Grant to Historic North Augusta enables work to start on Society Building

Work to preserve the Society Build­ing in Carrsville is about to begin, thanks to a donation Wednesday by Rowland-Ford Funeral Home to Historic North Augusta.

 

“This morning (despite the ghastly weather) Mr. Michael Ford handed a check to HNA Treasurer Don Maxwell,” Mark Newell, HNA’s secretary, wrote in a celebratory Facebook post.

“The funds, along with a grant from the North Augusta Sertoma Club and many local individual donors will enable work to begin on the weatherization of the building.”

Newell said the grant amount was confidential, but “we have enough to start work, and that’s the key thing,” he said.

The gift from a funeral home is historically appropriate because the building once housed the Young Men Union Association, which was formed to ensure that everyone in Hamburg got a proper burial, Newell said.

The first step will be to repair or replace the roof of the historic structure. Antonio Bridges and Samuel Leverette of North Augusta’s Brighter Side Roofing were on hand Wednesday and surveyed the leaky old roof with a drone. They will do the work for cost, Newell said.

“We are thrilled to see the support we’re getting from the community and community businesses,” Newell said.

Work is expected to begin in the next few weeks and once it’s done, the next step will be windows and siding, he said.

When flooding in 1929 washed away much of what was Hamburg, a predominantly black community, the town’s former residents moved farther from the river and established the town of Carrsville.

A historical marker to Carrsville, at Barton and Boylan streets, across from First Providence Baptist Church, says “Carrsville was most likely named for Charles W. Carr of the American Red Cross or for William Carpenter, an African-American businessman, both of whom gave lots for new homes here to families displaced by the flooding. Boylan Street here was originally named Red Cross Street in recognition of that organization’s aid to the black families who had lost their homes on the banks of the Savannah River.”

The Society Building was built in 1930, and was first home to the Young Men’s Union Association. It served in many capacities, including as a school house during segregation and event space for the Simmons Lodge No. 571, which acquired it in 1988 and still owns it.

Historic North Augusta is marking its first year as an organization dedicated to protecting the city’s historic buildings and legacy.

It obtained 501 (c)(3) status, which makes donations and membership fees – $25 per year – tax-deductible.

Newell noted that the Rowland-Ford Funeral Home and its owners, Michael and Miriam Ford, will be founding members of Historic North Augusta because of their grant, a designation that is still available for anyone who gives $100 by the end of January.

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