Garden Club members comprise the largest volunteer organization in the country. We make a huge difference in our communities, whether rural or urban. Did you know, the first garden club in America was founded in Athens, Georgia, by twelve members of the Ladies’ Garden Club in 1891? That club is still a member of the Garden Club of Georgia.
A reverence for history and the traditions of the past led to the formation of The Augusta Council of Garden Clubs, Inc. (ACGC). Its story began in 1931, when the members of the Sand Hills Garden Club undertook the project of restoring the Old Medical College of Ga. building and grounds. This building, erected in 1835 and noted not only for its historical contributions to Augusta and to Georgia, but also for the purity of its Greek Revival architecture, had fallen into such a state of disrepair that its very existence was threatened. This gave the club members an opportunity to serve the community.
An agreement was made and a lease signed for the site to house the garden club as well as function as a community center. During World War II, the USO rented space there in exchange for help with repairs. After the war, the USO closed, but there were many new garden clubs by then that wanted to share the responsibility of the restoration project.
In May, 1948, the Sand Hills Garden Club donned their white gloves and hats, and invited the other 13 clubs to a meeting. Thus the Augusta Council of Garden Clubs was founded, with one of its purposes to maintain the Medical College building as a Garden Center for the clubs’ use, but also for the community’s use and enjoyment.
The first president was Mrs. John Persall. In 1954, the AGCG was incorporated, and the Garden Center became both a cultural and educational center.
In 1987, the Medical College of Ga. Foundation expressed a desire to renovate the building. The ACGC decided to relinquish its claim to the building so that a total restoration might be accomplished. An auction was held to liquidate the furnishings of the building, and in September 1989, the final move from the building was made.
Throughout its history, the restoration and preservation of the Old Medical College of Ga. building had been a primary focus of the ACGC, but of equal importance had been its desire to serve as a means of coordinating the interests of its members, which in 1989 numbered 32 clubs with memberships totaling over 700.
Today, we have seventeen active clubs with a membership of 469.
The history of the ACGC is one of pride in and awareness of the beauty of the community it serves. Its history provides the foundation for a promising future.
Mrs. Ann Leonard:
Mrs. Betty Davis:
Mrs. Judy Kirkland:
Mrs. Pat Hathaway: 2009-2011
Mrs. Jil Powell:
Mrs. Karen Oliver:
Mrs. J. Cornell Patrick: 2003-2005
Mrs. Wallace Slater: 2000-2003
Mrs. M. M. Glover:
Mrs. Clarence R. Jones: 1995-1997
Mrs. Wayne S. Parsons: 1993-1995
Mrs. Joe E. Byrd:
Mrs. H. G. Blalock:
Mrs. Eugene S. Wolfe: 1987-1989
Mrs. H. G. Blalock:
Mrs. W. L. Inglett, Jr: 1983-1985
Mrs. William Wiseman: 1979-1983
Mrs. Guy Combs:
Mrs. Clarence R. Jones: 1975-1977
Mrs. Briscoe C. Cox:
Mrs. William Agostas: 1971-1973
Mrs. Morton Wittenberg: 1969-1971
Mrs. J. B. Evans:
Mrs. H. C. Marbut:
Mrs. Thomas Siebert: 1963-65
Mrs. Sherman Drawdy: 1961-63
Mrs. Walter J. Golosky: 1957-1961
Mrs. Amon McCormack: 1955-1957
Mrs. Zealy Cato:
Mrs. Henry Perkins:
Mrs. Rodney S. Cohen: 1950-1951
Mrs. Eugene D. Marks: 1949-1950
Mrs. John T. Persall: 1948-49