Tag Archives: National Register of Historic Places

The Spirit of Achievement at Westview Cemetery, Georgia

Atlanta, Fulton County

Known as “The Spirit of Achievement” or, more simply, “Achievement,” the Jesse Parker and Cora Best Taylor Williams memorial in Westview Cemetery illustrates the success of Williamses, who relocated to Atlanta in 1900.

Cora and Jesse Parker Williams as depicted on the memorial

J. P. Williams built and ran the Georgia, Florida, and Alabama railway. Upon his death, Cora took over the management of the railroad. She ran the company until she passed. In her will, she asked that a hospital for women and children be built where their house once stood, at approximately 542 Peachtree Street. The hospital turned over management to Crawford Long Hospital, now Emory Midtown, in 1992. While the building no longer exists, the Jesse Parker Williams Foundation still exists and gives out health-related grants.

The memorial was created by sculptor Daniel Chester French and architect Henry Bacon. It’s listed as part of the Smithsonian’s Save Our Sculpture database.

SICARS Multipurpose Center, Georgia

Hog Hammock, McIntosh County

The Sapelo Island Cultural and Revitalization Society (SICARS) Multipurpose Center is located in Hog Hammock on Sapelo Island. From their website, the mission is “to preserve and revitalize the Hogg Hummock Community which is located on Sapelo Island, Georgia.” The organization was in 1993 by descendants to educate and preserve the history of Sapelo Island. They host the annual Cultural Day.

St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church and School, Georgia

Burroughs, Chatham County

Built in 1896, St. Bartholomew’s Church is the longest continuing Black Episcopal congregation in the state. The school, now the parish hall, was built in 1897.

The Victorian elements of the church make it a standout in rural church architecture. It was placed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

The church is still active with services offered twice a month. They are held in the afternoon, which is a long-standing tradition of the church.

St. Thomas Church, South Carolina

Cainhoy, Berkeley County

The parish of St. Thomas Church was founded 1706. This structure was built in 1819 after the original building burned. For more info and interior photos, visit the South Carolina Picture Project.

Mary Jenkins Praise House, South Carolina

St. Helena Island, Beaufort County

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, here is info from the application which gives a good history of this praise house and the overall purpose of praise houses.

The Mary Jenkins Community Praise House, built ca. 1900, is one of four known extant praise houses on St. Helena Island [one has since been removed – today there are only three praise houses on St. Helena Island]. Praise houses were first established on St. Helena plantations in the antebellum period, as slaves used small frame houses or other buildings as places to meet and worship. After they became freedmen, they built praise houses on or near the old plantation, in most instances calling their community by the name of the former plantation or plantation owner. Although the extant praise houses date from ca. 1900, their function has persisted since before emancipation and the basic architectural form has been retained. Since there were, and are, few formal church buildings on St. Helena, most islanders could only walk or ride to the main church on Sunday morning. For other community meetings or services, praise houses were built in each of the communities created by the former plantations, and services were held on Sunday, Tuesday, And Thursday nights, as well as the Watch Night Service each New Year’s. A typical service might consist of singing, prayer, perhaps a member’s testimony of a religious experience, and almost always ending with a “shout.” Kit Chaplin built this praise house ca. 1900; Paris Capers, born in 1863, was one of the early elders. Members of Ebenezer Baptist Church still attend services here today; a cow bell, which is still in the praise house, has been rung for many years to alert the members to a service or meeting.”

Gifford Rosenwald School, South Carolina

Gifford, Hampton County

Built in 1920 for $3250, this two-teacher type schools was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017. There is a current fundraising campaign to restore the school.

First McCanaan Baptist Church, Georgia

Sardis, Burke County

The Old McCanaan Missionary Baptist Church, now the First McCanaan Baptist Church, was founded in 1875. Many of the founding members were sharecroppers from the nearby Millhaven Plantation. It served as a spiritual gathering place the Black men and women of the area. The first building for the church was lost due to fire. By 1912, the new building was erected, which the congregation still uses today.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001 for as an excellent example of Gothic Revival in a rural Southern church.

Ma Rainey, Georgia

Columbus, Muscogee County

Gertrude “Ma” Rainey Pridgett (1886-1939) is considered the “Mother of Blues.” Columbus, Georgia was her home which is where she was born.

