Tag Archives: National Historic Landmarks

Faith Chapel, 1904, Jekyll Island

A non-denominational sanctuary built for the Jekyll Island Club by architect Howard Constable, Faith Chapel is one of the best-known structures in the National Historic Landmark District. It features a window signed and personally installed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and another stained glass panel behind the pulpit depicting the Adoration of the Christ Child designed by Maitland Armstrong and his daughter Helen. The chapel is well-maintained today and is often used for weddings and open for tours at times.

The gargoyles are a copy of those found at Notre Dame de Paris.

Jekyll Island Historic District, National Register of Historic Places + National Historic Landmark

Villa Ospo, 1927, Jekyll Island

Villa Ospo was one of the last structures built in the Jekyll Island Club era. It took its name from the Guale word for either the island, or a village thereon, and has Spanish Eclectic and Italian Renaissance elements.

It was built by architect John Russell Pope* for Walter Jennings (14 September 1858-9 January 1933). Jennings was a member of Skull and Bones at Yale, a Columbia Law School classmate of Theodore Roosevelt, and director of Standard Oil of New Jersey. He was a student of history, as well, and helped successfully lobby the Georgia legislature to correct the long-used spelling ‘Jekyl’ to ‘Jekyll’, as it should have been all along since Oglethorpe named the island for Sir Joseph Jekyll.

*-Notably, Pope was also the architect of the Jefferson Memorial and the National Gallery of Art].

Jennings died here on 9 January 1933. He and his wife were injured in an automobile accident on Oglethorpe Road on 4 January and though a heart attack was listed as his cause of death, it’s possible this was brought on from injuries sustained in the accident.

Jekyll Island Historic District, National Register of Historic Places + National Historic Landmark

Crane Cottage, 1917, Jekyll Island

This Renaissance Revival Mediterranean-influenced “cottage” was built in 1917 for plumbing magnate Richard Teller Crane, Jr., (7 November 1873-7 November 1931). David Adler and Henry C. Dangler were the architects. Dangler died in 1917 and the house wasn’t completed and occupied until early 1919.

It was the largest and most elaborate home ever built on Jekyll Island.

It contained 30 rooms and 17 bathrooms , the pinnacle of modernity at the time.

The grounds and sunken garden are among the most beautifully landscaped public areas on the Georgia coast.

Jekyll Island Historic District, National Register of Historic Places + National Historic Landmark

Moss Cottage, 1896, Jekyll Island

One of the most beloved homes in the National Historic Landmark District, Moss Cottage was built for William Struthers, Jr., (15 June 1848-12 December 1911) in 1896. Though the architect is unknown, it’s possible that Struthers himself was involved in the design.

Struthers and his brother, John, owned one of the largest marble firms in the country. It was established by their architect grandfather, John Struthers, who worked with William Strickland on the iconic Second Bank of the United States in Philadelphia.

It was later occupied by George Henry Macy, Kate Carter Macy, and William Kingsland Macy.

Jekyll Island Historic District, National Register of Historic Places + National Historic Landmark

Note: This replaces a post originally published on 5 March 2012.

Augusta Canal Headgates, 1840s & 1870s, Columbia County

Augusta Canal gatehouse, headgates, and locks.

Henry Harford Cumming envisioned Augusta as the “Lowell of the South” [in reference to the textile hub in Massachusetts] and was the driving force behind the Augusta Canal. The first nine-mile section was completed between 1845-1846, and within a couple of years three mills had already been risen along the waterway. Built near the end of the Canal Era [roughly 1800-1850], it was amazingly successful, as most Southern canals never were, and is the only intact industrial canal still in use in the South today. It was lengthened and enlarged between 1872-1877. It was after this expansion that most of the mills associated with Augusta’s industrial heritage were constructed. These included the Enterprise, Blanche, Sibley, and King Mills. I believe the present gatehouse dates to the expansion period in the 1870s.

Diversion Dam and Savannah River Rapids

A V-shaped dam diverts the Savannah River at the headgates and below it are what is now known as the Savannah Rapids. It is a popular recreation area and a very picturesque location.

Augusta Canal just below the headgates

Along the walkway at the gatehouse you’ll notice hundreds, if not thousands, of modern padlocks. These have been left behind by visitors over the years, as a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the place. I’m not sure when the tradition started, but it has definitely caught on.

