This historic Mauk School was built by the Works Progress Administration in 1936 to replace a smaller schoolhouse that had served the the community for a number of years. The architect is unknown, but the school is almost identical to “Floor Plan No. 5 – Five Teacher Community School” from the Rosenwald Fund. The school appears to be well-maintained today.
Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Cornelia Kiwanis Club with Tudor influences, the Cornelia Community House is one of the largest such gathering places I’ve encountered in Georgia. David S. Cuttino, Jr., was the architect. It is the centerpiece of a 33-acre public park and was formally dedicated in May 1937.
It’s unusual in that the rear of the building holds much more architectural interest than the front.
Thousands of auditoriums, community houses, and gymnasiums, among myriad other public-use spaces, were constructed as projects of the New Deal during the Great Depression. Many survive and remain in use today and have often been the center of entertainment in communities which otherwise have few such resources. The Warrenton site was a project of the Federal Emergency Administration to replace an earlier structure that burned. Glen Miller was one of numerous prominent Big Band-era personalities who performed here. The gymnasium hosted the high school basketball teams until a new school was built in 1981. The Augusta firm of Merry & Parsons was responsible for the design. It is presently known as the Warren County Cultural Center.
Mike Baker noted, via our Facebook page, that it may have been known for a time as the Baker Memorial Gymnasium, as well, stating that a granite marker bearing that inscription is located in a yard nearby.
Two courthouses in Watkinsville served as the government center of Clarke County. The first was built in 1806 and the second in 1849. When Oconee County was created in 1875, a new courthouse was built; it was replaced by the present structure in 1939, a project of the WPA.
Built in the Georgian Revival style popular with public schoolhouses in the 1930s, the Hartwell Elementary School, as it’s now known, is still in use. It originally served grades 1-11. Atlanta architects Sidney S. Daniell and Russell Lee Beutell were responsible for the design. A WPA gymnasium (not pictured) was constructed in 1939.
Archaeologists have determined that human habitation at this Mississippian site, formerly known as the Ocmulgee Old Fields and now the Ocmulgee National Monument, dates back at least 17,000 years.
Interior of Earth Lodge, with Eagle Platform
The Earth Lodge was uncovered by Dr. A. R. Kelley in 1934. It was reconstructed between 1933 and 1938. It served as a Mississippian Council House. The original clay floor, with the raised eagle platform, was exposed by employees of the Civil Works Administration and Work Projects Administration under the direction of James A. Ford. The Mississippians had burned the lodge, perhaps as an act of ritual cleansing or something entirely different. The charred remains of the construction, dated to 1015 AD, were arrayed in a spoke pattern and protected the original floor. The roof was not originally covered with sod, but it has been employed today to preserved the site.
Rear View of Earth Lodge
One should keep in mind that during the Mississippian Period, these mounds were not covered in grass but rather in the natural clay of the landscape.
Great Temple Mound
This is Early Mississippian flat-topped temple mound, 300 feet wide by 270 feet long by 40 feet high, is one of several in widely scattered locations across Georgia. It dates to circa 900-1100 AD. It was the principal religious structure at the Ocmulgee site till at least 1200 AD. A lesser mound (not pictured) stands adjacent to this one.
Excavations on this site uncovered parallel rows of charred corn cobs dating to circa 900AD-1200AD, indicating an early agricultural use. At some point, the field was transformed into a mound. The mound is 90 feet wide by 160 feet long by 6 feet high.
These trenches can be found in several locations around Ocmulgee National Monument. These, near the Cornfield Mound, are 18 feet wide by 7 feet deep. It is unclear as to whether they were defensive in nature or if they were borrow pits for the mounds.
Ocmulgee National Monument Visitors Center
Constructed between 1938-1951, the Streamline Moderne visitors center is a landmark in its own right. It houses a wonderful collection of artifacts collected on the site.