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Old South Barbecue was culinary highlight of Masters Week

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Kathryn Clark and Audrey Collier made posters for the April 15, 1973, barbecue.  Nelson Harris
Nelson Harris
Kathryn Clark and Audrey Collier made posters for the April 15, 1973, barbecue.

For nearly two decades during Masters Week, the Julian Smith Casino was transformed into a Southern garden with a large mural of an antebellum home, magnolia leaves and Spanish moss flanking its stone walls. Teenage girls wearing hoopskirt dresses helped their mothers serve supper to Augusta families and out-of-town visitors.

The Old South Barbecue was conceived by the Chamber of Commerce to help relieve the handful of Augusta restaurants. Originally, it was held Friday night, and after a few years a second dinner on Saturday was added.

The Women’s Board of University Hospital put on the first dinner in 1960. Tickets cost $2.50, according to The Augusta Chronicle archives.

“Back then, there were very few places to eat,” said Ann Boardman, a former Women’s Board member. “(The barbecue) was so great because it was a place to take your company.”

Boardman remembered standing behind long tables serving food to large crowds. Men were sitting around the barbecue pit basting pigs, she said.

“There were long benches. You took a seat wherever you could find one,” said Peggy Capers, of Augusta.

Besides the barbecue, which was served “family style,” people entertained in their homes or ate at The Augusta Country Club or the Elks Lodge during Masters Week, Capers said.

The Old South Barbecue continued annually, with proceeds from the annual barbecue helping modernize University Hospital. Electric beds, wheelchairs, furnishings for the lobby and maternity wing, and a color television were among the upgrades.

The Optimist Club took over sponsorship of the dinner in the late 1970s. The barbecue eventually stopped, but a dinner event
was later held at Sacred Heart Cultural Center.

Teeny Newman, the wife of former Augusta Mayor Lewis “Pop” Newman, remembers taking two friends who were visiting from New England to the barbecue.

It was the first time the guests had eaten pork barbecue, which was unique to Southern states at that time, instead of beef barbecue, she said.

“They were probably stunned. They couldn’t help but say something about the pork,” Newman said with a laugh. “I don’t think they disliked it, but I don’t know if we ever went again.”


APRIL 7: The Masters Week parade was a short-lived tradition to welcome visitors.

MONDAY: A giant hill near Augusta National’s 16th hole was the meeting place for young people from the late 1960s to the 1980s.

TUESDAY: Augusta’s premier fine-dining restaurant for several decades, the old Town Tavern was flooded with guests and golfers.

WEDNESDAY: Masters fashion has evolved from “Sunday best” to more casual styles.

THURSDAY: Winter resorts such as the Bon Air Vanderbilt were the place for drinking, dancing and celebrities in the early days.

TODAY: The Old South Barbecue at Julian Smith Casino served supper to Augustans and guests.

SATURDAY: Chronicle readers share memories of the tournament’s early days.

SUNDAY: Women from Georgia and South Carolina competed in the Miss Golf beauty pageant.

Comments (2) Add comment
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JENNPAT 04/07/13 - 03:24 pm
old memories

how well i remember the b.b.q that they put on during the Masters i think someone needs too bring some of the old things back that we had during the Masters in the old days It made the Masters have more meaning .I can't go to the Masters anymore but i loved it the place is so beautiful it's like being in another town

jrbfromga 04/07/13 - 05:05 pm
I worked there with Mrs. Barton

She was the best. She worked my butt off, but we kept everyone fed. My mother was a server with the Eastern Star, but I was a "kitchen boy", fetching food continuously for the patrons. It was very gratifying, especially the thanks for a job well done.

scorehouse 04/07/13 - 07:05 pm
world's best bar-b-que

the lady in charge was Myrtle Barton. her bar-b-que was famous. every time a politician,charity, school,etc, needed a fund raiser Mrs. Barton got the call. I remember being able to go behind the scene and see the cooks in action. pit after pit with whole hogs cooking with mopping attendants at the ready. the smell of hogs cooking over hot hickory coals whilst being liberally basted with vinegar, salt water and pepper was fantastic. then to top it off was the her sauce, potato salad and cole slaw. legend has it she took her recipes to her grave. another Augusta treasure gone with the wind.

Just My Opinion
Just My Opinion 04/07/13 - 07:13 pm
I loved the video and hearing

I loved the video and hearing Ms. Boardman speak about the event. You can just see her face light up as she reminisces. It honestly makes me feel that my family and I have missed out on those events and times. I think that the paper...or someone...should make a video about the "old days" of Augusta, and make sure they interview all these folks who can add that needed touch of "color" to the stories! Many years ago, the Chronicle put out a video called "Augusta Remembers", and it was something like I'm talking about, but it was from something like 1900 to 1930's....GREAT video. I also think that Augusta should put on more "events" like this for the people. Well, in retrospect, I guess there are things like the annual Master's Breakfast at Warren Baptist Church and the Mayor's thing downtown (sorry, I can't recall the name right now). Those are certainly good things.

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