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Author: Jim Garvey

Growing Their Legacy

After 100 years, Augusta’s Thompson Farms is still going strong   It started on a baseball field. In the years after the Civil War, a new game called Base Ball – always written as two words in those days – became a national obsession. Boys laid out baseball diamonds in empty lots and fields and pastures in every town and village. Schools, mills, factories, and towns organized baseball clubs for friendly and not-so-friendly competition. Augusta had dozens of teams, White and Negro. In the 1870s and ‘80s, the Negro waiters of the Globe Hotel, Augusta Hotel, and National Hotel...

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The Sturgeon

They’re ugly. They’re prehistoric. They’re protected. And they’re on their way. Here come the sturgeon. There goes the neighborhood.   Well, that’s how some people react to a Corps of Engineers plan to restore habitat for the endangered fish by replacing the Lock and Dam near Bush Field with a rock weir and fish ladder to give the creatures access to Augusta’s front yard. Doing so would lower the pool at the city center by three feet, shrink the width of the Savannah River, and turn many expensive riverfront homes into much less expensive mud-front homes. To be fair,...

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The Bells of Augusta

Historian Ed Cashin called him “the loneliest man in Augusta.” Every day he would climb the 110 steps up the steel tower past the huge bell to the cupola 90 feet above the intersection of Greene and Eighth Streets. There hour after hour, while buggies and pedestrians passed and kids played on the green far below, he would watch over the city for signs of fire. If he spotted telltale smoke or flames, he would ring that bell, whose gong boomed over the whole city. “I think there were eight wards in the City, then, watched over from the...

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Longleaf Forest

If you live in the Augusta-Aiken area, your yard was once a piece of a forest. Your lawn and garden were the domain of the longleaf pine.  That longleaf forest covered 90 million acres. It ran all the way from the sand hills to the sea, down to Florida, up to Virginia, and out to Texas. No roads cut through it, just Indian trails. Augusta and Aiken stand at the western edge of that longleaf forest, at the fall line where the coastal plain gives way to the hilly Piedmont, and the longleaf pines give way to hardwoods. You...

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13,341 Blocks Off-Broadway

Photo courtesy of Mark Swanson   If the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, the road to Broadway is paved with inspiration, perspiration, and their companions: trepidation, exasperation, desperation, determination, and if all goes well, celebration. Mark Swanson knows that road. Every block of it. Figuring 20 New York City blocks to the mile, Augusta’s Le Chat Noir is about 13,341 blocks off-Broadway. That’s where Mark Swanson started with his first full-length musical, Misconception, an edgy Christmas romp written for Le Chat Noir in 2011. But his second musical, A Scythe of Time, made a leap of 13,337...

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