Tag Archives: Architect Francis L. Abreu

Colored Memorial School, 1923, Brunswick

In 1870, the Freedmen’s School was established as the first public school for African-Americans in Brunswick. Colored Memorial High School, designed by Cloister architect Francis L. Abreu, was built adjacent to the Freedmen’s School in 1923* and named to honor African-American veterans of World War I. The Freedmen’s School was replaced by Risley High School in 1936 and served the community until 1955 when a new Risley High School was built elsewhere. It was named Risley School, for Captain Douglas Gilbert Risley, who advocated for the school as the head of the Freedmen’s Bureau.

*- The 1922 date on the building is the date the cornerstone was laid by Dr. H. R. Butler.

National Register of Historic Places

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The Visitor’s Club, 1930, Brunswick

Brunswick Visitors Club Francis L Abreu Landmark Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coasatal Georgia USA 2015

When US 17, the Coastal Highway, was the main artery on the Atlantic seaboard from Virginia to Florida, the Brunswick Board of Trade & the Sea Island Company commissioned Francis L. Abreu to design this welcome center at the entrance to the St. Simons Causeway. Abreu, a famous architect in his own right, had collaborated with Addison Mizner on the original Cloister Hotel.

Brunswick GA Visitors Club Francis L Abreu Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

It was originally advertised as “Brunswick’s Greeting to Vacationists-Georgia’s Gateway to the Road to Romance and Recreation”. The building is in immediate need of preservation. We can only hope that Brunswick will recognize its importance and not have the same dismissive view of it that they’ve had of the historic Dart House, just down the road.

Brunsiwick GA Board of Trade Visitors Club Francis Abreu Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Abreu was born into a privileged Cuban-American background in 1896. His parents owned a sugar plantation and also kept a home in upstate New York. He was a member of the track team at Cornell University and served in the U. S. Navy in World War I.  After earning a degree in architecture, he moved to Fort Lauderdale, where his parents had relocated, and was one of the most active early builders in the city’s first real estate boom. He met his future wife, May Patterson on Sea Island in 1938. They later settled in Atlanta where they were active philanthropists.

Brunswick GA Visitors Club 1930 Mediterranean Revival Landmark Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

This is arguably the most prominent public building he designed still standing in Georgia. It should be preserved and National Register of Historic Places recognition sought.

Brunswick GA Board of Trade Building Side Elevation Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

http://abreufoundation.org/history/

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Filed under --GLYNN COUNTY GA--, Brunswick GA