Olde Town is the subdivision of the week

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The people of Olde Town are a sociable bunch, and it was their hospitality that persuaded Staci Swider to purchase a cottage in the downtown district.

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Homes along Broad Street in Olde Town  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Homes along Broad Street in Olde Town

Swider, an art teacher at Harlem High School, talked to another teacher about moving from Evans to Olde Town, where he lived. He invited her to a neighborhood gathering.

"And I met the Olde Town crowd," said Swider, who bought her house last July. "It's like a big, extended family."

Swider's cottage, which she shares with her teenage son, is filled with antiques and artwork. Paintings by local artists and many of her own works decorate the home.

Some of Swider's most recent works include paintings of downtown homes as seen through vivid colored glasses. Swider dresses them up and tells a story with each work. She will have a show at Casa Blanca Cafe in April.

A former back porch is Swider's studio, but her favorite spot at her home is her front porch.

"I sit out here all the time. I knit, read and do nothing," she said.

In the mornings, she likes to take her cup of coffee outside and "watch the neighborhood wake up. It's my most favorite thing."

Swider attended college in Philadelphia and later worked and lived in Manhattan, N.Y., as a fabric designer. She enjoys living in an urban setting, and she doesn't feel unsafe, either. Awareness is the key.

"In an urban environment, people come from other areas and are passing through. You need to be aware of who is supposed to be there," she said.

That's where the big, extended family comes in, she said. At least once a month, there is a neighborhood gathering.

Nearly 200 people attended an outdoor Super Bowl party. The annual Christmas Crawl gives Olde Town residents a chance to visit the houses of seven neighbors.

Potluck dinners, Labor Day parties and neighborhood association meetings bring folks together, she said.

Swider said she's glad she moved to Olde Town.

"My whole perspective on my life and art work has changed for the better. People who live here are so diverse and accepting of each other," she said.

AROUND THE BLOCK

The Neighborhood: Olde Town

Where: Olde Town is bounded by the Savannah River, East Boundary, Watkins Street and U.S. Highway 1

Schools: Craig-Houghton Elementary School, W.S. Hornsby (for middle school), Laney High School

History: Olde Town is one of Augusta's first neighborhoods, with many of the houses dating to the late 1800s. Houses on Broad Street were built after 1916, when a fire destroyed hundreds of downtown buildings.

Traditions: The residents of Olde Town have many traditions, including an annual tour of homes the third weekend of April and get-togethers throughout the year.

Amenities: The neighborhood is within walking or bicycling distance of numerous shops, restaurants and other businesses downtown. Residents are close to the monthly First Friday events and museums.

AT HOME WITH:

THE FAMILY: Staci Swider and her 17 year-old son, Patrick Konesky

THE HOUSE: 1,170-square-foot cottage with two bedrooms and one bathroom

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT OLDE TOWN? "It has the energy of the urban environment, but the slowness of a Southern town," she said.

Comments (10) Add comment
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iletuknow
8
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iletuknow 02/28/10 - 01:19 am
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Brave,very brave.

Brave,very brave.

countyman
21282
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countyman 02/28/10 - 07:03 pm
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I love Olde Town. The

I love Olde Town. The neighborhood is gorgeous especially when riding through at night. The lights in the middle of the medians make the view amazing. When I moved from Martinez into downtown. At frirst I was going to pick Olde Town. But the lofts on broad street are too nice. Plus the lofts on broad are close to Artist Row, restaurants, galleries, riverwalk, and shops.

countyman
21282
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countyman 02/28/10 - 07:11 pm
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Matt Aitken lives in Olde

Matt Aitken lives in Olde Town. Ed Presnell who is Matt Aitken's campaign advisor lives in Olde Town too. Ed Presenll lived in Evans and West Augusta before moving to Olde Town.

countyman
21282
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countyman 02/28/10 - 07:11 pm
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Matt Aitken lives in Olde

Matt Aitken lives in Olde Town. Ed Presnell who is Matt Aitken's campaign advisor lives in Olde Town too. Ed Presenll lived in Evans and West Augusta before moving to Olde Town.

countyman
21282
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countyman 02/28/10 - 10:07 pm
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I welcome all the people

I welcome all the people moving downtown. I too lived in the suburbs(Martinez) before locating to Broad street.

mike71345
75
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mike71345 03/03/10 - 09:53 am
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Matt Aitken does not live in

Matt Aitken does not live in Olde Town. He lives in the Downtown district next to the municipal building. Olde Town is the dirty, crime-ridden part of downtown below Fourth Street which the city barely polices or maintains.

countyman
21282
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countyman 03/06/10 - 02:50 pm
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What are you talking about?

What are you talking about? Olde Town is definitely not none of those things. I think you need to visit the area. And Matt Aiken does live in Olde Town. And Matt Aikten does love in Olde Town.

mike71345
75
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mike71345 03/08/10 - 12:06 pm
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I lived in Olde Town for

I lived in Olde Town for eight years until I moved out last Summer. It is a crime-ridden, filthy neighborhood and is getting worse. As the article states:
"Where: Olde Town is bounded by the Savannah River, East Boundary, Watkins Street and U.S. Highway 1"
I realize that the street signs downtown all the way up to 13th St say 'Olde Town' on them. When the Downtown Historic District was formed, the neighborhood now called Olde Town was left out of it. I suspect there were two reasons behind that -- one, this is the "new" section of downtown (built between 1916 and 1970), and two, it's a hopelessly crime-ridden, filthy slum. I invite you to walk down into Olde Town under the Gordon Highway overpass some night.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 03/08/10 - 12:15 pm
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I tend to not pay much

I tend to not pay much attention to countryman's posts.. he's just an oblivious cheerleader wearing rose tinted glasses so thick you'd think they came off the bottom of a coke bottle. He sees a fantasy of what he wishes Augusta was, but what it currently is not. Optimism can be a great thing.. but being oblivious to the real situation of many Augusta neighborhoods like Olde Town doesn't help to get things corrected to actually make Augusta that kind of city he so desperately wants it to be. And btw, Matt Aitken lives in downtown across from city hall.

Riverman1
90288
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Riverman1 03/08/10 - 12:26 pm
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Emery, yeah, he talks up

Emery, yeah, he talks up Augusta a little too much, but you have to like his spirit. Heck, I love Augusta, too. I really do. All parts of it. The diversity is cool and gives different parts of the CSRA selective feels.

I left my place on the river in Columbia County Saturday, drove out to Peach Orchard to Johnny’s Seafood and bought 80 lbs of oysters. The Asian guy owner (Johnny, I guess) was helpful and the black customers were friendly as we all waited to get some seafood of all kinds. We all get along here. I, also, believe Countyman is right about construction booming in Richmond County. But I agree with you…that downtown continues to drag.

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