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Savannah's Law House on peril list

Georgia Trust releases 2012 list

POSTED: October 25, 2011 10:14 a.m.
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The W.W. Law House is at 710 Victory Drive in Savannah's Cuyler-Brownville Historic Distirct.

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SAVANNAH - The W.W. Law House, 710 W. Victory Dr. in Savannah, has been named to The Georgia Trust's 2012 Places in Peril list, which identifies 10 Peach State historic sites threatened by demolition, neglect, lack of maintenance, inappropriate development or insensitive public policy. The Georgia Trust made the official announcement earlier today.

The former home of the late Savannah Civil Rights leader W.W. Law made the 2012 list in recognition of its important place in Georgia history. Law's Cuyler-Brownville Historic District bungalow is the first Savannah structure to be included on the Places in Peril list since 2009 and the only Savannah-area property to make the 2012 list.

"Mr. W.W. Law was a key figure in the civil rights and preservation movements, and The Georgia Trust is absolutely dedicated to the partnership to preserve his historic home in Savannah," said Mark C. McDonald, president and CEO of the trust.

The house was built in the 1940s and was purchased by W. W. Law for his mother. Law continued to reside in the Victory Drive bungalow until his death in 2002. Over time, Law housed his personal collection of archives in the structure, which now requires stabilization of the center beam and floor joists due to the massive weight of the collection. The collection has since been relocated to the W.W. Law Foundation headquarters at 226 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Savannah, which provides a stable and environmentally-controlled location.

Historic Savannah Foundation, a preservation organization committed to protecting Savannah's heritage, recently led a successful $15,000 campaign to secure funds for emergency stabilization for the W.W. Law House. HSF received a matching pledge of $5,000 from the Savannah Community Foundation to help effect repairs in August. The pledge from the foundation's Immediate Needs Fund matched $5,000 from HSF's Revolving Fund and another $5,000 raised by the W.W. Law Foundation.

"The W.W. Law House is a true cultural treasure in the Cuyler-Brownville Historic District, but it is in urgent need of stabilization and repairs," said Daniel Carey, president and CEO of Historic Savannah Foundation. "We have joined forces with other local organizations to ensure this building's future. HSF is thrilled that this house will receive statewide attention via the Places in Peril listing, and we pledge to secure it so it does not make the list next year."

Structural repairs on the house will begin in late October, with work expected to be completed by the end of the year. Carroll Construction of Savannah serves as the general contractor for the renovations. Thomas & Hutton is the civil engineer for the project.

W.W. Law fought for equality side-by-side with Martin Luther King, Jr. and worked tirelessly in Savannah, where he served as the local president of the NAACP for 26 years and led meetings, sit-ins and boycotts in the name of equality. He also believed in preserving and celebrating African-American history and culture in Savannah, saving a historical African-American cemetery, launching the Savannah Negro Heritage Trail, restoring the King-Tisdell Cottage and creating a Civil Rights Museum. Law's life-long efforts were recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation with an Honor Award in 1998.

The Places in Peril list raises awareness about Georgia's significant historic, archaeological and cultural resources, including buildings, structures, districts, archaeological sites and cultural landscapes. Through this program, The Georgia Trust encourages owners and individuals, organizations and communities to employ preservation tools, partnerships and resources necessary to preserve and utilize selected historic properties in peril.

Historic properties are selected for listing based on several criteria. Sites must be listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places or the Georgia Register of Historic Places. Sites must be subject to a serious threat to their existence or historical, architectural and/or archeological integrity. There must be a demonstrable level of community commitment and support for the preservation of listed sites.



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