Downtown Bainbridge building receives preservation award

Published 3:40 pm Tuesday, April 21, 2020

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The Eagle Saloon Suites in Downtown Bainbridge is one of two locations in South Georgia to receive statewide preservation awards from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Eagle Saloon Suites received the inaugural Michael L. Starr Award, presented to a project that best exemplifies the highest standards of historic rehabilitation and has a significant impact on the downtown of the city in which it is located.

Built in 1899, the Eagle Saloon originally occupied the two-story cornerstone building at 201 N. Broad Street in downtown Bainbridge. Over the decades, the building had been updated numerous times with stucco covering the brick facade, aluminum veneer applied to the commercial storefront and multiple upper story windows being covered. After sitting vacant, the property was rescued by Doug Young, a preservation minded developer. Starting with careful demolition, layers of inappropriate additions were removed.

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Fortunately, the original upper-story windows, including a beautiful arched window that had been covered, were salvaged and restored. Two original cast iron columns at the storefront entrance were also discovered intact. Using historic photos, the historic storefront configuration and second-floor balcony were reconstructed. The project provided an updated commercial space on the ground floor and added two new residential units above. Since the completion of the project, a boutique hotel, new restaurant, salon and boutique are all slated to relocate or open in neighboring buildings, illustrating the significant impact the rehabilitation of this cornerstone building has had on downtown Bainbridge.

Blue Springs Plantation in Albany received an Excellence in Rehabilitation award. Excellence in Rehabilitation Awards recognize projects that make compatible use of a building through repair, alterations or additions while preserving features of the property that convey its historic value. This year the Trust presented fourteen Excellence in Rehabilitation awards.

For more than 40 years, the Trust has recognized preservation projects and individuals throughout Georgia who have made significant contributions to the field of historic preservation.

Awards are presented on the basis of the contributions of the person or project to the community and/or state and on compliance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

Founded in 1973, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation is one of the country’s leading statewide, nonprofit preservation organizations. The Trust works for the preservation and revitalization of Georgia’s diverse historic resources and advocates their appreciation, protection and use.

The Georgia Trust generates community revitalization by finding buyers for endangered properties acquired by its Revolving Fund and raises awareness of other endangered historic resources through an annual listing of Georgia’s “Places in Peril.”

The Trust recognizes preservation projects and individuals with its annual Preservation Awards and awards students and young professionals with academic scholarships, the Neel Reid Prize and Liz Lyon Fellowship. The Trust offers a variety of educational programs for adults and children, provides technical assistance to property owners and historic communities, advocates for funding, tax incentives and other laws aiding preservation efforts, and manages two house museums in Atlanta (Rhodes Hall) and Macon (Hay House).