SACRED HEART CULTURAL CENTER
Celebrating history, art and architecture
The year is 1874. Father Theodore Butler purchased a home and a lot
in Augusta, Georgia, belonging to Charles Rowland for $10,000.00 to
construct a building to be used as a church for the Catholic population
and a school
for children of all denominations. An unpretentious Victorian structure
served as a temporary facility for the church until work could begin
on a larger, more significant building for the group.
The occasion is momentous . . . December 2, 1900. Sacred Heart Catholic Church, built by
Jesuit priests, opened its doors for worship. Approaching and entering Sacred Heart transports
one’s senses to a European village of old where the cathedral was the repository for the
greatest natural talents and artistic treasures of the town. So it is with Sacred Heart.
The first bricks were laid for Sacred Heart Church in 1897. The
church was a magnificent house of worship for over seventy years. Listed
in the National Register of Historic Places, it is an architectural masterpiece. The
building features towering twin spires, graceful arches, fifteen distinctive
styles of brickwork, ninety-four stained glass windows, a barreled vaulted
ceiling and intricately carved Italian marble altars. Because of the
steady move by Augustans to the suburbs, the last mass was held in Sacred
Heart July 3, 1971.
The church then closed.
Conrad Schmidt restores Sacred Heart stained glass window
Through the generous commitment of the Peter S. Knox
family, the facility was rescued from sixteen years of vacancy, vandalism,
and near destruction. After extensive renovations, the building
was reopened in 1987 as the Sacred Heart Cultural Center. This important
historic landmark serves as a unique venue for social and cultural
events and is rented continuously throughout the year for weddings,
concerts and civic functions. The old Rectory building, the
former Convent building and the Sacred Heart School building house
the administrative offices of local arts groups and other non-profit
organizations, including the Greater Augusta Arts Council, Augusta
Ballet, Choral Society, Children’s Chorale, Symphony Orchestra Augusta,
the Augusta Players, CSR Girls Scouts and the Red Cross.
Sacred Heart offers the community a wide range of cultural opportunities. Choral
concerts, art exhibits, Christmas events, silent movies and an annual garden festival
fill the center with beauty and energy. Tours, both guided and self-led, take
place daily, and the courtyard serves as a peaceful place to rest and take in the
building’s exterior beauty. Visitors explore the building eager to learn
about its history, art and architecture. People from all over the world visit
Sacred Heart each year. From the magical moments they spend here, it is easily
seen that the rewards of this preservation effort are rich and varied.