. It was never restored or used by the Stone Mountain Memorial Association due to budgetary constraints. Thanks to efforts of the Watson-Brown Foundation, Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation, and the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, the landmark was returned to Athens in 2005. The Watson-Brown Foundation oversaw restoration of the house, which is now a museum.

National Register of Historic Places