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2014 – Former Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph Exchange Building

Former Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph Exchange Building

Address: 937 Ellis Street

Owner: Privately Owned 

History and Significance:

Originally built in 1902, the Southern Bell and Telephone & Telegraph Company is first listed at this location in the city directory in 1904 and was listed there until 1940.  It was listed as the Carpenter’s Building first in 1945 and a variety of tenants including unions, alliances, and professional fraternities were listed as having contacts there.  There was a period of vacancy from the mid 1960s until a realtor was listed in the city directory in 1970.  The last occupants of the buildings were the Augusta Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in the 1980s.  Historic buildings are most vulnerable when they are left vacant, but it is not too late to stabilize the building by patching the roof.  With all of the interest in downtown residential living and its proximity to the White’s Building, this historic resource would be an attractive façade along Ellis Street.

Threat: Possible development pressure along Laney-Walker Boulevard; lack of financial support for ongoing maintenance

Potential Uses: private residential home, offices, meeting facility

Preservation Tools: (1); A contributing resource in the Augusta Downtown Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is therefore eligible for all programs of the National Register which include available grant funds and tax incentives for certified rehabilitations; (2) located in the Downtown Augusta Historic District which means that any alteration to the exterior, including demolition, should be approved by the  Augusta Richmond County Historic Preservation Commission.