UPDATE | Augusta's Haunted Pillar design in the works

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News 12 First at Five/ Wednesday, May 24, 2017

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Back in December, The Haunted Pillar in downtown Augusta came crumbling down after a car accident. Since then, it's been an empty corner but there are efforts to bring the legend back to life.

Six months later an orange cone haunts the corner of 5th and Broad.

"It's an iconic piece of folklore in Augusta history. And people were pretty excited when it got knocked down and they'll be excited for it to go back up," Barry White with the CVB said.

It only took a car to knock it down, but the ghost of a pillar sure has a lot of support.

"People wanted to give so this is a way for them to do that so we just picked kind of a random goal," White said.

The GoFundMe was only the start, there's also t-shirts, money from the Trolley, and more local businesses getting involved.

"We saw that they were doing t-shirts already, and so we said we can do a coffee blend," John Curry with Buona Caffe sad.

The Killer Pillar blend at Buona Caffe is helping bring it's namesake back to life.

The only curse might be that it's hard to keep it on the shelves.

"It's been good we've been surprised. It's not something that we always think about keeping on the shelf, but when we do, we sell them so we try to keep them out on the shelves as much as we can," Curry said.

All of these donations will help fund the construction. The city's engineering department says a design for the new pillar is about three weeks out.

"It's my understanding there might be something around it to help protect it from someone hitting it again because we don't want that bad luck to happen to anyone else," White said.

And with a little luck, soon it will be back to haunt this corner once again.


News 12 NBC 26 / Monday, Dec. 2016

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- There's not much of the haunted pillar left to touch.

"I'm a little nervous standing this close to it," said Augusta Conventions and Visitors Bureau CEO Barry White.

Those who know the legend, at least one of the versions of it, still don't want to chance it.

"If you touch it, bad things were going to happen," said White.

"Growing up I was always told not to touch it , not to kick it, not to get near it, because you'll die," said Lena Jackson.

Augusta Ghost Trolley owner Michael Wolff says the folklore that's been told in homes around Augusta has been distorted over the years.

"The real story is that there was a wondering minister that came into the area," said Michael Wolff.

Preaching in what used to be the lower market.

"At that time it was not legal for anyone to hold any public demonstrations, much less to preach," said Wolff.

"They literally picked this gentlemen up and threw him out," said Wolff.

Wolff says the gentlemen, described as having white hair, picked up his bible and walked over to one of four columns in the lower market.

"He predicts there would be a mighty wind that will come and destroy the building and the only thing that would be left standing would be this one column," said Wolff.

Years later a wild cyclone tornado would take the market down.

"The only thing left was that one pillar," said Wolff.

Until now.

"We feel it is a treasured part of our history," said White.

The city picked up the pieces Monday and is storing them, but they still can't say for sure how or even if they will re-build the pillar.

The Augusta Conventions and Visitors Bureau is raising money to make sure it happens.

"We would like to see a little bit more added attention. We have an opportunity to improve it just a little bit," said White.

Click here to go to the Augusta Conventions and Visitors Bureau GoFundMe page.

The Augusta Conventions and Visitors Bureau is also donating $2.00 toward the rebuilding of the Haunted Pillar for every Haunted Pillar t-shirt purchased. You can buy those at the CVB.

You can also purchase a Killer Pillar t-shirt and Land of Thee will donate $2.00 for each t-shirt sold to the Haunted Pillar rebuilding fund.

A portion of funds from Augusta Ghost Trolley tour tickets will also be donated to rebuilding the pillar.


News 12 NBC 26 / Monday, Dec. 19, 2016

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- If you think this pile of rubble is anything less than jaw dropping than you're not from Augusta.

"I came from South Augusta down here to see this," said Lisa Jennings. "The haunted pillar, they say you would have bad luck if you touched it. So we would touch and it see what happened," said Jennings.

Years later and the childish curiosity over Augusta's haunted pillar is peaking because a driver did more than just touch it, they mowed it over trying to make a left hand turn, knocking down all the legends wrapped in the ton of bricks.

"I think the city government or whoever should have contacted someone to at least put tape around it," said Bill Prince.

From Sunday to Monday a big chunk of history disappeared.

The liquor store across the street has had a front row seat to the madness.

"There's been people busting it up and taking pieces of it away," said Bill's Place owner, Bill Prince.

