Pioneer Historical Society
McRae Helena Georgia
Established in 1976


Telfair Center for the Arts

The Old South Georgia College Administrative Building was constructed in 1892 under the auspices of the South Georgia Conference of the Methodist Church. It offered education in grades 1 - 11 and included a three year college. Later it served as a local high school, then elementary school before ownership passed to the Pioneer Historical Society and the Telfair Art Association in 1979. After a partial restoration, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and is used for a variety of primarily cultural events. In 2002, ownership of the building was transferred to the Local Library Board (LLB), and the first phase of an extensive restoration was undertaken using Govenor's Discretionary Funds. This effort included replacing the roof, repainting exterior brickwork and all exterior woodwork, restoring the lobby and the auditorium, and upholstering the auditorium's first floor seats.

In 2010, the Pioneer Historical Society (PHS) assumed responsibility for the operations and maintenance of the building under a LLB/PHS Plan for Use and the second phase of restoration commenced using PHS funds. The building's name was changed to the Telfair Center for the Arts and the rehabilitation of the building  commenced to restore the structure for its adaptive use as a center for the performing arts. This project was completed and the Center was the recipient of the Georgia Trust 2015 Award for "Excellence in Rehabilitation"


The photo above shows members of the Pioneer Historical Society receiving the 2015 Georgia Trust for Excellence in Rehabilitation.

 One PHS mission is to preserve the building though a multi-phased restoration/rehabilitation and through the use of its wonderful facilities enhance the county's cultural experience. While much Phase 3 work remains, the auditorium, lobby, and public restrooms are complete and ready for use. Work to complete Phase 2, the rehabilitation of the first floor for its adaptive use as the Telfair Center for the Arts was completed in 2015 when the Pioneer Historical Society earned GeorgiaTrust  Award for"Excellence in Rehabilitation. 


Today, TCA features an acoustically marvelous 410 seat auditorium facing a raised twenty-one by forty-three foot stage with sound and lighting systems. Our fifth season of events is underway. Event information is available on Facebook here.

Director for Telfair Center for the Arts - Rip Maneely