Friday, March 17, 2017

J.B. White Company House, c. 1900, Augusta, GA

Broad Street, photographer facing NE
At the turn of the 20th century, the J.B White Company built twenty houses along Broad Street to house employees of their department store. This is the only one left standing (as of 2015 when these photos were taken) out of three properties, side by side, that were deemed historically significant by Historic Augusta, Inc. A link on their website here shows a photo of all three homes, and gives a brief history of the J.B White building project.

J.B. (James Brice) White was an Irish immigrant who opened his first store in downtown Augusta in 1874. He operated the business until it was sold in the 1910's to H.B. Calvin Company.
Broad Street, photographer facing north

Apparently, by 1919, the H.B. Calvin Company had no desire to be in the housing business and decided to liquidate the properties, offering to sell them to the current residents. The upper Broad Street homes listed for $4,000 to $4,500.
Broad Street, photographer facing NE

When I was a kid living in Augusta since the mid 1970s, I always noticed that these houses seemed out of place as the majority of this part of downtown consists of commercial properties. Trips to downtown in the 70s were infrequent as Augusta, like most small cities during that time, resembled a mere shadow of its successful past; before the malls were built, causing a stampede of businesses relocating to the suburbs.

Even as a kid I could see the beauty in these old homes and hoped that somebody would restore them to what must have been their original glory. One of the three houses burned in 2011. Another has been razed as well, leaving this one as the sole reminder of an bygone era.

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