Address: 1247 Laney-Walker Blvd.
Owner: Eta Theta Zeta Foundation Inc.
History and Significance: The historic corridor of Laney-Walker Boulevard primarily serves as the commercial hub for the neighborhood. Near the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History, there is a quaint cottage that dates back to the early 1890s which is a prime example of residential structures found throughout the historic district. Once known as Gwinnett Street, today the address is 1247 Laney-Walker Boulevard. Although in need of some care, this charming home from the late 19th Century is reminiscent of the hustle and bustle of Laney-Walker Boulevard which became Augusta’s main street for African-Americans during the days of segregation. The Old Pearson house, as it known today, has seen the decline and the ongoing revitalization of the neighborhood. Long-time resident Mrs. Luvenia Pearson and her husband, Rev. Benjamin Pearson, were the primary occupants since purchasing the home from her mother and they lived there until 2010. Mrs. Pearson’s long career as a cosmetologist in Augusta has made her an endearing figurehead within the African-American community. Several articles found in the Augusta Chronicle document her community involvement and ownership of Luvenia’s School of Cosmetology. The property was purchased in 2010 to a local sorority, the Eta Theta Zeta foundation of Paine College. This historically black foundation plans to occupy the Pearson House, but it will be a large financial undertaking. With recent interest in reinvestment and revitalization throughout the entire Laney-Walker neighborhood, preservation of the Pearson House will certainly benefit from the energy and excitement. The current condition of the property is good with typical attention needing to be paid to the roof and electrical systems. The Pearson House is a significant historic resource in the upper blocks of Laney-Walker Boulevard and offers an opportunity for Eta Theta Zeta to become active in preserving a piece of African-American history in their own backyard.
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) Contributing structure in the Laney-Walker North Historic District which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, which makes it eligible for all programs of the National Register, including available grant funds and the tax incentives for certified rehabilitations.