The building is named in honor of Joseph Rucker Lamar who served as a Supreme Court Justice for the State of Georgia.
For many years the tallest building in Augusta, it was bought in 1973 by among others State Senator R. Eugene Holly. Mr. Holly commissioned the penthouse addition, built by I. M. Pei between 1974 and 1975. It features Italian marble and blue plate glass, and cost $500,000.
One the building's original service elevators dating from 1913 is still in service making it Augusta's oldest.
The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
Fire Insurance maps indicate a height of 165' (50 m) to the top of the roof at the 16th floor, just beneath the penthouse addition.
The Lamar Building was commissioned by the Empire Life Insurance Company of Atlanta. Although construction commenced in 1913, a major fire in 1916 hampered construction and forced the delay of its completion by several years.
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