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Nov. 8 - Needwood Baptist Church and Huston House Make 2019 'Places in Peril'

Category: Georgia News

Brunswick Business Journal Staff Report

November  8, 2018 - The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation has included the Needwood Baptist Church and School in Brunswick and the Huston House at Butler Plantation in Darien on the 2019 list of 10 Places in Peril in the state.

"This is the Trust's fourteenth annual Places in Peril list," said Mark C. McDonald, president and CEO of the Trust. "We hope the list will continue to bring preservation solutions to Georgia's imperiled historic resources by highlighting ten representative sites."

Founded in 1866 by freed people raised in the Gullah Geechee tradition, Needwood Baptist Church is one of the oldest African-American churches in the state. The church building dates to the 1870s and likely sits on land that was once part of Needwood Plantation. The adjacent school, built in 1907, remained in use for the children of the congregation until the 1950s, when Georgia created Equalization Schools. The Needwood Baptist Church and School are threatened by their current state of disrepair, including failing roofs and increased water damage after recent storms, despite many families, descendants and church members working to save them.

The Huston House, located on Butler Island, was constructed in 1927 by T.L. Huston, a former co-owner of the New York Yankees. Butler Island, originally a rice plantation dating to the 1790s, was converted to a dairy and lettuce farm by Huston in the 20th century. After Huston's death in 1938, the property was purchased by tobacco heir R.J. Reynolds, Jr. Today the property is owned by the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division. The Huston House is currently vacant with no long-term plan for use or maintenance. Changing climate and the severity of recent hurricanes have exposed the house to the elements. Without a plan in place, these threats will lead to continued deterioration of the building.

The other 8 sites on the list include: Colquitt County Arts Center in Moultrie (Colquitt County); Glennwanis Hotel in Glennville (Tattnall County); Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace Garden in Savannah (Chatham County); Madison Theatre in Atlanta (DeKalb County); Rhodes Center South in Atlanta (Fulton County); Springfield Log Cabin School in Union Point (Taliaferro County); Stark Mill Community Building in Hogansville (Troup County); and The Cedars in Washington (Wilkes County).

Places in Peril is designed to raise awareness about Georgia's significant historic, archaeological and cultural resources, including buildings, structures, districts, archaeological sites and cultural landscapes that are threatened by demolition, neglect, lack of maintenance, inappropriate development or insensitive public policy.

Through Places in Peril, the Trust will encourage owners and individuals, organizations and communities to employ proven preservation tools, financial resources and partnerships in order to reuse, reinvest and revitalize historic properties that are in peril.

A site on a previous year's list includes the Harrington School on St Simons Island that served as a school for African Americans. It's recently completed a seven-year restoration.


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