Believed to be forged in 1857 as part of a larger fence system, UGA’s wrought-iron arch was modeled after the emblem on the Great Seal of the State of Georgia. Each pillar represents one of the university’s founding principles: wisdom, justice and moderation. While it has come to stand as a symbol for the university, its initial use was purely functional. The Arch acted as a gate between North Campus and Broad Street and kept roving cattle from eating the university’s lawn. It wasn’t until the 20th century that “the gate” became known as “The Arch.”
North Campus Quad
North Campus Quad is lined with historic buildings. A walk from the Arch to the Main Library will provide you a view of ancient trees, lush gardens and some of the oldest structures on campus. In fact, the university partnered with the UGA Athletic Association to undergo a three-month initiative in 2016 to preserve and restore the notable patch of green. The quad, also called the North Campus lawn, was included as an open green space in the 1801 construction plans for the first permanent building on campus — Franklin College, which has since been preserved and dubbed Old College. A few notable North Campus sites:
The Chapel and Chapel Bell
Built in 1832, the Chapel holds gorgeous murals and is worth a tour of its own, as it once was the center of most campus activities. During the Civil War, it even served as an army hospital. The Chapel Bell formerly rested in a crown tower atop the building and rang at the beginning and end of class, for religious services and for emergencies. By 1913, wood rot had set in, forcing officials to move the bell behind the building where it is now rung for any and all Bulldog victories.
The first UGA building, this 1806 brick structure at the center of North Campus has served many functions over the past two centuries. It has housed dormitories, classrooms, dining halls and military barracks. Originally called Franklin College, the building now is, appropriately, the home of Franklin College of Arts and Sciences administrative offices.
A Matter of Debate
Facing each other across the quad, Demosthenian Hall (1824) and Phi Kappa HalL (1836) have hosted a centuries-old rivalry between debate societies that splintered apart.
Along the North Quad walk is the Holmes-Hunter Academic Building, renamed in 2001 in honor of Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter, who integrated the university in 1961.
Science Hall originally was erected in this spot in the 1890s, but a fire led to its destruction. The current building was erected on the same foundation in 1903. It is named for William Terrell, who served in the U.S. Congress and endowed an agricultural chemistry professorship. Today, the graceful brick structure houses the admissions department.
Founders Memorial Garden
Dedicated to the 12 founders of the Ladies’ Garden Club of Athens, which was the first garden club in the U.S., this garden serves as a display of gorgeous landscaping and as a workspace for horticulture students. Sitting on 2.5 acres, the site includes a formal boxwood garden, two courtyards, a terrace, a perennial garden and an arboretum. The Founders Garden is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was recognized in 1999 by the American Society of Landscape Architects as one of the top 100 “landscapes of significance” within the United States.
Before the days of Sanford Stadium, there was Herty Field. On Jan. 30, 1892, the first intercollegiate football game in Georgia took place on this stretch of lawn, where Georgia beat Mercer University 50-0. Home games were played there until 1911. Today, Herty is an open field with a fountain and benches, a popular backdrop for wedding and graduation photos. Back Story: The field is named for Charles H. Herty, a former chemistry professor and sports fanatic who introduced football to students and served as an unofficial coach in the late 1800s.
Jackson Street Cemetery
Just across the street from the Main Library sits the Jackson Street Cemetery, with around 800 grave spaces that include two Revolutionary War soldiers and a former UGA president from the early 1800s. Also known as the Old Athens Cemetery, it was one of the city’s original resting places, with burial plots available for all Athens citizens. The markers in the cemetery range from uninscribed local field stones to imported marble. In 2009, the cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The last known burial took place in 1898, though the cemetery officially closed in 1856 when the Oconee Hill Cemetery was opened. The cemetery, now 2.5 acres, once extended beyond its current area, as was underscored when 2015 renovations at nearby Baldwin Hall revealed an additional 105 grave spaces. The remains were moved to Oconee Hill Cemetery, and researchers concluded a majority of the individuals found were slaves or former slaves. Since the discovery, the university has commemorated these Athenians and other enslaved individuals with the Baldwin Hall Memorial on campus.
This article originally appeared in the spring 2019 Visitors Guide