Category Archives: –BALDWIN COUNTY GA–

Dovecote, Baldwin County

Anne Chamlee notes that this dovecote stood on the site of an historic house that burned. She photographed it in 1990 and it’s now gone, as well.

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Trophy Barn, Baldwin County

Anne Chamlee photographed this barn circa 1990.

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Stevens Pottery Ruins, Baldwin County

Anne Chamlee made these photographs of the abandoned Stevens Pottery mill in August 1990. The rural community was named for the industry that was the largest employer in Baldwin County in the years following the Civil War.

Bill Boyd wrote in the 13 August 1992 edition of the Macon Telegraph: Henry Stevens, who grew up near pottery plants in England, worked his way to America aboard a merchant ship, landed a job as a railroad conductor and arrived in Middle Georgia in 1850. An ambitious and enterprising fellow, Stevens bought a sizable tract of timber land in the southwest corner of Baldwin County in 1854, and he discovered  “an extensive and valuable deposit of fire-clay” according to an 1895 book “Memories of Georgia”.

After putting a sawmill into operation in that area, he built kilns and began to produce the first sewerage pipe ever produced in the South. The plant also turned out pottery and stoneware. During the Civil War, Stevens’s plant produced “knives, shoepegs and Joe Brown pipes” for the confederacy according to the history book. And, because of that General William T. Sherman burned the plant to the ground in 1864. Stevens rebuilt the plant after the war and sold it to his sons in 1876. By the turn of the century, the Stevens plant employed some 300 people and produced only brick.

The late T. L. Wood recalled in a 1984 interview with the Associated Press that Stevens Pottery acquired a reputation as a rough-and-tumble town where shootings and stabbings were commonplace at night and on weekends. “My mother wouldn’t let me go down there when I was a kid.” he said. But when he grew up, Wood, like many residents of Stevens Pottery and Coopers worked there for at least a while, and he remembered the plant as a “dirty, dusty, crude-looking place, (where) the work was hard- hauling brick in wheelbarrows and things like that.” Wood escaped the hard labor in the plant by operating a general store; and getting the town’s post office located in his store. But others stayed with the hard work and long hours, and as late as the 1950s, a person could work all of the overtime he or she wanted as the plant turned out brick for the booming sugar refineries in Cuba.

 

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DeLauney House, Circa 1825, Milledgeville

Thanks to the good folks at the Milledgville-Baldwin County Convention & Visitors Bureau for finally filling in some of the blanks on this house. They note that it originally faced Jefferson Street. Though it isn’t quite as “refined” as other examples of the Milledgeville-Federal Style houses for which the city is known, likely due to alterations after it was moved, it definitely falls into that category. Hollye Hodges McDonel notes that her grandparents, the Robersons, lived here for many years. Other earlier owners were the Scott, Joseph, Malpass, Simmerson, and Hobbs families.

Milledgeville Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Roberson Store, Circa 1925, Milledgeville

This is best remembered as James Roberson’s store, but it was owned by the Ennis family before that. Thanks to Sara Smith Brantley for sharing it with the Milledgeville Memories Facebook group; folks there quickly identified it. Kim Roberson Hornsby writes: This was my uncle’s store…He sold general supplies mostly groceries with those ladders that slid along the shelves. We loved going there as children and playing on those ladders. He had an ice cream box inside and candy treats he would give us when we visited. My grandmother lived across the street in the house with the brick steps. She had six children all born and raised in a two story house that is gone now that was up the little lane beside the house with the steps.

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Federal Cottage, Milledgeville

I haven’t been able to locate anything about this structure but will update when I do.

Milledgeville Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Andalusia, Home of Flannery O’Connor, Baldwin County

After being diagnosed with lupus in 1951, famed American author Flannery O’Connor came to Andalusia to be cared for by her widowed mother, Regina Cline O’Connor. [While a student at Georgia College, I lived on the top floor of Ennis Hall for a year. It was located around the corner from the then derelict Cline-O’Connor mansion where Regina lived out her last days. One of my most vivid memories was seeing Mrs. O’Connor through a window in silhouette. She was a very private person.] Most of Flannery’s best-known work was written here. The property that became Andalusia was first occupied as a cotton plantation in 1814. The main house, seen above, was built in the 1850s. It was purchased by Flannery’s uncle, Dr. Bernard Cline, in 1931. During the Cline and O’Connor residencies, the 500+ acre property served as a working dairy and beef cattle farm. After Flannery’s death in 1964, the farm remained with the family until 2003, when it was donated to a private group for preservation. It was gifted to Georgia College in 2017, which now operates it as an historic house museum focused on interpreting the time Ms. O’Connor spent at the property.

Dr. Cline added the screened-in front porch during the 1930s.

The interior remains largely the same as it was during Flannery O’Connor’s residency here. Georgia College is doing an excellent job not only of preserving but interpreting these items in proper context.

The dining room doubled as a parlor and is the most visually interesting space in the house.

The stairwell is the most impressive feature of the foyer, though the upstairs rooms are not accessible to the public. They were used only for guests of the O’Connor family and storage.

Portraits of Dr. Bernard Cline (l) and Edward F. O’Connor

Portrait of Flannery O’Connor

Flannery’s bedroom is a large space at the western front of the house.  Braces, which she needed to get around as her lupus became more debilitating, are a stark reminder of the pain Flannery often endured.

Flannery spent many hours convalescing in this small bed.

The well house was built over a hand-dug brick-lined well. The farm was electrified in the 1940s and Regina had the water tower built in 1956. It’s 32 feet high and holds 22,000 gallons.

Dependencies of Andalusia

Away from the main house are numerous outbuildings which contributed to the productivity of the farm. They’re presently in various states of preservation, with eventual restoration the goal of Georgia College.

The most prominent structure, now located just northwest of the main house, is thought to be the original house of the plantation  which became Andalusia. It was located nearer the main house but was moved to its present location in the late 1940s or 1950s. Several smaller tenant houses are located south of the main house but are in ruins or terrible condition. I did not photograph them.

Robert Jack & Louise Hill, who were tenant farmers during most of Flannery O’Connor’s time at Andalusia, lived here. [Photo Courtesy Andalusia].

A dairy was established at Andalusia in 1947 by Regina and brother Louis Cline. The barn figures centrally in Flannery O’Connor’s beloved 1955 story, “Good Country People”.

Andalusia’s milk was processed offsite in Eatonton. This shed, likely built in the late 1940s, kept it cool until transport and was also used to sterilize the cans.

The calf barn was used to segregate male calves from their mothers so they could be fed powdered milk.

Regina and Louis began modernizing the farm by the early 1950s and this equipment shed allowed easy accessibility for tractors, bush hogs, and all manner of tools.

This barn sheltered the farm’s riding and working horses. On Mother’s Day 1962, Flannery gave Regina a Mexican burro named Ernest. A female Sicilian donkey, a jenny named Marquita, was later added to the farm. In September 1963, Ernest and Marquita had a foal Regina named Equinox. In the early 1970s, Marquita mated with a pony and gave birth to a hinny named Flossie. A hinny is the offspring of a horse and a jenny. Equinox and Flossie were companions until Equinox died in 1998. Flossie lived out her days at Andalusia until her death in 2010, becoming a bit of a celebrity herself with visitors and journalists who covered the property.

Though it looks old, the pump house is among the newest structures at Andalusia.

Just to the rear of the main house was a three-bay parking garage known as the Nail House. It became home to most of Flannery’s birds, including ducks, turkeys, geese, pheasants, and her beloved peafowl. Her first pair came from a breeder in Florida in 1952, and she would eventually have more than 40.

An aviary is presently sited to the east of the main house.

Of course, peafowl are kept on the property today. This pair was quite shy, though.

Grounds of Andalusia

Situated north of the Fall Line, Andalusia is characterized by rolling hills and beautiful hardwoods.

A tree-lined driveway leads to the main house.

A large hay pasture is located just to your left as you’re driving in. It’s a beautiful space which I remember admiring from US Highway 441 in my college days.

The view in front of the main house follows a gently sloping pasture to a secluded pond.

National Register of Historic Places

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Central Hallway Farmhouse, Baldwin County

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Uncle Tom’s Place, Baldwin County

 

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Montpelier United Methodist Church, Baldwin County

Montpelier is the oldest congregation in Baldwin County. I’m unsure as to the date of construction of the present church, but records of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist church indicate (in a document from 1972) that the structure was built before 1843. That appears to be a good possibility. Slaves attended the church with their owners in the antebellum era. The historical marker placed by the Georgia Historical Commission in 1996 gives more insight to the history of the community than it does the church itself: This church is named Montpelier after Fort Montpelier of 1794, 1/2 mi. below here down the Oconee. This fort and others were built during the Creek Indian troubles. Captain Jonas Fouche was ordered to guard the Georgia frontier from the mouth of the Tugaloo to Fort Fidius on the Oconee. 200 militia cavalry and infantry raised under Governor Telfair were placed under the command of Major Gaither, Federal commandant. A note on Fouche’s map reads: “As it is 40 mi .from Fort Twiggs to Mount Pelah where Maj. Gaither laid in garrison, it is recommended that a public station might be created by the Government (at Cedar Shoals)´

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