15 Oct 2014 North Augusta Downtown Changing with Razing of old STAR Building
As The North Augusta Star celebrates its 60th birthday, a major part of the paper’s history was erased over the weekend.
‘Imagining the possibilities’: North Augusta’s downtown changing as former Star building torn down – North Augusta Star
The iconic Star building, located at the corner of E. Buena Vista and Georgia avenues, was fully torn down on Friday and Saturday, with demolition beginning on Thursday.
Though the paper was housed in many locations, it ended up making the small brick building its home until 2012.
“It wasn’t the size, shape or architecture of the building, but the printed words that emanated from within that made it a part of North Augusta’s history,” Mayor Lark Jones said.
In the beginning, the second floor of the building was used as an apartment, and was also at one time used to house firefighters who worked overnight shifts.
Sam and Mim Woodring bought The Star in the fall of 1954 for $1,000. The building, which was purchased by the Woodrings in the 1960s, was slated to be fully torn down Thursday afternoon, but a water pipe issue and standing water had to be resolved.
Phyllis Britt, former editor of The Star, reflected on the significance of the building.
“The building … has been synonymous with The Star newspaper for more than 40 years, and it was the face of The Star for nearly all of my career there,” she said. “As a result, the razing of this North Augusta icon is a sad milestone in the city’s history, from my perspective. At the same time, I look forward to seeing what is in store for our beloved corner. I take comfort in the knowledge that the developers of The Star site will certainly continue with the quality effort they have begun at Jackson Square, across the street. And maybe, just maybe, the new site will honor the newspaper’s legacy with a name like Woodring Square, as suggested early on by developer Brett Brannon, in memory of The Star’s own Sam and Mim Woodring.”
For many who grew up in North Augusta, the building was a symbol of North Augusta’s downtown. That’s exactly the case for Melissa Hanna, executive editor of both The Star and the Aiken Standard.
“The Star building is very iconic to me – it’s where I did my first internship, and my father swears The Star was the first thing I read aloud when I was a child,” she said. “While I know progress is needed and necessary, that building certainly is a piece of history in North Augusta, and I will miss seeing it – it’s always served as a reminder for me of where I began and how far I’ve come in my career.”
Not only was the building iconic for its look and location, but it housed some powerful and influential voices in the community.
“For years, that building was the center of telling the story of North Augusta,” Brenda Baratto, executive director of the Aiken County Historical Museum, said. “I didn’t know Sam, but I knew Mim very well. The impact and the passion they had for their mission was reflected throughout the history of North Augusta. For me, personally, it was a place I knew I could always go to find out what was happening.”
Next to the old Star building was the office of Dr. and Mrs. Carl Shealy (parents to local attorney Arthur Shealy), and that building will also be torn down in the coming days.
The empty lots will house amusement rides for the upcoming Jack-O-Lantern Jubilee later this month. It remains to be seen what will come of the empty lots in the coming months. Though the lots have been leased by private businesses, the potential growth and what could come is exciting from the City’s perspective.
“You don’t lose a building like that and not think of the history there,” City Administrator Todd Glover said. “But, at the same time, it is very exciting to see that our downtown is growing and imagining the possibilities.”
Source: The North Augusta Star Newspaper
Author: Scott Rodgers/News Editor