Visit Sacred Heart Cultural Center and Church in Augusta Georgia - Victorian Romanesque in style with Byzantine influence, Sacred Heart Catholic Church (Sacred Heart Cultural Center) is considered one of the best examples of Victorian masonry work in Georgia.
Sacred Heart Cultural Center
The mission of Sacred Heart Cultural Center is to preserve and maintain the Sacred Heart Building as a National Register Historic Site and to function as a center for cultural activities. Built in 1900, Sacred Heart Cultural Center is a former Catholic Church.
The site is now home to various cultural activities including choral concerts, art exhibits, and holiday events including the annual A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, Silent Movie Night and the annual Sacred Heart Garden Festival.
Guided tours are available as well as a gift shop featuring artwork by local artisans. The former rectory is now home to the business offices of arts groups including the Augusta Ballet, The Augusta Children's Chorale, The Augusta Choral Society, the Augusta Players, Symphony Orchestra Augusta and the Greater Augusta Arts Council.
Sacred Heart Cultural Center serves individuals from across the Central Savannah River Area and visitors from throughout the Nation and beyond. The fully ADA accessible structure is free and open to the public.
Augusta Sacred Heart Church Info
Towering twin spires, turrets, parapets, arches, and 15 distinctive styles of brickwork can be found on the building’s exterior. Imported stained glass windows from Munich Germany, a barrel vaulted ceiling supporting a dome, and an interior of intricately carved Italian marble give the building its unique quality. The church had its cornerstone laid in 1898, was dedicated in 1900, and consecrated in 1907. Brother Otten, a member of the Jesuit Order, was the architect.
The first Sacred Heart Parish dates from 1874, when the influx of Irish immigrants, who came to Augusta after the Great Famine in Ireland, made it necessary to build a new church to accommodate the growing Catholic population. Its original building was a former wooden residence that served as both church and rectory for the Jesuit priests who came to administer the new parish. Shortly thereafter, the parish constructed a new building, which it used first as a church and later as a college and grammar school. That building still stands at 1322 Ellis Street and is now offices for the American Red Cross.
For many years, Sacred Heart Catholic Church was one of the leading religious centers of Augusta. The pipe organ and choir were among the finest in the area. The Jesuit priests were noted for their eloquence. The church's doors were always open as an invitation for people to come and meditate.
Eventually, Sacred Heart’s prosperity began to fade. 2 floods resulted in the exodus of the downtown population, and competition between parishes for membership diminished Sacred Heart’s support. 2 world wars, decline of the Sacred Heart schools, and constant maintenance demands also contributed to its overall plight. Sacred Heart held its last mass in 1971.
Knox Ltd. restored Sacred Heart in 1987, and a nonprofit organization was formed to maintain the historic facility and to develop and promote cultural activities. Today, Sacred Heart Cultural Center is open for tours and is available for community events.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church (Sacred Heart Cultural Center) is located within the Augusta Downtown Historic District. The church has been documented by the National Park Service's Historic American Buildings Survey.
The occasion is momentous . . . December 2, 1900. Sacred Heart Catholic Church, built by Jesuit priests, opened its doors for worship. Approaching and entering Sacred Heart transports one’s senses to a European village of old where the cathedral was the repository for the greatest natural talents and artistic treasures of the town. So it is with Sacred Heart.
The first bricks were laid for Sacred Heart Church in 1897. The church was a magnificent house of worship for over seventy years. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, it is an architectural masterpiece. The building features towering twin spires, graceful arches, fifteen distinctive styles of brickwork, ninety-four stained glass windows, a barreled vaulted ceiling and intricately carved Italian marble altars. Because of the steady move by Augustans to the suburbs, the last mass was held in Sacred Heart July 3, 1971. The church then closed.
Conrad Schmidt restores Sacred Heart stained glass window
Through the generous commitment of the Peter S. Knox family, the facility was rescued from sixteen years of vacancy, vandalism, and near destruction. After extensive renovations, the building was reopened in 1987 as the Sacred Heart Cultural Center.
This important historic landmark serves as a unique venue for social and cultural events and is rented continuously throughout the year for weddings, concerts and civic functions.
The old Rectory building, the former Convent building and the Sacred Heart School building house the administrative offices of local arts groups and other non-profit organizations, including the Greater Augusta Arts Council, Augusta Ballet, Choral Society, Children’s Chorale, Community Outreach for the Handicapped, Augusta Opera, Augusta Symphony, Girls Scouts and the Red Cross.
Sacred Heart offers the community a wide range of cultural opportunities. Choral concerts, art exhibits, Christmas events, silent movies and an annual garden festival fill the center with beauty and energy. Tours, both guided and self-led, take place daily, and the courtyard serves as a peaceful place to rest and take in the building’s exterior beauty. Visitors explore the building eager to learn about its history, art and architecture. People from all over the world visit Sacred Heart each year. From the magical moments they spend here, it is easily seen that the rewards of this preservation effort are rich and varied.
Tucked away in the winding halls of Sacred Heart Cultural Center is one of Augusta's treasure shops for gifts, books, artwork and other wonderful items. Whether you are in the mood to browse the shelves of books about Augusta's past or purchase a memorable collectible from the distinctive Sacred Heart items, you will surely find it . . . and a warm greeting from the staff and volunteers at The Gift Shop of Sacred Heart.
The Gift Shop offers local artisans a unique opportunity to exhibit and sell their works. Supporting local artists is important to Sacred Heart. Stop by the gift store and discover signed copies of books, limited edition prints, as well as original art! A collection of souvenirs and regional books can be perused while enjoying the current exhibits in the Art Hall downstairs in the main structure. Visa and Mastercard are accepted. For ordering or merchandise questions,
please call Open: Monday–Friday during 10 am–5 pm
Hours of Operation, Fees, Contact & Location
It is open to the public Monday-Friday, 10 am to 4 pm. Self-guided tour, no charge; nominal fee for guided tours. Call ahead for group tours. Phone: 706-826-4700 - Location: Sacred Heart Cultural Center, 1301 Greene Street, Augusta, GA 30901 - Augusta Sacred Heart Church Website