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Ethos is proud to have worked closely with McDuffie County and the City of Thomson on the Thomson Residential Design Guidelines Manual. Completed in 2022, this grant-funded project involved research, surveying, and preparing design guidelines to ensure the preservation of Thomson’s historic buildings and its larger historic context while effectively managing growth through compatible alterations. The guidelines include best practices for rehabilitating historic buildings and ensure new construction is harmonious with its historic context. The guidelines provide clarification in simple terms, accompanied by illustrations and examples.


The history of Thomson is linked to the development of the railroad as the city was founded in 1837 with the construction of the railroad. Early buildings were built close to the depot and tracks, and were typically associated with railroad commerce and industry. As the town grew, more civic buildings were constructed including churches, schools, and municipal buildings. The town was incorporated as a village in 1854 and was designated as the county seat in 1870.


Design guidelines are a tool to help preserve an area's character by guiding the appearance and materiality of buildings. They protect the investments of property owners and business establishments through the objective application of uniform standards to maintain continuity in design and promote appropriate rehabilitation and construction activities. By preserving and maintaining the area’s visual character, the design review process ensures that future generations enjoy the benefits of the architectural heritage of Thomson.

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