Reunion joins former Augusta neighborhood with its rival

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Faye McNair looks at a 1938 Tubman yearbook on the porch of her Harrisburg home. The yearbook will be on display at the Harrisburg-Frog Hollow reunion Saturday. In the early days of the neighborhoods, Harrisburg and Frog Hollow residents saw themselves as rivals.  LISA KAYLOR/STAFF
LISA KAYLOR/STAFF
Faye McNair looks at a 1938 Tubman yearbook on the porch of her Harrisburg home. The yearbook will be on display at the Harrisburg-Frog Hollow reunion Saturday. In the early days of the neighborhoods, Harrisburg and Frog Hollow residents saw themselves as rivals.

On Saturday, a group of native Augustans will gather at the American Legion Post 63 on Milledge Road to mingle and reminisce.

Some grew up in Harrisburg, and some grew up in Frog Hollow. Many years ago, they probably would not have mingled like this.

Unless they were hanging out in neutral Allen Park. There, they could be friends. But certainly no self-respecting Frog Hollowan would dare venture into Harrisburg, or vice versa.

After all, Frog Hollowans and Harrisburgers were rivals.

“It was a tradition. You just didn’t go into the other’s neighborhood unless you knew somebody or they were with you,” said James Dorrill, who wrote a history of the neighborhood titled Frog Hollow: An extinct inter-city neighborhood of Augusta, Georgia.

Dorrill said by the 1940s and 1950s, when he was growing up in Frog Hollow, the rivalry had simmered down quite a bit. (He didn’t know what started it.)

“We still felt obligated to uphold that tradition,” he said.

Frog Hollow – the neighborhood nicknamed for the sounds from a nearby frog pond – was a neighborhood of working people. It was razed in the late 1960s to make way for University Hospital, the Veterans Administration Hospital and the Medical College of Georgia (now Georgia Health Sciences University).

If you want to know what Frog Hollow looked like, drive through Harrisburg. The two were very similar and very close to each other.

The land Frog Hollow once occupied was first subdivided into nine lots in 1868. It grew in stages into a residential neighborhood that contained 789 homes. Many of its roads and sidewalks were dirt until its last 15 years, Dorrill wrote.

He was born in the neighborhood in 1942 and lived there until he married and moved away at 19.

“I didn’t know it at the time, but I was living in the slums,” he recalled.

He remembers a happy childhood filled with games and delivering groceries for tips.

It was a simpler time, said Faye McNair, who organized this weekend’s Harrisburg-Frog Hollow reunion.

She grew up in Harrisburg but talks about both neighborhoods fondly.

“There wasn’t anything given to anyone back in those days, because there wasn’t no way to be helped. We didn’t have things like they have today, like assistance,” she said.

“People raised in Frog Hollow and Harrisburg, to me, they all had special bonds with each other. You were family, no matter what.”

The houses all had front porches, and that’s where people socialized, dated and communicated.

“You did everything on your porch,” McNair said. It’s something she feels is lost in today’s culture.

The children entertained themselves by playing hopscotch and baseball and making frog houses (dirt mounds by compressing dirt hills over your feet) and mud pies.

And neighbors didn’t hesitate to discipline any neighborhood child they saw doing wrong.

“It’s something you can’t recapture, and I don’t care where you live, I don’t think no one will ever have the feelings of the people that was raised in this era of time that I was raised. It’s just something you can’t buy,” she said.

When the city needed land for the medical complex, it looked at the profile for Frog Hollow and saw a blighted neighborhood. McNair said she was happy to get the hospitals but sad to see Frog Hollow go.

Residents began relocating in 1965. The last door closed in July 1968.

In the not-too-distant-future, Frog Hollow will become the stuff of city lore, because “there won’t be anyone left living that can say, ‘I once lived in Frog Hollow,’” Dorrill said.

HARRISBURG-FROG HOLLOW REUNION

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: American Legion Post 63, 90 Milledge Road

COST: $10

MORE INFORMATION: (706) 729-9826

NOTE: Anyone with memorabilia from Harrisburg or Frog Hollow is invited to bring it to share.


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