‘Forgotten Augusta’ historical society helps revitalize town

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AUGUSTA, Ark. — Hidden behind magnolia trees sits the 155 year old Hyde House in downtown Augusta.

It’s vacant and rundown, but not forgotten.

“Some people collect things, we collect memories,” Michelle Lane said.

Three women started the historical society known as “Forgotten Augusta” last year.

Since then, the Hyde House is one of several projects they’re working to restore.

“The amount of work that’s happened in the last, I’d say, couple of months over the summer has been so much more than we’ve seen in the past 10 years,” Bonny Gregory said.

It was placed on the historical registry back in 2011.

A time-piece itself, it dates back to the Civil War and they’re repairing it with help from volunteers to turn it into a museum.

“These are all original doors and as you can see the plaster, it needs work,” Rebecca Boyles said giving us a tour of the home.

It will be a place to share stories dating back to the Civil War.

“Actually you can find cannon balls in the courthouse front yard,” Lane said.

They have a few 20th century tales, too.

“Elvis was here before he was super popular and he was kind of treated like a greaser!”

It will also help highlight other projects like the old Presbyterian church that was built during the Civil War. The original ceiling even painted in “Confederate Gray.” The pews, organ, pulpit and most of the stained glass are all original inside.

“It’s stories like this. This is forgotten Augusta!” Boyles said.

They are hoping to have their first display up by Christmas time, but it just depends on how quickly they can get the restorations finished using mostly volunteers and donations.
After that, they plan to have rotating exhibits.

Learn more about Forgotten Augusta and how you can participate here.

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