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History buffs wanted
Stevens Odom Lovette
Dressed in colonial clothes, Phil Odom stands between county Commissioner Marion Stevens and commissioners Chairman Donald Lovett. - photo by Photo by Tiffany King

The Liberty County Cultural and Historical Resource Committee is looking for new members.

Phil Odom, the committee chairman, said he wants people who have a special interest and knowledge in historical preservation to join the panel. The historical resource committee is part of Georgia’s qualified local government plan, Odom said.

The committee is looking for members who are knowledgeable in disciplines that include architecture, history, planning, archaeology, American civilization, cultural geography, cultural anthropology, folklore, curation, real-estate law or landscape architecture.

"We are a recommending body, not an authoritative body," Odom said. "Our job is to review, compile and … recommend to local governing bodies specific places, districts, sites, building, structures, works of art to be designated by ordinance as historic properties or historic districts."

Responsibilities of the committee are coordinated with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Historic Preservation Division. The committee sends DNR an annual report of activities, goals and an inventory of all properties that have the potential of being designated as historic. The inventory is an electronic database maintained by the Liberty County Historical Society. Education is another function of the committee, and presentations are given at different historical sites.

Odom said Allenhurst is the first community in Liberty County to create a historic district, which the committee suggested. The committee has presented some recommendations to Hinesville, according to Odom, and is still doing research about the area.

Flemington will be the next city the panel approaches. Flemington already has some cultural ordinances in place, but does not have a designated historic district, he said. The committee plans to present its recommendations for cultural ordinances and historic districts to every city in Liberty County.

Recommendations are based on the availability of funds from the Special Local Options Sales Tax, Odom said.

"Part of SPLOST goes to all of our museums in the county," Odom said. "SPLOST money has been going into these museums that help drive tourism and brings money into our area. The SPLOST coming up is not just about big buildings. It’s about revenue coming in and through the historical and cultural and marketing and keeping a historical inventory."

Odom said the committee also does not want to create a burden on landowners. It is there to provide guidance, suggestions and help find grant programs for financial assistance.

Some Hinesville history

Odom shared some history about Hinesville’s historic district.

He said that from 1837 to 1969, the city limit was a circle 1 mile in diameter from the center of the Liberty County Historic Courthouse, which includes Gen Stewart Way, Gen. Screven Way and Oglethorpe Highway.

"It takes in the National Guard Armory where the horses used to be boarded when we were a Calvary National Guard unit," Odom said. "We had a 5th Georgia Regimental Calvary. That was our National Guard unit up until the Second World War. Where the National Guard building sits, there has always been a Guard building there of some type. This (current) one was built in the ’50s. The one built before that was in the early 1900s; it was a wooden structure."

The horse stables were located behind the current football and running track at Liberty Independent Troop Park, and the parade ground was between the Troop 500 Boy Scout camp and baseball field, he said.

"They used to get out there Sunday afternoon, once a month, do their parade, militia work and that was all there, and it fit inside the city limits. That’s part of our history," Odom said.

The committee meets on the first Monday, every other month at 11:30 a.m. in the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission office, located in the historic courthouse.

Residents are encouraged to apply. To fill out an application, visit the Board of Commissioners’ office in the Courthouse Annex building.

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