Originally created 02/04/03

House's fall ends small piece of Augusta history

Whatever begins, also ends.

- Seneca

If you go to the 1200 block of Greene Street over the next day or so, you'll see what's left of the house built by Edward Burgess Hook 111 years ago.

What's left are three very tall chimneys and a few piles of bricks and boards.

What was once a home in one of Augusta's fashionable neighborhoods has been torn down to make way for a warehouse. Like the neighborhood around it, the house that once stood at what we now call 1219 Greene St. had seen better days.

Erick Montgomery, of Historic Augusta, says this used to be quite the place. Mr. Hook's neighbors in the late 1890s and early 1900s included U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph R. Lamar and U.S. Rep. George Barnes.

Mr. Hook no doubt knew them well, because he was an editor for The Augusta Chronicle. He is credited with writing most of this newspaper's editorial opinions in the 1890s. I've read some of them; they're not bad. He also appears to have written a column called By Hook or Crook.

A history written about this newspaper says he was known for his courtesy, meticulous work habits and fashionable dress. He also helped found the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association in 1903. That was the year that Mr. Hook left The Chronicle during an ownership change and became Augusta's city assessor.

It is said that he remained a fixture at the old City Hall a few blocks away (where the library stands today) until his death in the mid-1920s.

That's pretty much it.

Despite his modest popularity, I don't think the city ever named a street or building after Edward Burgess Hook. His exploits didn't make the history books or the jail docket.

He's just another of the hundreds of people who have had some influence on our town, then gradually been forgotten.

He has been gone for decades, and soon the three chimneys of the Queen Anne-style house he built for himself and his wife, Annie Belle, will be gone, too.

But if you stand on the street in front of 1219 Greene on a quiet winter afternoon, you can almost imagine what Edward and Annie Belle were thinking when they watched the house being built in 1892. I'm sure they were excited and proud. That was the beginning. Now it's the end.

Houses, like the people who build them, don't last forever.

Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 823-3344 or bkirby@augustachronicle.com.


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