Page N2.2 . 21 May 2003                     
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    Preserving Georgia's Heritage

    continued

    The Head Keeper's Cottage of the lighthouse on Tybee Island is an 1881 "stick-style" residence located in the Fort Screven Historic District. Its restoration defined as an accurate depiction of the form, features, and character of a historic building required unraveling a history of careless destruction, ill-advised repairs, the removal of ornamental trim both inside and out, and a trail of hidden evidence of the house's original appearance.

    In his research, architect Daniel E. Snyder relied on historic photos of the lighthouse plus physical evidence such as paint and other remnants. A bride who had posed on the bottom step of the original staircase for her wedding photo many decades earlier provided the portrait to the restoration team who were able to accurately reconstruct the stair. Similar detective work resulted in a cottage that now shows visitors the living conditions and period furnishings of a lighthouse keeper's family in coastal Georgia.

    Located in the Cuyler-Brownsville Historic District of Savannah, the rehabilitated Heritage Place Apartments are now affordable family housing. One of the two apartment buildings was once Charity Hospital, built in 1931 and founded, administered, and staffed by the African-American community the only such facility in the Southeast at the time. The hospital was destroyed by fire in the early 1990s, leaving only the brick shell and structural steel. Martin Riley Associates Architects recreated the staircases, front entry, cornice, and windows using the original plans. The layout of the apartment building follows the hospital's original circulation pattern.

    The Mitchener-Massey House was constructed as a single-family residence in 1908, but was divided in the early 1960s into five apartments. Many of the original fireplaces and windows were bricked over, and the exterior brick deteriorated as the foundation settled.

    In rehabilitating this structure, architects Spitzmiller and Norris discovered that the subdivision of the house had left intact much of the original woodwork, trim, and flooring. They removed the newer walls and took the floor plan back to its 1908 arrangement. They stabilized the granite foundations by gradually over the course of a year raising the foundation a total of eight inches (20 centimeters) with hydraulic jacks.

    The fireplaces and windows were restored, wood floors repaired or replaced, and new copper flashing installed on the original slate roof. The house now resumes its original role as a single-family residence.

    The Georgia Trust is committed to preserving and enhancing Georgia's communities and their diverse historic resources by finding buyers for endangered properties, providing design assistance to municipalities, training teachers, and advocating for funding and preservation-friendly laws.

     

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    ArchWeek Image

    The Head Keeper's Cottage of the lighthouse on Tybee Island restored to its 1881 condition.
    Photo: Courtesy of The Georgia Trust

    ArchWeek Image

    Charity Hospital in Savannah was rehabilitated and now serves as affordable family housing.
    Photo: Courtesy of The Georgia Trust

    ArchWeek Image

    The Mitchener-Massey House has been returned to its function as a single-family residence.
    Photo: Spitzmiller and Norris

     

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