The Forrest Hill-Ricker Hotel, Augusta, Georgia

The Forrest Hills-Ricker Hotel 
Augusta, Georgia

As the reputation of the Ricker family grew from their success in running three of the grandest New England hotels, they were prevailed upon to lend their expertise to the running a new hotel to be built in Augusta, Georgia on the site of the now famous Forest Hills Golf Course.  Built at a cost of $2 million, the Forrest Hills-Ricker boasted a $100,000 golf course designed by Donald Ross.

The Forrest-Hills-Ricker Hotel 
ca. 1930

"Announcing ... The Forrest Hills-Ricker Hotel - Opening January 1, 1927.
The management will be the same as that which has made Poland Spring the leading American hotel, known throughout the world.  The entire staff of the Poland Spring House will serve guests at the Forrest Hills-Ricker Hotel at Augusta next winter."
(The Hill-Top Magazine, Vol. XXXI, No. 3, July 17, 1926)

Nickel-Silver Creamer from
The Forrest-Hills-Ricker Hotel
(mfg. by Smith Bros. Silver Co.)

Spacious Portches Surround the
Forrest Hills-Ricker Hotel
Augusta, GA.

"Regular visitors to South Poland will be highly interested in the opeining, January 1st, of the new Forrest Hills-Ricker Hotel, at Augusta, Ga., operated by the same well-known organization that for more than fifty years has been directing the destinies of the Poland Spring House and Mansion House here."

"As most of the nation knows, there is no better place for the winter vacation than the Augusta-Aiken region, in an area of Georgia and South Carolina where the climate is mild, although bracing, in a high altitude where the air is dry and healthful and there are no interruptions to wholesome enjoyment of life in the out-of-doors."

"It is in the very center of this delightful section, on the crest of a pine-clad ridge, that the Forrest Hills-Ricker Hotel stands.  The building itself is a magnificent edifice, in chaste Georgian architecture and endowed with every modern comfort and luxury that can possibly be demanded by an exacting clientele."
- (The Hill-Top Magazine, Vol. XXXI, No. 8, August 21, 1926)

"The hotel will be of fireproof construction, with spacious verandas, overlooking pine-clad hills; beautifully appointed sun-rooms and lounges, large airy guest-rooms, furnished with the charm of a well-appointed home.  Everything will be done for the comfort of our guests and to give this hotel the air of hospitailty and friendship, which have been the symbols, we believe, of the management of Poland Spring Hotels for so many years."
(The Hill-Top Magazine, Vol. XXXI, No. 3, July 17, 1926)

18th Hole at the
Forrest Hills Golf Course,
Augusta, GA


Golf legend Bobby Jones
at the Forrest Hills Golf

Course in 1930

Forrest Hills Club House
built about 1926.

New Year's Menu
Forrest Hills-Ricker Hotel

(January 1, 1929)

"The hotel itself will be one of the most distinguished in the South; and is situated on an estate of 1000 acres on an elevation of 800 feet overlooking a most beautiful rolling country. Golf starts at the very door, the first and tenth tees, the ninth and eighteenth greens directly in front of the hotel; the course laid out and built by Donald Ross.  The smooth grass greens and fairways will be ready to play at the opening on Jan. 1, 1927.  The finest winter-golf in America."
(The Hill-Top Magazine, Vol. XXXI, No. 3, July 17, 1926)

"The golf course, which was designed by Donald Ross, was home to many tournaments during the 1929 era.  One of the most popular of the time was the Southeastern Open Tournament, which spanned between two golf courses, the Augusta Country Club and Forrest Hills. Bobby Jones stated that the course was one of his 'all time' favorites where he won the 1930 tournament by beating Horton Smith by thirteen shots.  During this time the resort blossomed and went on to host the Augusta Open as well."
("ASU Sports Facilities: an unknown spectale", Steven Jones, 1997)

"Of particular interest is the fact that hunting privileges for the Forrest Hills-Ricker guests have been secured on 10,000 nearby acres.  This entire region is famous for its field sports and the management has shown great foresight in making ample arrangement for its indulgence.  The hotel season coincides with the hunting season and it will be easy to secure guides who know the whole area and its possibilities for game of every sort.  Trap shooting will also be open to guests at the Augusta Gun Club"
(The Hill-Top Magazine, Vol. XXXI, No. 8, August 21, 1926)

"Bridle paths wind through thousand-acre estate.  Tennis, Quail and Trap-shooting. Augusta Horse Show, in March, on hotel grounds.  Polo at Aiken, 16 miles away.  Municipal airport near at hand."
(The Hill-Top Magazine, Vol. XXXIV, No. 10, September 7, 1929)

"In 1940, World War II brough many changes to the resort both drastic and elborate.   The army took over the hotel and turned it into a hospital which was operated by Fort [sic] Gordon*.  A swimming pool and gymnasium were added to help wounded soldiers and the hospital was re-named the Oliver General Hospital.  After the war, the Veterans Administration took over and re-named the golf course; the Fort Gordon-Augusta Golf Course..."

"As Fort Gordon later went on the build its own golf course and VA hospital, the federal government later declared the course and its buildings as surplus in 1977.  In 1978, the government transferred the property to the [University of Georgia] Board of Regents with the notion that it be used as a golf course. After the renaming of the golf course to Forest Hills (minus one -r in the Forrest) by the AGA [Augusta Golf Association], the Hills opened in eight weeks after raising $500,000 in money to restore the course."
("ASU Sports Facilities: an unknown spectale", Steven Jones, 1997)

"The Augusta Sports sits where three historic golf holes sat that were designed in 1929."
("ASU Sports Facilities: an unknown spectale", Steven Jones, 1997)

"[The hotel] was abandoned in 1986 and was razed in 1988.  Today it is an empty field behind the Forest Hills golf course."
("Next Stop: Augusta", John Bankston, 2001)

* The military base was established as Camp Gordon in about 1941/2, and remained so until the mid-1950's, when it became a permanent military base and the name was changed to Fort Gordon. [Loudon Briggs, 2005]

Brian Harris