Tag Archives: Antebellum North Georgia

Barksdale House, Circa 1850, Powelton

This has been identified as the Barksdale House, and is antebellum, as I had guessed.

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Terrell-Stone House, Circa 1822, Sparta

Built in the early 1820s for Dr. William Terrell (1778-1855), this remarkable Federal house displays a strong Palladian influence. A front porch extending the width of the house was removed during renovations but was likely not original to the structure.

A stone-sided kitchen survives on the property, as does an office said to originally have been a billiard house [below]. Obviously, it was built in the Victorian era and the side room is a later addition.

Dr. Terrell was a leading citizen in early-19th-century Sparta, serving in the Georgia legislature and later as a member of the U. S. House of Representatives. He was the founder and first president of the Sparta Planters Club, an agricultural and social consortium of prominent landowners which aimed to improve farming practices. He endowed the first serious chair of agriculture in the United States at the University of Georgia. Terrell County in Southwest Georgia is named for him.

Sparta Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Harley-Harris-Rives House, 1840s, Sparta

This landmark house was built in the late 1840s as a wedding gift for William Harley and Mary Battle, and was home to the Harris and Rives families thereafter. Like most grand residences of its time in the South, it was built with slave labor. It was restored in the early 2000s by Suzy and Robert Currey and is today surrounded by their organic farming operations.

Sparta Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Moore-Lewis House, Circa 1823, Sparta

Sparta Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Lane-Walker House, Circa 1825, Sparta

This house has been expanded at least twice in its nearly two centuries in Sparta.

Sparta 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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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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