Originally created 01/01/00

Readers pick the century's top stories

Here is how readers of The Augusta Chronicle ranked the top 10 local stories of the 20th century:

  • In 1916, fire rips through downtown Augusta and changes the very face of the city. Instead of rebuilding, many people move to the outskirts, starting the slow decline of downtown, particularly its residential areas (46 votes).

  • In 1931, Bobby Jones announces his intention to create Augusta National Golf Club, which would become home of the Masters Tournament (25 votes)
  • In 1942, Camp Gordon opens its gates on Tobacco Road, bringing military dollars with it. An Army training airfield -- today called Augusta Regional Airport at Bush Field -- is built and named for instructor Donald C. Bush. (24 votes)
  • In 1950, plans are unveiled for a nuclear bomb plant, Savannah River Plant -- today known as Savannah River Site. (23 votes) P>

  • In 1970, Charles Oatman, a 16-year-old black youth, is beaten to death by other inmates at the Richmond County jail, setting off riots on Broad Street, Ninth Street and Laney-Walker Boulevard. Six people are killed, and the National Guard is brought in for a week. (16 votes)
  • In 1945, contracts are let for the surveying of a dam at Clarks Hill. Together with a second dam at Hartwell, it would supply electricity that would lure companies such as E-Z-GO Car Corp., Procter & Gamble and Monsanto Chemical Co. Today, the Clarks Hill dam is known as Thurmond Dam. (13 votes)
  • In 1908, a flood washes away the old South Carolina Railroad Bridge and wrecks the Augusta bridge at Fifth Street. In response to flooding, Augusta City Council decides to build a levee. (13 votes)
  • In 1996, Richmond County and the city of Augusta consolidate their governments. (9 votes)
  • In 1921, women vote for the first time, participating in Augusta's mayoral primary. The League of Women Voters of Augusta is formed. (9 votes)
  • In 1960, a group of Paine College students asks Augusta Mayor Millard Beckum to end segregation at Bell Auditorium and to allow black students to use John S. Davidson school, leading to the formation of a biracial committee to study race relations and integration. The students also ride in the white section of public buses, sue the bus company -- and win -- and stage a sit-in protest at lunch counters downtown. (8 votes)

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