She started performing by the age of 14 and began touring as part of vaudeville and minstrel shows. Known for her dynamic performances, Ma Rainey made a name for herself as she toured the country.

The Ma Rainey house, now a museum, was the home that Ma purchased for her mother and where she moved into upon her return to Columbus. Initially, the home was the typical shotgun that can still be seen in the neighborhood, but Rainey had a new two-story home built. She lived there until her death in 1939. The house was saved from demolition by neglect by committed Columbus preservationists. It was put on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1992.

Ma Rainey rests in Porterdale Cemetery, which was once known as the Colored Cemetery. It was put on the NRHP in 1980.

Opened in 1924, the Liberty Theatre was a segregated theatre that hosted Ma Rainey and other Black artists. Rainey eventually purchased the theater. It was put on the NRHP in 1984.

Green Grove Missionary Baptist Church and School, Georgia

Green Grove Community, Stewart County

Founded in 1886 in a bush arbor, the Green Grove Missionary Baptist Church was named because of the year-round green forest that surrounded the church. Perry Hudson, Louis Cherry, and Isaac Shorter founded the church. By 1898, the church began to host school in the church building. Unfortunately, the church was destroyed by a tornado in 1919.

By 1920, the church was rebuilt on land given by Heddy York. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by fire a mere four years later. Another church was built and opened by 1927. In 1937, a school built and used by white schoolchildren was no longer used. Known as the Wesley Chapel School, the building was moved and renamed the Green Grove School. It still stands today. The school was used until 1958, when schools were closed for consolidation.

The church is still active. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

Source- Willie Marie Porter’s book A Grateful People: An Historical Account of the Founding of a Community

The Herndon Family, Georgia

Atlanta, Fulton County
The Herndon Home Museum

Completed in 1910, the Herndon Home was the residence of Alonzo Herndon and his family. Herndon was the first Black millionaire in Atlanta, and one of the first in the United States. He built his wealth by running several successful barbershops in Atlanta and starting the Atlanta Family Life Insurance Company.

Herndon was born into slavery in 1858 in Social Circle, Walton County, Georgia. After Emancipation, he left Social Circle and began work as a farmhand and learned how to barber in Jonesboro, Georgia.

He eventually moved to Atlanta where he began his barbershop business. He helped save a mutual aid association which eventually evolved into the Atlanta Life Insurance Company.

Atlanta Life Insurance Building on Auburn Avenue

Designed by Adrienne Herndon, a professor at Atlanta University and Alonzo’s first wife, the two-story, 15-room Classical Revival mansion with Beaux Arts influences, was built by local Black craftsmen. It was simultaneously added on the National Register of Historic Places and designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2000.

Upon his death, Herndon’s son Norris took over Atlanta Life Insurance and built upon his father’s success by turning it into a multi-million-dollar business.

The Herndon family are all buried in Southview Cemetery.

Coins left on a grave are left to show that someone recently visited and paid their respects.
Alonzo Herndon’s second wife

Marysville School, South Carolina

Pacolet, Spartanburg County

The Marysville School educated the Black schoolchildren of the families who worked at the surrounding mills. Built in 1915, the school was in use until 1954. The three-room schoolhouse was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

Ricky Wilson at Oconee Hill Cemetery, Georgia

Athens, Clarke County

Formed in 1976, the B-52s hail from Athens, Georgia. Ricky Wilson, the lead guitarist and brother of Cindy Wilson, grew up in Athens. He passed away from complications related to AIDS in 1985. His final resting place is in a family plot in Oconee Hill Cemetery in Athens, Georgia. The pyramid marker can symbolize a great deal. Here is a website with more info.

Gospel Pilgrim Cemetery, Georgia

Athens, Clarke County, Georgia

Founded in 1882, Gospel Pilgrim Cemetery in Athens, Georgia was the first cemetery owned by Black community in town. Over 3,000 Black Athenians have been laid to rest here. From Monroe “Pink” Morton, a prominent builder and namesake of the Morton Theater, to noted quilt maker, Harriet Powers.

The Gospel Pilgrims were a benevolent organization started after the Civil War. One benefit the group provided was burial insurance. In Athens, the organization was so popular that by 1912 almost 75% Black Athenians were members.

It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.

Morton family marker