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George Perkins Sr., an architect of Augusta's westward residential growth, dies at 95

Joe Hotchkiss
Augusta Chronicle
George E. Perkins Sr. sits in his backyard garden in this photo from 2003. The architect/builder died June 15 at age 95.

George E. Perkins Sr., the architect-builder whose construction of hundreds of west Augusta homes helped shape the city's postwar growth toward suburban Columbia County, has died at 95.

Perkins died June 15. His wife of 75 years, the former Joyce Banks, died less than three months before.

If Perkins' name doesn't sound familiar, the names of his many development projects should. Neighborhoods such as Waverly and Monclair became parts of the city of Augusta through Perkins' and his partners' design and construction.

He estimated in his career to have built some 800 homes and offices.

An Augusta native, Perkins grew up on Jenkins Street in Harrisburg, the son of barber O.W. Perkins and Beulah "Pat" Perkins, an interior decorator.

He began working for the Augusta architectural firm Eve and Stulb in January 1950, just weeks after two of his life's milestones: graduating from Georgia Tech with an architecture degree and marrying his wife.

But it was his acceptance of a junior partnership in The Bailey Co. homebuilding and development firm in 1955 that would chart his professional trajectory. At the time, Bailey was developing Westwick, a neighborhood of several dozen homes off Walton Way near where it meets Aumond Road.

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A September 1955 ad in The Augusta Chronicle advertised one of Westwick's three-bedroom, two-bath homes for $18,750. A randomly selected house in the same neighborhood in 2024 showed an appraised value of more than $500,000.

In 1957, The Bailey Co. split, separating the building component of the organization into Perkins Construction Co.

The two companies spent the late 1950s and early 1960s erecting neighborhood after neighborhood of affordable homes from west of Aumond Road to the Richmond County line, pushing Augusta's westward expansion to its literal limit.

Some subdivision names are seldom uttered today, such as Sheffield Place and Brynwood. Others are still with us, including Waverly and the ambitiously conceived Montclair, a 500-home development that took 11 years to complete. He also built adjoining subdivisions Crofton and, after creating the George Perkins Co. in 1973, Sugar Mill Woods.

A 5-acre tract Perkins bought in 1975 became the 25-building Professional Village in Martinez a decade later.

Retirement did little to slow Perkins down. A backyard garden with flowers and vegetables became a water-featured showpiece that he maintained for years.

"I see many of my neighbors walking for exercise," Perkins quipped to The Chronicle in 1999. "For me, gardening keeps me flexible, and flexibility is important for my golf game.'' By age 40 he had gotten so hooked on golf that it squeezed out another of his hobbies, hunting.

Nothing, however, stood in the way of the devoted family man's good works. Perkins' stewardship at First Baptist Church and Warren Church was exemplary, connecting with teens through Bible studies and backpacking trips. He helped found Augusta's chapter of Habitat for Humanity, designing and helping supervise the construction of its first house.

His proud membership in the Exchange Club of Augusta, for which he was a past president, lasted 67 years.

Perkins' memorial service was held Tuesday in Storey Chapel at First Baptist Church, with Dr. Will Dyer officiating. Interment was in the church's Cremation Garden.

Memorial contributions can be made to First Baptist Church of Augusta, 3500 Walton Way Ext., Augusta, GA 30909; or to The Exchange Club of Augusta Charity Fund, P.O. Box 3884, Augusta, GA 30914-3884.