Monument, residents preserve Gilbert Manor history

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Unlike many Gilbert Manor residents, Glenda Rolland was supportive when their neighborhood was razed to build a new dental school. But standing in the atrium of the Georgia Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine for the first time on Friday, she doubted if it was worth losing her home for the expansion.

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For the John Wesley Gilbert monument, two large bronze plaques from the old Gilbert Manor were used to bookend a semi-circular stone bench. One commemorates Gilbert Manor's original dedication and the second was affixed to the community center in 1989 honoring Gilbert.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
For the John Wesley Gilbert monument, two large bronze plaques from the old Gilbert Manor were used to bookend a semi-circular stone bench. One commemorates Gilbert Manor's original dedication and the second was affixed to the community center in 1989 honoring Gilbert.

“Even just looking at the railroad tracks brings back memories,” Rolland said. “Living in Gilbert Manor was like a home and everybody knew one another and we all got along well.”

Georgia Health Sciences University dedicated a monument Saturday in memory of John Wesley Gilbert, the complex’s namesake. Former residents of Gilbert Manor said the monument – just outside the school’s main entrance off R.A. Dent Boulevard – preserves a community’s legacy that hasn’t yet faded from memory.

Rolland and other former residents moved to Olmstead Homes, another public housing project operated by the Augusta Housing Authority on upper Broad Street, when they were relocated in 2008. Now, they visit one another trying to preserve their old community and often reminiscing about Gilbert Manor where they walked to the corner store, played cards on the front porches and were close to medical care.

About 3,500 families lived at Gilbert Manor from the time it was built in 1941 until 2008, when the city of Augusta donated it to the university for the College of Dental Medicine clinical research building.

For the Gilbert monument, two large bronze plaques from the old Gilbert Manor were used to bookend a semi-circular stone bench. One commemorates Gilbert Manor’s original dedication and the second was affixed to the community center in 1989 honoring Gilbert, Paine College’s first student and its first black faculty member.

The original marble sign, bricks and concrete from the complex were also used.

Barbara Gresham, 62, also moved to Olmstead Homes in 2008. Next door lives another former resident and friend who worked with Gresham to save Gilbert Manor.

“To me, there was nothing wrong with those apartments. They told us they were dilapidated,” she said. “They didn’t have to put us all out of there.”

Gresham misses watching the medical students walk from their cars to class. She hasn’t gotten used to her new apartment, and the anger at being displaced lingers every time she drives by the site. Still, she appreciates the monument made from plaques – which she remembers from her former neighborhood.

“I loved Gilbert Manor,” Gresham said. “I consider that to be my home forever.”

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raul
5323
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raul 02/25/12 - 07:09 pm
8
2
A monument and tribute to

A monument and tribute to institutionalized welfare. The idea of public housing is for the short term or for elderly and disabled. To consider a housing project as your" home forever" is pretty sad.

scott-hudson
10
Points
scott-hudson 02/26/12 - 12:37 pm
8
2
If the city paid for this

If the city paid for this monstrosity, then the person or persons responsible should be made to suffer corporal punishment. Our city can't afford to build a safe walkway to access Aqueduct park on the Augusta canal, but the money can be raised to erect a monument to a blighted, crime ridden, tax payer-funded complex that at one time housed moochers? Is there some that can explain this logic?

(Edited to please Craig. I did not realize we were being graded on grammar. LOL)

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 02/25/12 - 08:54 pm
2
0
Why?

Why?

JRC2024
9290
Points
JRC2024 02/25/12 - 11:47 pm
6
2
1941 to 2008, 67 years, 3500

1941 to 2008, 67 years, 3500 different families. Means 52.238 per year turn over. The complex did not belong to them so they should not have had a say when it would be sold or turned over for better use. And then they move to another government complex. I would be ashamed of myself to stay on the dole that long. Genereational welfare has no shame. I do not respect those people.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 02/26/12 - 09:51 am
1
3
lol I agree Craig.
Unpublished

lol I agree Craig.

wondersnevercease
9218
Points
wondersnevercease 02/26/12 - 12:08 pm
0
0
Why is there no
Unpublished

Why is there no shame?......
....sort of on par with voting for a Mayor caught on camera smoking crack....it's all good.
..or voting for an elitist arrogant socialist bumbling idiot simply because of the color of his skin.....it's all good.

JRC2024
9290
Points
JRC2024 02/26/12 - 12:38 pm
4
1
“I loved Gilbert Manor,” “I

“I loved Gilbert Manor,” “I consider that to be my home forever"

Craig-I read pretty good when I want to but I am too busy working. It is comments like that that I do not like because too many people now think that the government owes them everything and are content with that kind of life. I am not and I don't think you are either.

jrbfromga
433
Points
jrbfromga 02/26/12 - 01:01 pm
5
0
If one considers
Unpublished

If one considers public-assisted housing to be their home forever, they should question their self-worth and initiative. Public-assisted housing is a bridge to self-sufficiency, not an end.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 02/27/12 - 07:05 pm
4
0
Well, I agree with everyone

Well, I agree with everyone regarding the bridge, the self sufficiency, the temporary , etc, however, our President says otherwise. He said it is a right, people are owed, they don't have to work, because he will make you work for them and they can get it all with their votes. If you truly say differently, you'd better talk with your vote.

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