Historic Streetcars in Georgia


Figure 1. Covington Project Location Map
Source: ESRI World Imagery, 2009.

Figure 1

Widening and bike lane improvements are planned at the intersection of Emory Street and East George Street in Oxford, Georgia near Covington. The APE extends in all directions from the intersection. What appears to be a historic, two-story brick masonry building is located on the west side of the intersection within the APE (Figure 1). The project is located outside the boundaries of both the Oxford and Covington National Register Historic Districts.

Figure 2. Covington Courthouse and Opera House, c. 1910 Source: Vanishing Georgia

Figure 2

The building has not been previously surveyed and there is no record of it on GNAHRGIS. No previously recorded archaeological sites are located within the APE as well.
Figure 3. 1895 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Project Area Source: Digital Library of Georgia
Figure 3 Preliminary research of local histories of Covington and Newton County reveals that the Covington and Oxford Street Railway Company was incorporated in 1888 and operated three miles of horse-drawn streetcar lines between the two cities (Figure 2). In 1917, the Atlanta City Builder described the system as the last animal-powered line in operation in the United States. The 1895 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map identifies a streetcar stable just west of the intersection of Emory and East George Street (Figure 3).


Figure 4. Building condition noted during field survey.

Figure 4

The two-story brick and frame industrial building features arched bay windows. Window openings on the first story have been filled and covered with plywood, while those on the second story have been removed. The historic brick exterior is three-course American common bond. Sections of the composition roof have been destroyed, however parapets are still present. A frame shed addition is located on the eastern facade. The property is in a state of disrepair and is currently vacant (Figure 4).


Subsequent deed research confirmed that the commercial/industrial buildings were first constructed around 1912 by the Atlanta and Carolina Railway Company. Residential reuse has heavily altered the buildings from their former role with additions and alterations in cladding and windows. However, original brickwork remains evident. The track and bedding resources suggests two periods of streetcar activity. The girder rail in the street was likely in service during the Georgia Power's operation of the line from the 1920s through the abandonment of streetcar service in the 1940s, while the T-rail may represent an earlier period of operation associated with the gravel substrate identified within the private right-of-way.

The project area's proximity to the historic location of a recreation site increases the potential for the presence of streetcar-related resources. It is likely the potential off-street corridor of right-of-way was associated with streetcar traffic within the amusement park. Though renovation has impacted the integrity of buildings, when viewed collectively the architecture, preserved track, and private right-of-way landscape features would likely contribute to the significance of the Grant Park Historic District at the local level under Criteria A, C, and D in the areas of transportation, engineering, community planning and development, and architecture.