For centuries, home ownership has been a vital element of the American Dream. And for the past 100 years, Blanchard and Calhoun – now through our lending company, Augusta Mortgage Company – has helped countless individuals and families make that dream come true.
What many don’t know about our company is that, during World War I, we helped local citizens invest in something else Americans value: our liberty. The United States defense budget is well funded, topping $600 billion, but that wasn’t the case in the early 1900s when our country was at war. William McAdoo, who led the US Treasury and Federal Reserve, knew the American people would have to help cover the cost.
“We must be willing to give up something of personal convenience,” he said, “something of personal comfort, something of our treasure … to support our noble sons who go out to die for us.”
McAdoo mounted an aggressive campaign to popularize war bonds, debt securities issued by the government to fund military operations. Americans rallied, buying $17 billion in Liberty Bonds to support the allied cause. Many Augustans bought them from George Blanchard and Francis Calhoun, our founders who joined forces after Calhoun returned to Augusta from service in the war. Some Augustans bought them directly from Charlie Chaplin, the silent film star, who appeared before an overflow crowd in 1918 at the Imperial Theatre as a national spokesman for the effort.
The buying and selling of bonds wasn’t simply a matter of business; it was a way for American citizens, many of whom were introduced to the idea of financial securities for the first time, to demonstrate their unflagging patriotism. Blanchard and Calhoun – and the many other entities that bought and sold war bonds – helped mobilize our nation, generating funds that were vital to the victory of the allied forces. That’s not something most real estate and mortgage loan companies can claim.