What is the purpose of this walking tour?
This self-guided tour is designed to give you basic information on each building along the major streets and cross streets in Downtown Augusta. By providing the information in a digital format that can be accessed on the internet, we hope it proves to be useful, interesting and convenient in planning your visit to the area. Feel free to download and print as many or as few of the tour pages as interest you, or that you find time to explore.
It is our aim to increase the use, enjoyment and appreciation of historic buildings and sites located in Downtown Augusta. By providing this information through easy access on the internet we hope to increase the exposure of Augusta’s historic resources in order to promote their preservation.
What will I see along each route?
Although this tour is intended as a historical and architectural tour, it is not confined to pointing out only buildings of a certain age or architectural style. Since it is conceived as a walking tour, we want you to know something about every building along your route, no matter how old or how recent. We will guide you down the side streets as well.
History has been unfolding in Augusta since 1736, and continues into the 21st Century. Our architectural heritage reflects that. Not only will you find beautiful and interesting examples of every architectural expression that gained popularity in America beginning in the late 18th Century, but you will learn about the growth of Augusta. From the banks of the Savannah River, the town expanded by adding streets and building lots to the south, and to the west of the original plan. Not all of the buildings you encounter will be perfectly restored, but their character can be seen by close examination.
Is Downtown Augusta an official historic district?
Downtown Augusta is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district by the National Park Service. The National Register recognizes that the period of historic significance in Downtown Augusta extends from 1736, when the nuclear colonial town was laid out, until 1967, when the Georgia Railroad Bank Building (now the Wachovia Building) was constructed. It is also a locally designated historic district by the City of Augusta. This means that alterations, new construction and demolitions must be approved by the Augusta Historic Preservation Commission. The City of Augusta has also been designated a Preserve America community by the United States Department of the Interior and the President’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
How long will the tour take?
That all depends on the time you have, and your level of interest. It is not expected that anyone will take the entire downtown walking tour at one time during one visit. Augusta simply has too much history and architectural heritage to take-in on foot all at one time except for the most ambitious of visitors. Each page of the tour should take a visitor between 10 and 20 minutes unless you decide to shop, eat or visit an attraction along the way.
Can I go inside any of the buildings?
Few of the buildings along these routes are open to the public for tours. Please respect the privacy of local residents and businesses by only looking from the sidewalk. Of course, restaurants, stores and attractions welcome your visits and patronage. You may encounter tempting shopping, entertainment and culinary possibilities all along your route.
Those buildings which are museums or public attractions are indicated by this symbol. We have not provided hours of operation or any fees charged, as they vary widely and can change. We suggest that you find that information on the internet or through the Augusta Convention and Visitors Center at www.augustaga.org or by calling 800-726-0243.
Can you tell me about the street numbering system and naming patterns?
To help you orient yourself to get around downtown, Augusta’s street numbering system progresses from east to west, and from north to south. Even numbers are used for buildings on the east and south sides of each street, and odd numbers are used for buildings on the west and north sides of each street. Streets that are oriented from east to west have names reflecting the city’s history:
- Reynolds Street was named for Colonial Governor John Reynolds.
- Jones Street was named for the family of Noble Jones of Savannah, who was the original surveyor of the Colonial town of Augusta.
- Broad Street is a reference to the width of the main commercial street in the historic town plan.
- Ellis Street was named for Colonial Governor Henry Ellis.
- Greene Street was named for Revolutionary War General Nathaniel Greene.
- Telfair Street was named for Georgia Governor Edward Telfair.
- Walker Street was named for Augusta Mayor Freeman Walker.
Streets that are oriented from north to south were mostly numbered in 1880 to facilitate emergency response by police and firemen. All had original names that also reflect the city’s history:
- Fifth Street was originally called Center Street, indicating the original center street in the colonial town of Augusta.
- Sixth Street was originally called Washington Street, named for General George Washington who would later become the first President of the United States.
- Seventh Street was originally called McIntosh Street, named for Georgia Revolutionary War General Lachlan McIntosh.
- Eighth Street was originally called Jackson Street, named for Georgia Revolutionary War General James Jackson, who later became a Georgia Governor.
- Ninth Street was originally called Campbell Street, named for Martin and Macartan Campbell, original settlers and traders in Augusta. In 1993 it was renamed James Brown Boulevard for the internationally known soul singer who called Augusta home.
- Macartan Street has retained its historic name, and was named for Francis Macartan, an 18th Century trader in Augusta.
- Tenth Street was originally called Cumming Street, named for Thomas Cumming, first Intendent of Augusta after it was incorporated as a City in 1798.
- Eleventh Street was originally called Kollock Street, named for a prominent Georgia Family connected to the Noble Jones Family.
- Twelfth Street was originally called Marbury Street, named for Capt. Leonard Marbury who developed the Village of Springfield on the confiscated lands of the Loyalist James Grierson, after the Revolutionary War.
- Thirteenth Street was originally called McKinne Street for a prominent local family of merchants.
The mission of Historic Augusta, Inc. is to preserve historically or architecturally significant sites in Augusta and Richmond County, Georgia.