City of Monroe purchases two properties to help enhance the downtown area

In the short term, properties will help with overflow parking for events downtown

From left: Rust & Dust Antiques at 524 South Madison Ave. and Davis Street Antiques, 216 Davis St., Monroe. Photo credit: Sharon Swanepoel

MONROE, GA (Dec. 7, 2023) City officials confirm that the properties that currently house Davis Street Antiques and Rust and Dust Antiques on South Madison Ave. have been purchased by the City of Monroe.

“The city recently acquired the parcels of property at 524 South Madison Ave and 216 Davis Street in a package purchase from Arnold Properties. While we do not have a firm timeline yet we intend to tear down the old installation of buildings along S. Madison Ave,” City Administrator Logan Propes said. “This will help make way for additional event parking along that stretch in the near term. It should also help out our ISO fire rating list as this the poorest rated property in the city due to size, age, condition, and materials. As for 216 Davis Street, there will also be opportunity to expand event parking in the near term. Additionally, there is greater economic development opportunity with this property while also hopefully retaining the structure on the site.”  

Propes said that as for specifics for the Davis Street property, there is nothing that he can comment on right now. There has been some speculation that a boutique hotel may be something under consideration for the future of one of the properties, but Mayor John Howard said, “that would be a dream, but there is nothing in concrete about that at the moment.”

The speculation was shared on social media by Rust and Dust Antiques when expressing disappointment in having to find alternative accommodation for the business now that the rental property has been sold to the city.

“On Davis Street property a parking lot for over flow and Rust & Dust Antiques a boutique hotel,” Rust & Dust Antiques wrote in a post on its Facebook page. “I still can’t believe the residents of Monroe are allowing city officials to get away with it without a say! It’s beyond sad. It’s shameful on Monroe city officials.”

But Howard echoed Propes’ comments that the properties and buildings were in need of restoration and renovation and, at least in the case of the Rust & Dust Antiques building, it would require tearing down the building.

While it is an old building that does represent some of Monroe’s history, Howard said neither of the buildings are in the historic district or represented on the Historic Register. There also has been some speculation that they were part of the old Greene County Railroad, but Monroe Historian Steve Brown said, to the best of his knowledge, both buildings were actually warehouses – most likely used for cotton.

“I don’t think they had a direct link to the RR, but they were most likely associated with the two cotton gins along that part of Madison Ave. That would be Monroe Oil & Fertilizer (later Arnold Fertilizer) and Wright’s Gin & Trading Company,” Brown said. “The Davis Street Antiques building once housed Oakes Hardware.”

Brown said neither of the buildings existed before 1916. He said the small brick building with a steel door that sits to the west of Davis Street Antiques, however, was once a vault for the Greene County Railroad.

“It was used to store hazardous materials such as explosives. The Greene County RR also had a depot, long gone, that stood across Davis Street from the Georgia RR depot (the one that is there now),” Brown said.

Photos below courtesy of Monroe Cultural and Heritage Museum.

Building that once was the vault for the Greene County Railroad.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply