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Dec. 6 - Georgia Trust awards $15,000 to four preservation projects around the state

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

December 6, 2019 - The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation recently announced the recipients of its Callahan Incentive Grant, a matching grant given to nonprofit or government organizations undertaking the rehabilitation of a historic building or site in Georgia. Made possible by Barbara and Les Callahan, long-time supporters of the Georgia Trust, a total of $15,000 was awarded to the Fairview Elementary School in Cave Spring, Paradise Garden in Chattooga County, Zion Church in Talbotton, and the Cusseta Industrial High School in Chattahoochee County.

“The Georgia Trust is grateful to the Callahan family for its generous donation. We believe the grants contributed by them will help our recipients to accomplish their noteworthy preservation goals,” said Mark C. McDonald, president and CEO of the Georgia Trust.

The Callahan Incentive Grant was awarded to the following recipients:

  • The Fairview Elementary School (Cave Spring), a historic school building constructed in 1924 for African American students, received $3,750 to assist in the project’s final phase of exterior rehabilitation, which will enable the site to open to the public. The Fairview School served students through the Great Depression and transitioned students to equalization schools in the 1950s. While the school eventually closed in 1968, it has maintained a strong supporting community of alumni, families and descendants. In 2011, it was listed as a Places in Peril site by the Georgia Trust. The community has consistently worked to preserve and highlight the history of this site.
  • Paradise Garden (Chattooga County), the creation of one of America’s best known folk artists, Howard Finster, received $3,750 to assist in restoring the Cadillac Shed, which protects the one-of-a-kind car that served as a canvas for the prolific artist. Paradise Garden became a roadside park in the 1960s, and since then, Finster’s work has attracted thousands of visitors each year to witness his creative visionary art. Such a unique setting requires constant upkeep and restoration, and in 2010, it was listed on the Georgia Trust’s Places in Peril list.
  • The Zion Church (Talbotton), a remarkable example of the Carpenter Gothic style in Georgia, received $3,750 to assist in restoring the exterior. Built in 1848, Zion Church is an architectural masterpiece that remains a landmark in the city. It was listed by the Georgia Trust as a Places in Peril site in 2011. Despite no regular congregation, a handful of faithful volunteers have worked to maintain the building. Recently, ownership of the property was transferred to Zion Restoration, Inc., which is set to undertake the significant repair work that is needed.
  • The Cusseta Industrial High School (Chattahoochee County), one of the few remaining Rosenwald Schools in Georgia, received $3,750 to help fund the installation of wood floors, the final phase of a decade-long preservation effort. Nearly lost to decades of neglect, the historic school building was rescued by the Chattahoochee County Historic Preservation Society, who stepped in and undertook significant repairs; placed the school in the National Register of Historic Places; and now provides educational opportunities to local school children.

Founded in 1973, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation works for the preservation and revitalization of Georgia's diverse historic resources and advocates their appreciation, protection and use. 

As one of the country's leading statewide, nonprofit preservation organizations, the Trust generates community revitalization by finding buyers for endangered properties acquired by its Revolving Fund and raises awareness of other endangered historic resources through an annual listing of Georgia's "Places in Peril." The Trust recognizes preservation projects and individuals with its annual Preservation Awards and awards students and young professionals with the Neel Reid Prize and Elizabeth Lyon Fellowship. The Trust offers a variety of educational programs for adults and children, provides technical assistance to property owners and historic communities, advocates for funding, tax incentives and other laws aiding preservation efforts, and manages two house museums in Atlanta (Rhodes Hall) and Macon (Hay House). To learn more, visit

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