Sibley Mill's history was lure for redeveloper to make a new future

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Clay Boardman appreciates Sibley Mill for its connection to Augusta's past -- and its promising role in the city's future.

"People worked there from generation to generation, from cradle to grave," he said. "This was our region's first real McCoy industry."

Although the mill closed in 2006, Mr. Boardman, a redeveloper with an interest in historic buildings, plans to transform the 518,000-square-foot landmark into new uses, such as housing and office space.

"Our industrial canal here was the first in the South," he said. "That's the main reason the mill culture was established here."

Mr. Boardman, who enjoys showing the mill to visitors, also enjoys the Sibley's history -- and the property's role in the Civil War as the site of the Confederate Powderworks.

A few feet from the ornate mill's front door is the brick obelisk that once served as the chimney for the Powderworks, which included a two-mile-long cluster of buildings along the canal.

Faded marble tablets tell the story of the industrial complex closed in April 1865 after producing 2.75 million pounds of gunpowder that fueled most major battles of the Civil War.

The compound was razed a few years after the war's end, and the Sibley rose in its place, utilizing a half-million bricks salvaged from the Powderworks ruins.

"Over the next 20 years a lot of new history will be made in this area," Mr. Boardman said, noting that the adjoining Harrisburg area is ripe for redevelopment and reuse.

"Harrisburg is still very much untapped," he said. "But a lot of attention is being paid to it now, which is good."

Reach Rob Pavey at 868-1222, ext. 119 or rob.pavey@augustachronicle.com.



SIBLEY MILL FACTS


- Its namesake, Josiah Sibley, was a respected Augusta cotton broker whose son, William Sibley, was a partner in the venture.


- The Sibleys bought 550,000 bricks that remained after the demolition of the Confederate Powderworks, which was erected there during the Civil War.


- Construction cost was $788,452.


- Sibley Mill opened in 1882 with 536 looms, and expanded to 880 looms by 1885.




YOUR AUGUSTA


Readers share their favorite places to take guests:


"Few people visiting Augusta realize its great history and especially that it dates back to pre-Revolutionary times.


"Start at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, site of the Battle of Augusta, to begin our great country's history. Proceed to Meadow Garden, home of George Walton, one of Georgia's three signers of the Declaration of Independence, then to the Signers' Monument where Walton, Button Gwinnett and Lyman Hall are honored.


"A drive around the area will showcase many beautiful homes, and a trip to Redcliffe Plantation and the Aiken area will further add to a visitor's enjoyment."-- Frankie Rush Nevins

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE LOCAL PLACE? Why not share it: bill. kirby@augustachronicle.com

Comments (8) Add comment
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JimCox
7
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JimCox 04/12/08 - 07:52 am
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How much section 8 housing

How much section 8 housing will he have at Sibley Mill? What he and Ed Tarver did to Dave Barbee is inexcusable. Dave told the truth and has been demonized for it. The fact is Augusta's relative lack of growth compared to the rest of Georgia will cost Richmond County both House and Senate seats after the 2010 census, and there is nothing the dems in Richmond County can do to stop it.

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 04/12/08 - 11:29 am
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Gentrification is the path to

Gentrification is the path to a better Harrisburg community. Join with H.O.N.G.K.O.N.G. members and promote gentrification now.
www.hongkongaugustaga.org

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 04/12/08 - 11:35 am
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True. Section 8 is a mess.

True. Section 8 is a mess. Section 8 needs an administrative overhaul. Anyone who gets section 8 should be required to take drug screening tests. There are too many low life ganster want to bees who are enabled via section 8.
www.hongkongaugustaga.org

iletuknow
8
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iletuknow 04/12/08 - 03:58 pm
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For the poor people (and

For the poor people (and children) who suffered there with no benefits,deplorable working conditions and peanuts for pay the site should rank right up there with Auschwitz.

sneaky pete
0
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sneaky pete 04/12/08 - 09:14 pm
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I read this hongkongaugusta

I read this hongkongaugusta thing. The effort seems tremendous and the message is pointed, but good lord, who wrote that? One thing taught to me in business was that in order to be taken professionally, do it professionally. Some of the sentences are jumbles and the meaning is missed. Give it another try sarge. I agree with you on the section 8's. Good luck.

Give credit where due
2
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Give credit where due 04/13/08 - 12:47 am
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My Grandfather was a security

My Grandfather was a security guard at Sibley for many years , he also planted the tree outside of the Enterprise Mill as a small boy , that was cut down a few years back. They use to decorate it at Christmas every year, and many mill employees often ate their lunch under it. Thanks Mr Boardman for preserving Sibley Mill. It holds many memories for my family, as many worked there over the years.

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 04/13/08 - 01:52 am
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H.O.N.G.K.O.N.G first annual

H.O.N.G.K.O.N.G first annual Harrisburg Curb Appeal improvement contest will began April 8th. Take a before picture of the front your house and do improvements with the house front porch and or the yard. This may be by clearing your front porch and picking up the trash in your front yard. Or in some cases you may paint, clean, plant shrubs, flowers, bulbs any plant material. Make your home look better and prove it with a before and after photo and you may be our winner. So for Pratt Dudley had given us a nice shop vac and Gator Cochen of Gator construction has given a piece of yard art for the winner. We are working to bring more prizes to the table so get busy and take that before photo and then make the improvement.
The contest will conclude on Memorial Day. Please talk this up folks.

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 04/13/08 - 09:03 am
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J-10 Jeep, regarding your

J-10 Jeep, regarding your post: I agree with you about Barbee. I realize there are some that will refuse to see the truth.

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