Locust Grove Historic District listed in National Register

Special to The Times

The Locust Grove Historic District, located within the city limits of Locust Grove has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The district is roughly centered on State Route 42 and the railroad corridor between Hi-Hope Drive and Grove Road. The nomination was sponsored by the City of Locust Grove.

The Locust Grove Historic District is a relatively intact railroad community located in southern Henry County, about 35 miles south of Atlanta. The town of Locust Grove was settled as a rural frontier village prior to the 1850s. Following the arrival of the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad in 1882, the small town began to prosper as a center of commerce for the surrounding agricultural-based economy, which relied on the distribution of cotton, peaches, and other farm produce.

Locust Grove includes commercial and residential areas that are primarily oriented alongside or near the railroad corridor, which bisects the district. Commercial buildings are concentrated on one side of a two-block area along State Route 42, parallel to Cleveland Street and the railroad line. Several warehouses are located on secondary streets. Residential areas extend outward in several directions. Larger lots tend to be on the periphery, where they reflect residual agricultural uses.

Historic houses in the district represent common late 19th to early 20th century types and styles, with a few mid-20th century examples also present. Some houses feature Victorian-era details or pared-down classical details; but many buildings in the district have little ornamentation. Community landmark buildings include the Locust Grove Institute Academic Building (1905, now city offices), Locust Grove Baptist Church (1907), Shoal Creek Baptist Church (re-built, 1964), Locust Grove Elementary School (1955), and the Locust Grove Woman’s Club (founded 1914, building constructed 1955). The district also includes two historic cemeteries. The areas outside of the district are characterized by a mix of agricultural fields, remnants of pecan orchards, new residential subdivisions, and a large outlet mall.

The National Register of Historic Places is our country's official list of historic buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts worthy of preservation. The National Register provides formal recognition of a property's architectural, historical, or archaeological significance. It also identifies historic properties for planning purposes, and insures that these properties will be considered in the planning of state or federally assisted projects. National Register listing encourages preservation of historic properties through public awareness, federal and state tax incentives, and grants. Listing in the National Register does not place obligations or restrictions on the use, treatment, transfer, or disposition of private property.