The Beatles made the crosswalk on London’s Abbey Road famous…..and R.E.M. did the same for St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Athens.
“Michael has said in interviews that it’s a place that only students could have loved and it’s kind of been romanticized beyond belief,” says David Ferguson, an Athens-based musician-turned-writer.
Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Bill Berry held their first concert in the church and it played a major role in the band’s early history.
“It’s a beacon of our past, I wish the whole church was still there, but those things happen when developers come through,” says Ferguson.
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The church has been torn down, but its steeple remains next door to Nuci’s Space, a “musicians’ health and resource center.”
“When you think of Athens, Georgia, you think of music. And I see that steeple and I see a beacon standing up in the air that just says ‘This is who we are,’” says project manager Marc Tissenbaum.
Tissenbaum is hoping to raise $250,000 dollars within the next two months to renovate the structure.
“It is stable and it will not be torn down, but we do want to take it a step further. We just want to have a nice space for the community,” says Tissenbaum.
A number of Athens-based musicians have chipped in to this campaign, including Kate Pierson of the B-52s.