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Vessel with area history on 'Places in Peril' list

POSTED: November 23, 2017 2:30 p.m.
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The Kit Jones has sat in drydock in Biloxi, MS, since 2013.

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ATLANTA — A ship built on Sapelo Island in 1939 that plied the waters off Coastal Georgia for years, is on the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2018 list of 10 Places in Peril in the state.

The Kit Jones, a 60-foot wood-hull tugboat built by then island owner and tobacco company heir R.J. Reynolds Jr., was named for Katharine Talbott Jones, the wife of Alfred W. Jones, friends of Reynolds. After being decommissioned as a U.S. Coast Guard fireboat during World War II, the Kit Jones returned to Reynolds and Sapelo Island, continuing her service as a freight hauler and as a passenger vessel that provided a lifeline to the mainland for the residents of the island. Later the Kit Jones supported a variety of marine research projects for the University of Georgia Marine Institute and University of Mississippi.

In 2013 the Kit Jones was put into drydock in Biloxi, MS, and for a number of years, faced an uncertain future. The McIntosh Rod and Gun Club, a quasi-governmental partnership of McIntosh County and private club members, acquired title to the Kit Jones in 2017 with the intention of returning it to Georgia. However, the vessel will need substantial stabilization work before it can be moved.

Other sites on the trust’s list include archeological digs into underground Savannah and the A.J. Gillen Department Store in Maxeys (Oglethorpe County); Bibb City Elementary School in Columbus (Muscogee County); Cuthbert Water Tower in Cuthbert (Randolph County); Fire Station No. 2 in Rome (Floyd County); Fort Valley Freight Depot in Fort Valley (Peach County); Foster-Thomason-Miller House in Madison (Morgan County); National Library Bindery Company in Atlanta (Fulton County); and Olmsted Linear Park Properties in Atlanta (DeKalb County).

"This is the Trust’s 13th annual Places in Peril list," said Mark C. McDonald, president and CEO of the trust. "We hope the list will continue to bring preservation solutions to Georgia’s imperiled historic resources by highlighting 10 representative sites."

Places in Peril is to raise awareness about Georgia’s historic, archaeological and cultural resources, including buildings, structures, districts, archaeological sites and cultural landscapes that are threatened by demolition, neglect, lack of maintenance, inappropriate development or insensitive public policy.

Through Places in Peril, the trust encourages owners and individuals, organizations and communities to employ preservation tools, financial resources and partnerships in order to reclaim, restore and revitalize historic properties that are in peril.

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