The Way We Were: 1950s downtown

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Look real close and you can see the late 1950s.

This undated aerial photo from The Chronicle’s archives looks west over downtown Augusta and shows a city on the verge of change.

Gordon Highway is under construction in the foreground, cutting a wide swath through the 400 blocks of what was then Augusta’s Pinch Gut neighborhood. Union Station is still open for train travelers where the downtown post office now stands. Perhaps the easiest building to spot is the gleaming white, brand-new Augusta-Richmond County Municipal Building, which must be near completion.

If you look closely behind it, you can make out the 140-year-old county courthouse,
which appears to be in the early stages of demolition and on its way to becoming a parking lot.

MEMORIES RECALLED: The late Linda Beazley, the longtime county voting director, said when she began her career in that old courthouse, it was dark and gloomy with chipping paint and peeling wallpaper, and roof leaks everywhere.

DO YOU REMEMBER? What do you recall about the old county courthouse? The former train station? The opening of Gordon Highway? Send an e-mail to

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Gage Creed
Gage Creed 06/22/14 - 08:11 pm
Train Station

In the late 70's when the JBA (Civic Center) was being built, we could smell diesel fuel in the ground from the train station when we were excavating for the underground installation.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 06/22/14 - 08:57 pm

I'd say Broad Street is better now with the trees in the medians and the sunken parking lots.

Just My Opinion
Just My Opinion 06/23/14 - 04:39 am
Not so sure I'd agree with

Not so sure I'd agree with you, LL. Everytime I've looked at that picture, I see the same cars parked in the same spaces...and they've been there ALL DAY!!! Now that's PROOF that Broad Street has a problem with parking spaces!

seenitB4 06/23/14 - 07:25 am
Well now

Looks cleaner.

itsanotherday1 06/23/14 - 10:49 am
LL is right, it is

LL is right, it is aesthetically better, though it may not be better practically.

nocnoc 06/23/14 - 06:01 pm
remember being 3 or 4 and seeing the Gordon Hwy Bridge opened

Remember when many now blocked off streets were still open.
Remember when 5th street was the way into downtown & into SC.

Want to say I remember the Augusta Train Station where the Federal buildings & CIVIC Center now sit 1959-60 as a kid dropping off dad a PCS assignment.

Remember when, If you want something, it was on Broad St.
Rayless, HL Greens, Woolworth, Ray's Music Center, Augusta News Stand, & Friedmans Jewelers .

I still say today, the Rear Lunch Counter in Woolworth's cooked better hamburgers and fires.

Augusta sure has changed a lot.

No matter how many $MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars they waste on downtown has seen its better days. The $$$$ has moved to Columbia Co.

Downtown is mostly Yuppie Coffee & beer places now.

Butterman 06/24/14 - 12:53 pm
LL is partially right

The trees in the median are better aesthetically, but the parking pits are.... well the pits. Remember this photo was taken when downtown Augusta was at its apex. Once the parking pits were installed, downtown went on a steady decline. I'm not saying the pits had everything to do with it. The malls and the migration to Columbia County had a lot to do with downtown turning into a ghost town, but the pits certainly did not help the situation.. they removed parking spaces from Broad Street. I say remove the pits.. keep a row of trees in the middle of the street as sort of a median barrier and return street level median parking back to Broad.

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