Thomasville set to begin first city-wide historic landmarks survey since 2001

Thomasville to begin survey to preserve historic landmarks
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 11:52 PM EST
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THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WALB) - One of the things the city of Thomasville is known for is how it preserves its rich history.

Thomas County is rich with history dating back to before the Civil War, according to the Thomasville Landmarks organization. They say preserving and nurturing these landmarks is having an appreciation for their history and architecture.

Many streets that you walk on in Thomasville have either a historic building or an original building that can be traced back to the late 1800s. Now, city leaders are planning to complete a survey that will help preserve these historic landmarks. From plantation homes to housing the very first African American Boy Scouts, Thomasville, and its history proves once again to be the key reason why city leaders are taking steps to keep that history alive.

The last historic survey was done in 2001 for the city of Thomasville, according to City Planner Kenny Thompson.

“It was originally surveyed in 2001, so this just the process of making our survey current, to make sure we’re capturing the existing conditions,” Thompson says.

Now, the city will be completing a new assessment through a government grant.

“We received a grant this year working with our Department of Community Affairs, and we will be resurveying the Steven’s Street historic neighborhood. We will be looking at the neighborhood, seeing what has changed, if anything is different. Thompson said. “So the total amount for the work will be around $25,000 and we received the grant for $15,000 so the city will cover a portion of the work.”

Nancy Tinker, executive director of Thomasville Landmarks says, preserving these landmarks ensures the history can still be told.

“The purpose of the survey is to see what buildings remain, what condition they’re in, where they’re located in the neighborhood, and to identify and understand if buildings identified in earlier surveys, like the Church of the Good Shepard, or the YMCA, or any lodge buildings remain,” Nancy Tinker said.

Tinker says it’s important that historic buildings remain and continue to tell their story.

“It’s important to identify the Black churches over on Oak Street — Good Shepard Episcopal Church, the first Black school for African American children was housed there. The first Black Boy Scout troop were hosted there. The first Black library for Black children was there. It’s important that those buildings remain,” Tinker said.

Leaders say that they will make a plan to look at preservation techniques and continue to save and preserve the important resources in the neighborhood.

“This is something that we are able to do because we are a certified local government through the state,” Thompson says. “Being a certified local government, we are able to receive grant funds for doing a lot of historic preservation activities. So this is just the first step in actually surveying the district.”

“There’s some buildings over there from the 1860s pre-Civil War, and buildings that were constructed within the last two to three years, a wealth of architecture with great stories to tell,” Tinker said.

Thomasville Landmarks says this grant is just the first step in the architectural survey and will help enrich the community through the benefits historic preservation will bring.