Short Takes: May/June 2020

Georgia Trust Honors Local Buildings

The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation in April announced five Augusta winners of its annual awards with four connected to historic buildings and the fifth honoring a local civic leader.

Founded in 1973, the Georgia Trust for 40 years has recognized significant preservation efforts across the Peach State. It also manages the Rhodes House Museum in Atlanta and the Hay House Museum in Macon. Visit

Here are the 2020 honorees:

941 Ellis St. Apartments
Excellence in Rehabilitation Award

TaxSlayer LLC Headquarters
945 Broad St.
Excellence in Rehabilitation Award

Meadow Garden
1320 Independence Drive
Near 13th Street and Walton Way
Excellence in Stewardship Award

Freedom’s Path Apartments
Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center
Off Wrightsboro Road near Daniel Field airport
Excellence in Rehabilitation Award

Anne Shelander Floyd
Mary Gregory Jewett Award

This top award was named after the Trust’s first executive director, for distinguished lifetime service in the field of preservation. The 2020 honoree, Floyd, a native of Brunswick, Ga., has worked for more than 30 years with the CSRA Regional Commission on grant funding and preservation projects in the 13 Georgia and South Carolina counties. She served for 10 years as the director of the Coastal Georgia Historical Society and the St. Simons Island Lighthouse Museum. Floyd has worked with many regional historic groups including being a charter member of the Kettle Creek Battlefield Association supporting the Revolutionary War site near Washington, Ga.


Glamping at several Georgia State Parks

Luxury-loving residents can experience Georgia’s natural beauty with a stay in a Yurt!

As we begin to emerge from weeks of quarantine, why not spend a weekend in the great outdoors…not a fan, no worries. Glamping has found its way to several of Georgia’s state parks.

Luxury-loving campers will enjoy the yurts at Cloudland Canyon, Red Top Mountain, High Falls, Fort Yargo, Tugaloo and Sweetwater Creek state parks.

Made of wood and canvas, yurts feature a deck, picnic table and grill/fire ring outside. Inside you will find furniture to sleep six, electrical outlets, large windows and locking doors. A water spigot is located outside. All you need to bring are sleeping bags or linens, cooking utensils, a cooler, food, and family or friends. Sorry, but no pets are allowed.

For more information visit


Sissie Morris: An Appreciation
By Kevin Grogan | Photo by Mark Albertin

The 62-year long marriage of Sissie and Billy Morris was an unusually harmonious, mutually rewarding, and fruitful one. Their remarkable partnership reflected a life of shared interests and a sincere commitment on the part of each of them to the individual interests of the other, a kind of bilateral loyalty.

An interest in art was something they had in common from the outset of their relationship.  They both found it compelling on an intellectual and emotional level, and from the earliest days of their marriage they set out to learn all they could about this shared interest.  They traveled widely, visiting museums and galleries wherever they went, and they made friends along the way with important art dealers, curators, and like-minded collectors who were, as they were, in pursuit of knowledge.

They came to know what they loved—they shared a keen interest in landscape painting and the art of the Impressionists—and when their means allowed they chose to share this personal enthusiasm with others institutionally through their gift to Augusta of the Morris Museum of Art. Billy says that they had “some lucky breaks” along the way, but there is no gainsaying the fact that it was their drive and their interest in doing something important for the city that they loved that led them to found the Museum.

Sissie was a founding trustee who served on the museum’s board from a time before there was actually a museum. Billy says, “she loved it, as she loved beautiful things.”  As importantly, she loved what it did for Augusta.

Trusteeship, particularly of cultural institutions, involves a complex mix of duties and responsibilities. The attributes that one always hopes to find in a good trustee—honesty, stability, dependability, devotion to the institution, and a willingness to devote time and energy on an impartial basis for the benefit of all—were qualities one found in Sissie Morris.  In her, they were coupled with such innate characteristics as kindness, generosity of spirit, intellectual curiosity, gentility, and a loving attitude toward others.  It is the combination of these things that really set her apart, that mark her as truly exemplary.  The things that identified Sissie Morris as a good trustee also identified her as a great human being.

Billy cites her extremely good judgement, her natural ability as a judge of character, her love of people, and her eagerness to help as critical in getting the Morris Museum underway.  In the years since, those characteristics helped to shape its nature and secure its place in this community.

