William Augustus Edwards

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William Augustus Edwards
Westcott 8445.jpg
Westcott Hall, used by permission of Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA.
Born (1866-12-08)December 8, 1866
Darlington, South Carolina
Died March 30, 1939(1939-03-30) (aged 72)
Atlanta, Georgia
Nationality American
Occupation Architect

Sumter County Courthouse (South Carolina)

Odd Fellows Building and Auditorium, Atlanta
Projects University of Florida Campus Historic District

William Augustus Edwards, also known as William A. Edwards, (December 8, 1866 - March 30, 1939) was an Atlanta-based American architect renowned for the educational buildings, courthouses and other public and private buildings that he designed in Florida, Georgia and his native South Carolina. More than 25 of his works have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Early life and education[edit]

William Augustus Edwards was born in Darlington, South Carolina, the son of Augustus Fulton Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth Sarah Hart. After graduating from St. David's School in Society Hill, Edwards attended Richmond College, now the University of Richmond for one year and then entered the University of South Carolina where he received a degree in mechanical engineering in 1889.[1]

Career history[edit]

He and another Darlington County native, Charles Coker Wilson, set up an office together in Columbia, having previously worked in Roanoke, Virginia. The two men prospered for a time, but in 1901 Edwards found a new partner, Frank C. Walter. Between then and 1908 the two designed many public school buildings across the state. In 1908 the men moved their firm to Atlanta, Georgia, where they were briefly associated with an architect named Parnham. The firm lasted until 1911, at which point Walter left to work on his own.

In 1915 Edwards established another partnership, this one with William J. Sayward, and in 1919 Joseph Leitner joined the practice. Edwards continued working successfully from this office until his death in 1939.

Marriage and family[edit]

William Augustus Edwards married India Pearl Brown on December 21, 1898. They had two sons and two daughters. He was a member of the Unitarian Church.

Educational buildings[edit]

Among the academic institutions for which Edwards designed buildings were:

In Alabama[edit]

Camp Hill[edit]

In 1930 William A. Edwards and firm designed the educational classroom and administrative building for The Southern Industrial Institute, now known as Lyman Ward Military Academy, in Camp Hill, AL. The structure known as Tallapoosa Hall was designed at the request of well known educator Dr. Lyman Ward who like Edwards was also a Unitarian. Dr. Ward had transplanted to Alabama in 1898 to establish a school for impoverished boys and girls. Completed in 1933, Tallapoosa Hall is also a Gothic Revival design and the building was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage in 2008.

In Florida[edit]

From 1905-1925, William A. Edwards was architect for the Florida Board of Control and designed many buildings in the Collegiate Gothic style for the three existing state institutions of higher learning as well as other public schools.


Works by Edwards at the University of Florida:

  • University Auditorium, East-West Rd., NRHP-listed[2]
  • Old Benton Hall (original engineering building), 1911, demolished 1966.
  • Original Post Office, third building on campus, demolished before 1977 to make way for General Purpose Building A, now Turlington Hall.[3]
  • Johnson Hall (original dining hall) 1912, burned 1987,

St. Augustine[edit]



Florida College for Negroes (Florida A&M University). Buildings designed by William Augustus Edwards include:[4]

  • Commons, 1924

The Carnegie Library and perhaps other buildings designed by Edwards are among 14 contributing buildings in Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College Historic District, NRHP-listed[2]


Florida State College for Women (Florida State University). Buildings designed by William Augustus Edwards include:[4]

  • Bryan Hall, 1907
  • Broward Hall, 1917
  • Education Building (now Psychology), 1919
  • Jennie Murphree Hall, 1922
  • Library (Dodd Hall), 1924
  • Reynolds Hall, 1913
  • Suwanee Dining Hall, 1913
  • Westcott Building (originally Administration), 1911

In Georgia[edit]

In South Carolina[edit]

County courthouses[edit]

William Augustus Edwards designed many county courthouses, as follows:

In Florida[edit]

In Georgia[edit]

In South Carolina[edit]

Between 1908 and 1915 Edwards designed nine county courthouses for the state of South Carolina, all of which are still standing except the ones in Kershaw and Darlingon which were destroyed. The courthouses are as follows:

Other buildings[edit]

In Florida[edit]

In Georgia[edit]

In South Carolina[edit]

NRHP-listed works[edit]

More than 25 of his works have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, either as individual buildings or as contributing buildings within historic districts.



External links[edit]