Today the city is lifting, scrapping and shoveling up what's left.

Leaving nothing but an orange cone behind and promises to rebuild the haunted city marker

"The story of it, I've been told since I was a little boy, that there was a black preacher at the market and they wouldn't let him [preach] so he put a curse on the market. Lightening struck the market and apparently burned it down," said Prince.

A strike of lightening started the legend but the strike of a car ended it. At least for now.

A spokesman with Augusta- Richmond County says "the job would likely require a structural engineer to develop a restoration plan ... to include approximate cost and a timeline. " and "at this time, our process requires a professional evaluation before such a determination can be made."


Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Augusta's famous Haunted Pillar on the corner of Broad Street and Fifth Street has a legend for being cursed. But the site is much less eerie after a car crash brings the 10-foot tower crumbling down Sunday morning.

The popular tourist attraction, known for its urban legend and long history near Downtown Augusta, is actually being credited for possibly saving a life.

"It didn't really kick in until I talked to the officer," says an awestruck Cory Tyler. "After that, I realized it was the Haunted Pillar."

A haunting piece of Augusta history is not looking so scary anymore. The famous Haunted Pillar is now nothing more than a pile of bricks after a Sunday morning car crash brings it down.

Tyler, who's lived in Augusta for years, says he was behind the wheel of one of the cars involved. He says he was traveling on Broad Street towards Gordon Highway when he was struck by another car traveling on 5th Street.

He says he had the green light in front of him, but she tried to beat her light and turn onto Broad Street.

"Normally you drive and you don't think anybody's going to turn, that they were going to wait," Tyler says. "After I came down [Broad Street], she turned into me and we end up, you know, running into the pillar."

He says he remembers hearing the urban legend behind the pillar growing up, but never thought he would be a part of bringing it down. But like Tyler, almost every Augustan knows the history at the corner of Broad and 5th.

"The history I remember," Tyler says, "any time they tried to tear it down or remove it, there was something that always happened."

The pillar pre-dates the Civil War and was part of Augusta's Lower Market before a fire destroyed it in 1828. According to a historic plaque placed nearby, the pillar was part of a rebuilt structure used as the city's center for agriculture and livestock trade.

The plaque states a "freakish" cyclone destroyed the structure in 1878, while one single pillar remained. The locals moved that column to its place at the corner of 5th and Broad Street where it's stood for more than a century.

The plaque also tells of what made the pillar famous: an urban legend that anyone who touched the pillar would meet their death. "According to tradition," the plaque states, "a wandering 'exhorter' predicted that anyone who pulled down the pillar would be struck dead by lightning."

Several stories have been spread over the years of people trying to bring down the pillar but passed away before getting their chance. But Tyler and other witnesses say the cursed tourist attraction might have actually helped save a life.

"I'm thankful for the statue," Tyler says. "I'm telling you, if this statue probably wasn't here, we would've went into the building. If it wasn't there, the other driver more than likely would've been really hurt or worse."

The curse appears to have lost its magic as several people stop by to grab a piece of tower and snap a quick picture. But Tyler says there'll always be magic here.

"Me and this lady tore it down," Tyler says. "But the teardown wasn't one of the bad teardowns because it saved a life."

The pillar has been knocked down several times in the past because of car crashes, including once in 1935 and 1958. It has been built again after each time.

Richmond County Dispatch says no one was hurt from the crash.


Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- One of Augusta's historic landmarks has been destroyed after an early-morning car crash.

The Haunted Pillar, which sits at the corner of Broad Street and 5th Street, was knocked over after a car crashed into the landmark Sunday morning. Witnesses say a Ford Taurus crashed into the pillar after striking a truck traveling on Broad Street.

According to a historic plaque placed nearby, the pillar was once part of The Lower Market. The structure was destroyed by a fire in 1829 before being rebuilt as the city's center for agriculture and livestock trade.

A "freakish" cyclone destroyed the structure in 1878 and locals moved the only column left standing to its place at the corner of 5th and Broad.

The plaque also tells of what made the pillar famous. "According to tradition," the plaque states, "a wandering 'exhorter' predicted that anyone who pulled down the pillar would be struck dead by lightning."

The Haunted Pillar became an attraction to tourists, leading many to believe that anyone who touched the pillar would soon meet their doom.

There were no reported injuries following the crash.