Augusta Canal Industrial District, National Register of Historic Places + National Historic Landmark + Augusta Canal National Heritage Area

Sibley Mill, 1880, Augusta

The Sibley Manufacturing Company was chartered in 1880 and construction of the Sibley Mill began on the site of the old Confederate Powder Works. Jones S. Davis, who also designed the Enterprise Mill, created an extraordinary factory, 528 feet long with three floors containing 24,000 spindles. A fourth floor was added by 1882 and 30 houses for workers were also built. The Neo-Gothic architecture recalled the appearance of the Confederate Powder Works and half a million bricks from the old factory were used in the construction.

The Sibley Mill produced around 2 million pounds of cotton in 1883 and that figure increased to 8.5 million pounds in 1894. It was a symbol of Augusta’s post-war prosperity and a major contributor to the state’s economic growth in the late 19th century.

Sibley Family Coat of Arms

An economic downturn in the early decades of the 20th century saw production fall below capacity by 1911. The Graniteville Company took over management of the mill in 1921 and purchased it in 1940, though the Sibley name remained.

In the late 1970s, the Sibley Mill began producing denim for Levi-Strauss but that ceased by 2006 and the facility shut down. The Augusta Canal Authority purchased the campus in 2010 and its presently being redeveloped as a mixed-use cyber works.

Augusta Canal Industrial District, National Register of Historic Places + National Historic Landmark + Augusta Canal National Heritage Area

Confederate Powder Works Chimney, 1862, Augusta

This historic chimney, standing 150 feet tall, is all that remains of the Confederate Powder Works, which was the only major industrial facility built by the Confederate States. Augusta was chosen as the site of the powder works for the ready power source provided by the adjacent canal and good railroad infrastructure. Lieutenant Colonel George Washington Rains oversaw the construction of the project and Major Charles Shaler Smith was the chief architect and engineer. Construction began in 1862 and when complete consisted of 26 well-spaced buildings stretching two miles along the Augusta Canal. It was soon the second largest powder works in the world. Around 2.75 million pounds of gunpowder were produced here until operations ended in April 1865, though production was slowed by a massive explosion in August 1864. When the Powder Works was demolished during a widening of the canal between 1872-1875, the chimney was saved as a monument at the request of Colonel Rains, who remained in Augusta and later became dean of the Medical College of Georgia. The adjacent Sibley Mill was not part of the Confederate Powder Works but was constructed with bricks leftover from the ruins of the complex.

Augusta Canal Industrial District, National Register of Historic Places + National Historic Landmark + Augusta Canal National Heritage Area

Dennis Cahill Memorial, Augusta

On 29 July 1902, as 9-year-old Dallas Corine Kitchens was taking lunch to her aunt at the Enterprise Mill [visible at left background], she fell from the canal bridge to the water below. Dennis Cahill, an Irish immigrant working for the City of Augusta, noticed her distress and jumped into the canal to save her, but was drowned during the attempt. I believe the girl also died.

A monument of “rugged stones” was placed at the foot of the Butt Bridge to memorialize the tragedy. It reads: Dennis Cahill, By a deed of self-sacrifice such as all humanity claims and counts among its jewels, hallowed this spot and rendered his name worthy of such. Lasting Memory as these rugged stones and this simple tablet can secure. For here he gave his life in a vain attempt to save from drowning a child, having no claim for his sacrifice save Humanity and Helplessness – July 29, 1902. Born Parish of Castlemagner, County Cork, Ireland, June 1861. I am unsure when the monument was placed, but it was likely soon after the tragedy occurred. A marker placed at his gravesite in 2009 by the local chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians identifies him as a Hibernian Hero.

Augusta Canal Industrial District, National Register of Historic Places + National Historic Landmark + Augusta Canal National Heritage Area

Archibald Butt Memorial Bridge, 1914, Augusta: Georgia’s Only Titanic Memorial

The Major Archibald Willingham Butt Memorial Bridge [shortened to Butt Bridge, locally] is Georgia’s only monument to a victim of the sinking of RMS Titanic and is also one of the most unusual. In terms of sheer size it’s likely the largest such memorial in the nation. Four regal lions guard the corners of the bridge and bald eagles perch atop lighted globes on both sides. The pedestrian friendly structure is also a great place to view the historic Augusta Canal.

It is quite an ostentatious tribute and by nature a “living memorial”, carrying thousands of cars per day over the Augusta Canal at 15th Street. Nisbet Wingfield, the city engineer and commissioner of public works for the city of Augusta, was the engineer for the bridge; William Henry Deacy, who specialized in memorials, was the architect; and the W. W. Leland Company was responsible for the whimsical decorations. [The reinforced concrete bridge is 52.8′ at its largest span, has an overall length of 155.8′, and has a deck width of 55.8′. It is a T-beam, designed to look like an arch form]. By 1994, the future of the bridge was uncertain, but citizens rallied to save it, with the phrase “Save our Butt” a common refrain throughout Augusta. It took over 20 years for everything to fall into place, but in 2017 rehabilitation of the bridge was complete and the future of one of the city’s most unique monuments was insured.

