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Monticello Government Complex

Marguerite Williams Award

Article taken from Georgia Trust

Nation’s largest statewide non-profit preservation organization recognizes Monticello City Government complex with new award…

The Monticello City Hall and Government Complex is the first winner of a new statewide award established by The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. From a total of 20 Preservation Award recipients this year, The Georgia Trust chose the City Hall and Government Complex rehabilitation to win the first annual Marguerite Williams Award, based on its outstanding use of local and statewide partnerships in accomplishing a community-based historic preservation project. The Complex received the award, named for long-time preservation activist and supporter Marguerite Williams of Thomasville, and an award for Excellence in Rehabilitation at the Trust’s annual meeting April 20 in LaGrange, Ga.

The former Benton Supply Company and Department Store, c.1902, once the center of commercial activity in Jasper County, is located on Washington Street in downtown Monticello. Under the dynamic leadership of Mayor Susan Holmes, who is also a Georgia Trust trustee, the City of Monticello undertook the rehabilitation and restoration of two historic structures, the construction of an infill structure behind a historic brick facade, and the development of a landscaped courtyard.

The design was developed by a collaboration of architects that includes Craig Wertz, Ward Seymour and Associates, and Stang and Newdow, Inc.

The rehabilitation of the department store was based on a largely intact renovation from the 1930s. This building now serves as the Museum/Information Center and City Hall. The former Buggy Works and stable buildings, featuring what was once a spacious second floor-manufacturing area, now serves as the Jasper County Department of Family and Children’s Services.

The resurrection of this block as the Monticello City Hall and Government Complex has once again made these grand buildings a centerpiece in the public life of the citizens of Monticello. In addition to the architectural collaboration, partners include the state’s Department of Community Affairs, Better Hometown program and Department of Natural Resources, the Northeast Regional Development Center, and the Monticello city and Jasper County governments. The Monticello project is an ideal example of the powerful work that a public-private partnership can accomplish.

Accepting the award on behalf of the project were Mayor Susan Holmes, City Manager Walter Smith, and architect Craig Wertz.

Excellence in Rehabilitation awards recognize projects that make compatible use of a building through repair, alterations or additions while preserving features of the property that convey its historic value. This year the Trust presented 14 Excellence in Rehabilitation awards.

The Marguerite Williams Award is The Georgia Trust’s newest award, dedicated to the memory of founding trustee Marguerite Williams. The award will be given each year to the winner who, from among all of that year’s Excellence in Rehabilitation and Restoration winners, Trust officers determine has had the greatest impact on historic preservation in Georgia.

Williams served many roles at the Trust, including vice-chair of the board, an 18-year trustee, and its first and only honorary chairman. She provided challenge grants to found the Trust’s Main Street Design program and ‘Talking Walls,’ the Heritage Education program. In her hometown of Thomasville, she worked to restore dilapidated local neighborhoods and landmarks, including the Tockwotten neighborhood, and the East Side School, which later became the Thomasville Cultural Center. “Marguerite’s heart was firmly rooted in securing the best for Georgia and for The Georgia Trust,” said Trust President & CEO Greg Paxton. “She was generous with her time, generous with her donations and generous with her valuable opinions.”