Monday, October 17, 2011

Butt Memorial Bridge - Augusta, Georgia

This was the first time that I had visited this bridge after living in Augusta for about six months.  When I first noticed it while taking one of the many speedways, I just thought this was just another  bridge... I thought wrong!

The Butt Memorial Bridge has a very unique history behind it.  Dedicated by President Taft in 1914
as the first and only memorial to the sinking of the Titanic in Georgia.  

Born and raised in Augusta, Archibald Butt led a less than desired childhood.  His father died when he was fourteen and left him to care for his mother, Pamela Boggs Butt, who was the sister to the Confederate General William Boggs, and his two siblings.  His first job as working as a librarian and spurred his compassion for reading and writing.  Later, after attending the University of the South inTennessee, he became a reporter in Washington DC for major newspapers in the South.  His reporting  earned him the position of the first Secretary to the American Embassy in Mexico.  Two days into the 20th Century, Butt was commissioned into the United States Army with the position of Captain.  Serving abroad in the Philippines and after returning to the States to Washington DC, he met Theodore Roosevelt.  In 1906, Butt was sent to Cuba to help maintain peace in the area and became Chief Military aide to Roosevelt after being recalled to the States.  In the spring of 1912, Taft encouraged his friend to take a vacation to recover and recuperate since his health had been deteriorating the past few years.  After taking a six-week vacation, Major Butt boarded the RMS Titanic.  As we all know the story, Major Archibald Butt met his fate on April 15, 1912.   
Starting in the 1960's, the Augusta officials contemplated draining the canal in order to build a superhighway, which would have led to the one and only memorial to the Titanic in the State of Georgia and a tribute to one of it's prominent citizens.  Although, with involvement of locals, the canal later became part of the historical district, but the old stone bridge suffered from neglect.  Without any available government funding, the local people took fundraising into their own hands and in the years 1994 and 1995 held summer concerts with the every so catchy title of "Butt Jam" and adopted the slogan "Save Our Butt".

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