The three story Georgian style home was built in 1835 as the family residence of John Phinizy, a wealthy Augusta merchant and businessman. The original home consisted of three floors with an oval two-story porch and observatory located on the west side of the building. The Phinizy home had an outside kitchen, connected to the main house by a covered walkway. Stables and four smaller homes once occupied the site on which the present parking lot now exists.
John Phinizy bequeathed the home to his son, Charles H. Phinizy, whose wife, Mary Lou, remodeled the home. The 1885 remodeling included the addition of the interior Victorian features, such as the parlor mantles, parquet floors, hand-tooled leather wall covering and the beautiful leaded and stained glass windows. Mrs. Phinizy also had the fourth floor added, and, during her declining years, had a pulley-type elevator installed, to give her easy access to all floors. This elevator was one of the first to be installed in a private Augusta residence.
In 1933, Miss Mary Lou Phinizy, the daughter of Charles and Mary Lou, sold the property to Henry W. Poteet and Edward Platt Grealish. The building served as a funeral home until 1938, at which time it was sold to Augusta Lodge No. 205, B.P.O. of Elks.
The Elks added the two-story west wing to the building in 1949. This addition housed two large ballrooms, which were used along with the rest of the building, by the Elks. The building served as the Elks Club and Conference Center, until the early 1990's.
In 1993, William G. Hatcher, Sr. and MAU purchased the building. January of 1996 marked the beginning of the building's main floor renovations. All attempts were made to salvage as much of the original interior as possible.
The beautiful inlaid floors, which appear in what are now called the Magnolia and Azalea Rooms, as well as the second floor hall and foyer were unknowingly preserved under plywood, linoleum and carpet. What a pleasant surprise it was to uncover these beautiful treasures!
With thorough, yet gentle cleaning, minor repairs, and a fresh coat of paint, the ornate, Victorian columns and ceramic tile fireplaces were restored to their original beauty. The intricate chandeliers, which now hang in the Magnolia and Azalea Rooms, are original to the home.
A decorator familiar with nineteenth century décor, chose the color scheme, which accentuates the home. This time period was kept in mind while choosing the beautiful window treatments, wallpaper and new chandeliers that are presently located in the entryway and ballroom. Many other accent pieces of this era can be seen throughout the building.
1999 - Present
Both the Greene and Ellis Street sides of the original structure have undergone major facade renovations and in 1999 the grounds were meticulously landscaped. A fountain, two gazebos, and several concrete benches and tables were placed in the courtyards. These features significantly added to the gracious antebellum setting.
The Marion Hatcher Center is currently used for weddings, receptions, parties, luncheons, reunions, proms, business meetings and other social gatherings. The Center will house as many as 300 individuals and with the utilization of the courtyards, a group of 350-400 people can enjoy the building and all of the surrounding grounds.
It is with pride that Mr. Hatcher and MAU dedicate themselves to the continued renovation of both the interior and exterior of the Marion Hatcher Center, allowing Augusta's past to continue into the future.