This story is part of a series on historic homes on Gainesville's Green Street. Read other stories in the series. Copies of a free publication on Green Street home history are available at The Times at 345 Green St.
Address: 625 Green St., Gainesville
Architecture: Neoclassical revival Georgian
The history of 625 Green St. is imbued with the many legal minds that once occupied the neoclassical revival Georgian home. More than a century after it was built, its new owner has put in work to beautify the home.
According to historical records, Col. William Arthur Charters bought the property in 1902 and built the home, now known as the Charters-Smith House, four years later.
Before the turn of the 20th century, Charters practiced law in Dahlonega with Col. W.P. Price, who was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1868 and served from 1870-1873 in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to congressional records.
Price was also a founder of the North Georgia Agricultural College, which is now the University of North Georgia.
Charters’ daughter, Isabelle Charters, would marry Sidney Oslin Smith and move into the house with their children in 1930.
One of those four children was Sidney O. Smith Jr., who served for more than three years in the Army during World War II and was discharged as a captain.
Smith began his private practice in 1962 before being elected to the Superior Court judgeship over Dawson, Hall, Lumpkin and White counties, according to his obituary.
President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Smith to the U.S. District Court bench in 1965, where he served until 1974. Smith died in 2012 at the age of 88.
The federal courthouse in Gainesville now bears Sidney O. Smith Jr.’s name after a dedication in 2017.
“For those of us who want to make a difference, you need heroes. You need role models. Nobody is perfect, but when someone gives an example that you can follow, you honor that,” former U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, said during the naming ceremony.
Sidney O. Smith Sr. was quoted as saying the home cost $6,000 to build in the early 1900s.
The home is currently occupied by Collision Specialists Inc., which does crash reconstruction.
President Jeffrey Kidd said he leased office space in 2011 and decided to purchase the building in 2013.
“It’s a beautiful place to be. Our clients love it. Our employees love it. It’s just a beautiful part of Green Street,” Kidd said about making the decision to buy.
Kidd kicked off a year-and-a-half renovation project in 2018, which meant replacing the Corinthian columns out front, redoing the flooring and renovating the bathrooms.
“I just didn’t want it to go to waste,” Kidd said. “I wanted to beautify it and try to keep that natural appeal.”
The home has a staircase that winds through the heart of the home.
“When they started doing the floors and stuff in here, they would find old pennies and old money,” Kidd said.
Collision Specialists specializes in part by analyzing the causes of wrecks and providing expert testimony in civil matters. Kidd said their work has taken them as far west as Utah and as far north as Canada.