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DDA and RAHF complete historic plaque program

Thursday, June 8, 2023–1:46 p.m.

-David Crowder, WRGA News-

If you frequent Broad Street, you may have noticed plaques on certain buildings, commemorating the history of the structure. The Historic Plaque Program began a number of years ago, as a nod to all of the historic preservation work downtown. On Thursday, the Rome Downtown Development Authority celebrated the 45th and final plaque.

The Rome Area Heritage Foundation approached the DDA about forming a partnership, according to DDA Director Aundi Lesley.

“They actually funded half of the plaques so the property owner that signed up for it only had to pay the other half,” she said. “So, it was a very feasible project for everyone involved. The DDA kind of administered the program and did the research on the history in conjunction with the Rome Area History Center and Selena Tilley.”

Ann Pullen with the Rome Area Heritage Foundation spearheaded the historic plaque program, along with her late husband George.

“I think our plaques are very unusual,” she said. “Many cities have these plaques, but they usually just house a date and a building name. Ours have has some research on them.”

According to Lesley, the completion of the program has been a long time coming with supply chain issues caused by the recent pandemic, but it was worth the wait.

It’s just a great celebration of years past,” she said. “It’s also really cool to see tourists walking around and paying attention to the plaques and reading up on what was presented over 100 years ago.”

The final plaque is located at 412 Broad Street, a building that dates back to 1885. It was originally home to a grocery store but later housed a variety of businesses, including a candy factory, several furniture stores, a bakery, and a bowling alley. From 1960 to 1971, it was a military recruiting office. It now serves as a private residence.

The Rome Area Heritage Foundation was formed in 1973 to help identify and preserve historic sites and artifacts in Rome and Floyd County. In addition to the historic plaques, the RAHF also offers tours of historic homes, the neighborhood signage program, holiday trolley tours, and a number of other initiatives.

(From left to right) Randy Quick, Rome City Commission; Aundi Lesley, Rome Downtown Development Director; Jennifer Bailey Bowers, Rome Downtown Development administrative coordinator; Elaine Abercrombie, DDA board member; Megan Watters, DDA board member; Ann Pullen, Rome Area Heritage Foundation; Jeb Arp, Rome Area Heritage Foundation; Harry Brock, DDA board chair; Kelli Duncan, DDA board member; Rhonda Wallace, Floyd County Commission; Kelley Parker, assistant to the city manager.