Major Archibald Butt (26 September 1865-15 April 1912) was born to a once-prominent Augusta family who had fallen into poverty after the Civil War. While attending the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, Butt developed an interest in journalism, eventually editing the school newspaper. Before moving to Washington, D. C., Butt worked at the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Macon Telegraph. Upon arriving in the nation’s capital, he covered the government as a correspondent for a syndicate of newspapers in Nashville, Augusta, Atlanta, and Savannah. Through his skillful journalism, he made valuable connections with Washington’s high society and this ultimately landed him a job as the first secretary of the American Embassy in Mexico (1895-1897). Over the next few years Butt continued to write. He also served as a quartermaster in the Spanish-American War, noted for saving the lives of some 500 mules by turning down poor conditions in Hawaii and sailing on to the Philippines, where he remained until 1904. His logistical skills as a supply manager drew much praise, and he later served as Depot Quartermaster in Havana during America’s 1906 occupation of Cuba.

Bronze relief of Major Butt by Henry Price

In March 1908, he began serving as the military aide-de-camp to President Theodore Roosevelt, and retained that position with the incoming Taft administration. The military aides-de-camp of this time were essentially protocol chiefs and had close working relationships with presidents. Taft considered Major Butt a close friend, and the Taft family, as a result, were fond of visiting Augusta.

Butt never married and was the housemate and companion of the American painter and sculptor, Francis Davis Millet. Millet had been peripherally associated with the salon of John Singer Sargent and knew many of the finest artists in America during his lifetime. In 1912, Butt took leave from his White House job when animosities flared between Taft and Roosevelt, and he and Millet had been vacationing in Europe, highlighted by an audience with Pope Pius X, before embarking for home on the Titanic. It was said that both men helped women and children onto lifeboats before losing their lives, though this may be apocryphal. Taft was known to have been deeply saddened by Butt’s death.

Major Archibald Willingham Butt (detail of circa 1909 photograph) via Library of Congress. Public domain.

A fountain dedicated to the memory of Butt and Millet was placed in President’s Park at the White House in 1913. In April 1914, former-President Taft visited Augusta to pay tribute to his close friend, and spoke at the dedication of the Memorial Bridge.

Augusta Canal Industrial District, National Register of Historic Places + National Historic Landmark + Augusta Canal National Heritage Area

Johnston-Felton-Hay House, 1855, Macon

Designed by the architectural firm of T. Thomas & Son for Macon entrepreneur William Butler Johnston, this 18,000-square-foot Italian Renaissance Revival mansion was built between 1855-59 by James B. Ayres.

Johnston was involved in every aspect of the construction of his home. Initially, it was to be of wooden construction, but Johnson opted for masonry and brick instead.

“Ruth”, a marble sculpture commissioned in Rome and shipped to Macon, by the expatriate Neoclassical sculptor Randolph Rogers. She has her own room in the house.

The Johnstons were active art collectors and acquired important pieces during their Grand Tour of Europe. The house was well-suited for the display of their impressive collection.

At a time when most of the finest homes in the South were of Greek Revival design, the Johnston House was a standout.

Macon’s grandest residential landmark, it’s also considered one of the finest houses in Georgia, known as the “Palace of the South” upon construction.

It was the most modern house in mid-19th-century Macon.

It featured hot and cold running water, gas lighting, central heat, an in-house kitchen and other innovations far ahead of their time.

The Johnston’s daughter Mary Ellen married William H. Felton (later a judge) in 1888 and they soon moved into the house.

After the deaths of the Feltons, Parks Lee Hay bought the house in 1926.

When Mrs. Hay died in 1962, her heirs established the P. L. Hay Foundation and operated it as a private museum.

The Hay House was transferred to the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation in 1977.

It is operated today as a house museum and event venue.

A tour of the home also includes a glimpse into the living quarters, which are only slightly less formal.

The Georgia Trust has spent decades researching the history and architecture of the house. I’m grateful to Mark McDonald and Ennis Willlis for unfettered access with my camera. All of the staff were very accommodating during my visit.

Note: This post replaces an earlier version, originally published in 2017.

National Historic Landmark