Paine College has been inducted into the National Register of Historic Places, the country’s official list of buildings and structures worthy of preservation, the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources announced Wednesday.
Out of the possible local, state or national designations, Paine is listed with state-level significance, meaning its properties have qualities that are “above and beyond the ordinary,” according to national register specialist Lynn Speno.
“The buildings on campus are pretty much intact,” Speno said. “The setting, the landscape hasn’t moved or changed. They’re right there where they began.”
Speno said having buildings that are untainted and have maintained their historic value is key to being accepted into the registry.
Paine was selected for its buildings that “retain a high degree of integrity and predominately reflect the Georgian Revival style of architecture as designed by the Augusta architectural firm of Kuhlke and Wade,” according to a news release.
The college was also noted for retaining buildings that reflect the traditions of institutional architecture as it evolved from classicism to modernism. Speno said the story of how the college was established also made it a viable candidate.
Paine was founded in 1882 by a biracial board of trustees at a time when racial discord was rampant in the South. The Methodist Episcopal Church South and the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church “believed that education was a means of advancement for the freed African-American people,” according to the register’s release.
“Our opinion was that because of such an unusual way it was set up made it unusual for Georgia and especially for the South,” Speno said. “There are not many colleges in that era that were set up that way.”
Paine now joins the 2,072 listings from Georgia on the national register.
Paine officials declined to be interviewed about but did issue a news release.
“This is a major milestone in the college’s 131 years of existence, and we look forward to making additional milestones and accomplishments in the legacy of Paine College,” President George C. Bradley wrote in the statement.