ATHENS, Ga. — Driving along Broad Street into downtown Athens, a large gray anchor might be among the last thing people expect to see.
After all, the sea is how far away?
But the anchor is a monument to an important part of the Athens community — one that is about to be relegated to the history books: The Navy Supply Corps School.
The school has called Athens home since Jan. 15, 1954. However, it is scheduled to close by 2011 — selected for shuttering in 2005 as part of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.
The anchor, weighing in at roughly 4,000 pounds, came to Broad Street in 1990. The anchor for a destroyer ship was apparently donated because its bent shaft left it unusable for naval purposes.
During its history, the school’s site has been used for education. University High School built on the land was supposed to serve as a University of Georgia adjunct for freshmen and sophomores. Although it never happened, the location instead served as military institute for sons of Confederate families during the Civil War. Later, a school for young crippled Confederate veterans operated at the location.
The State Normal School, founded in 1891, helped educate the state’s teachers. The school also operated as the Georgia State Teachers College, later known as Coordinate College.
The Navy purchased the land in 1953. There were 15 buildings formerly used by the Normal School when the Navy bought the land; today, only seven of those buildings remain, though the Navy built additional structures. Among the historic buildings is Winnie Davis Hall, which dates to 1902. The structure was designed as a memorial to Confederacy President Jefferson Davis’ daughter after her death Sept. 18, 1898.
After the Navy School closes, the site will be used for a medical school, jointly developed by the University of Georgia and the Medical College of Georgia.