Backstory and Context
In 1956, a store expansion took the place of three neighboring storefronts down the 800 block of Broad Street. The project cost $500,000 and expanded the building to nearly 46,000 square feet. This new storefront was one of the most prominent stores downtown, and an Augusta Chronicle article sited the store as "the largest one story branch owned by the firm in the southeast". New furnishings were placed throughout the building, and a total of 13 "checkout booths" occupied the store's three entrances. Such additions can attest to the flourish of consumerism that swept downtown Augusta during the mid 50s to early 60s. A formal opening took place on Wednesday, Dec 5. several Woolworth's executives based in Atlanta took a trip to Augusta to attend the grand opening. The store would remain open until 9:00 PM through Saturday and offered special promotions for consumers.
Additionally, during the 1956 renovation, a luncheonette was added at the Ellis street entrance for the African American clients, due to segregation. Years later, on December 13, 1960, a civil rights demonstration happened in the Broad Street lunch counter which was then reserved only for white citizens. The demonstration was carried out by Paine College students which played a role in the desegregation of the lunch counter in 1962.
The department store closed its doors in 1991 and has sat vacant since. A current development is in progress.
- Historic Augusta Vertical Files: 800 Block Broad Street
- Historic Augusta Vertical Files: 802 Broad Street Woolworth's
- S. (1956, August 7). $500,000 expansion begun by Woolworth's store here. Augusta Chronicle.
- S. (1956, December 02). Woolworth to open formally Sunday. Augusta Chronicle.
- S. (1956, December 05). Woolworth to open larger store today. Augusta Chronicle.
- S. (1960, December 14). Sit-in violence erupts at variety store here. Augusta Chronicle.
Historic Augusta Vertical Files: 800 Block Broad Street
S. (1956, December 02). Woolworth to open formally Sunday. Augusta Chronicle.
Historic Augusta Vertical Files: 802 Broad Street Woolworth's