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. 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 Players, 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.