Words cannot adequately convey the sense of loss her passing causes, nor are they sufficient to capture the gratitude we feel for a life so well and generously lived.



Front Porch Sittin’
By Jenny Lowery

In a “normal” Augusta spring, our camera rolls and social media feeds would be filled with pictures of the colorful traditions of Spring: the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Easter celebrations, sports, spring break, birthday celebrations, and pictures of milestone events like weddings, proms, Social Spring Formal, and graduations.  Instead, this Spring seems a little less joyful, maybe even mundane, as we social-distance, together. Even that little golf tournament up the road was strangely absent from our camera rolls and televisions this spring.   

With schools embracing Learn From Home models in mid-March, kids were sent home to their new “teachers” (looking at you, Mom and Dad!). Many businesses closed, and we were told to save lives by staying home. So we did, spending time surrounded by those we love and, if we are being honest, those we might love to miss right now, just a little bit.  We embraced social distancing to give our hospitals and vulnerable citizens a chance.

Since we have a break from our over-scheduled lives, I thought I would document this strange season by taking family “porch pictures,” to help spread a little happiness in this scary time. Some families chose silly; some chose traditional; some chose both. But the common theme spoken by all of them is that family time has been, mostly, very good. 

Toni and Casey Cliatt spend a lot of time working while managing the kids’ online learning. Rosie (11) practices basketball, and Cooper (8) takes karate lessons online, so they chose to “costume change” after traditional pictures to show how they quarantined.  She says, “we have learned to love and appreciate each other more; this time will  have forever changed us, and it definitely needed to be documented.”

Kimberly Dozier said, “I didn’t make anybody dress up… Jackson spends most days in his pajamas. Wilkes sometimes sits in his boxers all day long. Harrison gets dressed everyday.” While opting for a dress that day, normally, she says, “my uniform is workout clothes. Will actually does dress up for work everyday. I love that Harrison has his skateboard in the pictures as he loves to skateboard! We are trying to make lemonade out of lemons.”   

Brittany Johnston wanted Easter pictures of her girls, even though they could not go to church this year. We set off to capture some sweet moments, but not on a porch.  Augusta University and Trinity on the Hill were the backdrops for their session. Similarly, the normal Mohney family Easter egg hunt with all seven cousins was cancelled, but Rhett and Lyndsey took their kids to her parents’ house for a smaller one, while Nana and JoJo watched from the porch, distanced from the family. But they still smiled for pictures. 

Joey and Allison Barkdale gathered their kids, Joseph and Caroline, for a quick porch session, dressed as they always are at home. Joseph laughingly says they wanted to take porch pictures out of “pure boredom.” Home from college since March 13, Joseph says he is surprised by “how well we have been getting along. We thought we would be sick of each other.” The best part, he says, is that “we know we are doing our part in not spreading the virus by staying home as much as possible.” 

Megan and Chris Jackson’s family opted for pictures in an old field with the beautiful trees.  It was a bit of play time as they climbed into an old magnolia, dress clothes and all.  Megan says they decided to get pictures because  “the kids didn’t have school or any after school/evening activities. They didn’t even complain about it!”  While their family spends a lot of day time homeschooling and their evenings outside, Megan says, “the silver lining has definitely been all the time our family has spent together.“

Erin Deloach, a nurse at Augusta University Health, wanted pictures with her husband Aaron and their dog Hank to take a fun break from her busy schedule at the hospital.  They showed how they quarantine – relaxing with wine and smoothies and hanging out with the dog.  Even my mom embraced the idea, which shocked me.  She spends her quarantine time creating “yard art” (she’s pretty crafty), reading, and gardening. This project gave me a creative outlet as well, and (bonus!) I got to see some friends.

While not every family has it good at home, and some are working harder than ever in difficult conditions, many Augustans have found that being forced to slow down can be great for the family. What we love most about pictures on social media is seeing loved ones from afar, and now those that feel far away as we distance.  So continue to support our local businesses, help your neighbors, and take out the cameras. Show us how you quarantine, Augusta, and spread some joy! 

Appears in the May/June 2020 issue of Augusta Magazine.

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