From an Arsenal to a University: architecture in Augusta's Summerville
A few minutes away from the golf buzz surrounding The Masters tournament in Augusta, the Summerville neighborhood is one of the South's most beautiful residential districts. From Antebellum Greek Revival to Tudor and Italianate mansions, the streets are a leafy compendium of 19th and early 20th century architecture.
In the middle of it all is the campus of Augusta University, which began as an Arsenal in the 1820's. The Federal-style Commandant's House would later serve as the boyhood home of noted writer Stephen Vincent Benét, and after the arsenal became a college campus, the stately structure became the President's House. Through the Civil War, and even up through World War II, war matériel was manufactured, and German POWs were even housed here.
During the late 19th-century, Summerville became a popular winter vacation destination for Northerners fleeing the cold. Today, even with the university campus, it's a quiet area, at its best in spring when the azaleas and dogwoods are in full bloom.