Backstory and Context
Robert Preston Brooks (1881-1961) was a remarkable man
and contributed so much to the University throughout his life. He saw the
university transform from an all-white and all-male institution to a co-ed and integrated
school. He lived through the Great Depression, two World Wars, the Korean War, and
the beginning of involvement with Vietnam. His time as an undergraduate
introduced him to many prominent Georgians as he was a member of ATO, part of
the tennis team, Sphinx honorary society, and editor of the Red & Black.
Joseph Neel Reid (1885-1926) was born in Jacksonville, Alabama and later moved to Macon, Georgia. He was an apprentice with Curran Ellis and worked for W. F. Denny, who had an integral part in the development of Georgia architecture at the turn of the century. He studied at Columbia University in New York and traveled to Paris to study more. He returned to Atlanta and started a firm with Hentz and Norrman. After Norrman committed suicide the firm was renamed to Hentz and Reid becoming the leading Beaux-Arts architects in Atlanta. Adler would join the firm in 1911.
In 1995, the building suffered a devastating fire that destroyed the roof and extensively damaged the top three floors. It was the biggest fire that county had ever seen; it took over 100 fire fighters and six hours to extinguish. The building was evacuated, and no students or staff were harmed, however, one firefighter was hospitalized due to heat and smoke and another suffered a back injury. The fire was started accidentally in the attic by men working on the roof. Graduate students lost research and professors lost class materials. One single staff member was allowed access to recover materials; he brought back six paintings, worth a considerable amount, that were on loan the university museum. His ground floor office was a mess of fallen ceiling tiles and soaked from putting out the fire. He was extremely pleased he was able to recover the art. The restoration cost approximately $9.4 million and the roof was given a copper finish.
Reese, Krista. The Necessary Man. Terry College of Business. December 26, 2012. . https://www.terry.uga.edu/news/spotlights/robert-p-brooks.
Terry Facilities in Athens. Terry College of Business. . . https://www.terry.uga.edu/about/campuses/athens.
Craig, Robert M. Neel Reid (1885-1926). New Georgia Encyclopedia. December 11, 2014. . https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/arts-culture/neel-reid-1885-1926.
Funderburke, Richard D. W. F. Denny (1874-1905). New Georgia Encyclopedia. May 31, 2013. . https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/arts-culture/w-f-denny-1874-1905.