Neighborhood of the week: Downtown Augusta

Downtown Augusta is more than just the place where Matt Aitken attends Augusta Commission meetings.

It's also the place he calls home, along with his wife, Melissa, and their daughter, Cecilia.

"It's a great place to live. It's centrally located to banks, to restaurants, to the Common, the river," said the District 1 commissioner. "I think there are more people getting interested in this type of living."

The location is convenient, Melissa Aitken said.

"I like the fact that we can walk to everything," she said. "There is a lot to do in a close proximity."

The Aitkens moved into their Telfair Street home nearly two years ago.

The home, also known as the Hugh E. Dempsey House, was built about 1870. According to Historic Augusta Inc., Dempsey was the division superintendent of the Southern Express Co., which delivered packages, parcels and shipments in the region by rail.

It took 14 months to renovate and update the house, Matt Aitken said. Throughout the process, it was important for them to ensure that the historic elements remained intact.

"The character inside this home, as well as out, you can't build this kind of character," he said. "You might could, but it would be a huge amount of money.

"The staircases, the high ceilings, some of the trim work, the charm of the hardwood floors, the big windows -- it's those things that make historic homes special."

The Aitkens received a 2009 Preservation Award from Historic Augusta Inc.

"Knowing how many people have been in this house before us is really significant," Melissa Aitken said. "This house has played an important role in the lives of several others and now, it's the place we call home. These walls have seen a lot of history."


 

 

 

At home with

THE FAMILY: Matt and Melissa Aitken and their 3-year-old daughter, Cecilia

THE HOME: Built in the 1870s, with four bedrooms and four bathrooms

IT'S A FACT: The Aitkens have a grandfather clock passed down to him from his father, who got the clock from Germany while in the military. They have a table in the breakfast room that has been passed down in his wife's family.

The home contains several items from former Mayor Charles A. DeVaney's estate, including furniture and pictures of Broad Street and Riverwalk Augusta.

 

Around the block

DOWNTOWN AUGUSTA BOUNDARIES: From the Savannah River to Wrightsboro Road and from Interstate 520 to Milledge Road

NUMBER OF RESIDENTS: 2,661

NUMBER OF HOUSEHOLDS: 1,540

NUMBER OF BUSINESSES: 895

OCCUPANCY RATE OF DOWNTOWN RENTALS: 96 percent

MAJOR EMPLOYERS: Medical College of Georgia, University Hospital, Augusta-Richmond County government

COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES: Medical College of Georgia, Paine College and Cambridge College

ATTRACTIONS: Augusta Canal Interpretive Center and Petersburg Boats, Augusta Museum of History, Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, Fort Discovery/National Science Center, Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History, Morris Museum of Art

Source: Downtown Development Authority of Augusta

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