Roger S. Durham, Graffiti of the Franklin House, Athens, Georgia

Roger S. Durham, Graffiti of the Franklin House, Athens, Georgia

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Creator: Durham, Roger S.
Title: Roger S. Durham, Graffiti of the Franklin House, Athens, Georgia
Dates: 1870-1977
Quantity: 0.1 Linear feet (1 folder; housed with minor collections MS 1355 and MS 1357)
Abstract:The collection consists of Roger Durham's attempt to collect all available graffiti from the Franklin House. He has attempted in some cases to explain or fill in missing information. The Franklin House was for many years a hotel and from 1906-1976 was a hardware store. Included are some exterior and interior views of the building. This copy is number 4 of 4 copies.
Coll. Number: ms1363(m)

Biographical/Historical Note

Roger S. Durham was sent to Savannah when he was in the U.S. Army in 1969. During this time, he visited Fort McAllister and became intrigued with its history. Nine years later, while employed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, he returned to the fort as superintendent of the historic site. Durham has written extensively for magazines and newspapers, and he has published several books about Savannah and Fort McAllister's history.

The Franklin House, also known as the Old Athens Hotel and the Athens Hardware Company, is located at 464-480 East Broad Street. In 1843 Major William L. Mitchell, member of the University of Georgia Board of Trustees, bought the site at auction from the University and built the Franklin House, designed for commercial establishments on the ground floor with hotel accommodations on the upper floors. The building was constructed in three stages between 1845 and 1860. Initiation of mercantile activity preceded hotel operations, which began in June 1847. Additions to the rear were constructed before 1860, and the second-floor balconies (or porch) were probably removed during installation of the cast-iron storefront in 1886. As a prominent local hotel, the Franklin House served as a focal point for social and commercial activity as well as political and civic affairs. Governor Howell Cobb and Alexander H. Stephens, later Vice President of the Confederacy, were among its more noteworthy guests. Upon Major Mitchell's death in 1860, J. W. Nicholson purchased the building and continued its hotel operation until 1865. Subsequently, the Childs-Nickerson Company, later renamed the Athens Hardware Company, operated continuously in the Franklin House for 107 years until 1972, when the hardware firm relocated to North Thomas Street. With demolition impending in 1973, the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation launched a fundraising effort to acquire the building and secured a grant from the National Park Service to stabilize it. Athens businessman Hugh Fowler bought the property in 1977 and later sold it to Broad Street Associates of Tucker, Georgia. Their restoration of the building won an award from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation in 1983 for outstanding restoration and adaptive use. The Franklin House was documented by the Historic American Building Survey (GA-1122), is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (December 11, 1974) and locally designated as a Historic Landmark (March 6, 1990). Carl Vinson Institute of Government (Retrieved February 24, 2009)


Arranged in chronological order.

Index Terms

Franklin House (Athens, Ga.). -- History
Hardware stores--Georgia--Athens--History.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Roger S. Durham, Graffiti of the Franklin House, Athens, Georgia, 1870-1977. MS 1363. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries.

Related Material

Related materials available in the following collections of this repository: Roger S. Durham journeys.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing