COVINGTON - Brick Store, one of the oldest buildings in the county, was recently named to the National Register of Historic Places.
Newton County Landscape Architect Debbie Bell and members of the Newton County Historical Society have been working for about 18 months to get the designation, researching ownership and past uses of the building, which sits off U.S. Highway 278, just east of Ga. Highway 11.
"The National Register is really a recognition process. It doesn't restrict use of a property but it does protect property from encroaching development, for instance," Bell said.
A sign will be placed at the site notifying visitors of the designation.
Brick Store was built circa 1821 and served as the site for the first Superior Court of Newton County in 1822. The building was used as a community store through the 1930s and was a post office and Justice of the Peace hearings were held there.
Brick Store sits along an old wagon road and during the mid-19th century was the stopping point for stagecoaches headed from Charleston, S.C., to New Orleans.
The general store closed in 1935 and sat empty for decades, slowly decaying. In 1971, concerned the store would completely deteriorate, owner Charles Malvin Jordan deeded the landmark to the Newton County Historical Society, and members raised funds for a restoration.
The Society still owns the building, and is working to turn the site into a museum focusing on the history of the stagecoach and to restore the interior of the building to its original design.
The plan is still in the preliminary stages. The Historical Society has received a $9,000 Georgia Heritage Grant, which along with $6,000 in matching funds from the Society was used to prepare a historic structure report by a preservation architect to assess the building's condition and determine what repairs or modifications are needed.
The Historical Society also received a $250,000 grant from the Georgia Department of Transportation for the restoration and museum project.
Crystal Tatum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.