Tag Archives: Architecture of Elam Alexander

Cowles-Bond-Woodruff House, 1836-1840, Macon

Elam Alexander began construction on this house on Coleman Hill in 1836, for Jerry Cowles, the financier who brought the railroad from Knoxville, Tennessee, to Macon and who served as president of the Ocmulgee Bank. The house took on its present monumental appearance with the addition of the colonnade in 1840. Financial woes led Cowles to New York during the 1840s and the house was purchased by Joseph Bond, one of Georgia’s most prominent cotton growers. Bond’s time in the house was short, however, as he was killed by a neighboring plantation owner in a dispute over slave.

In 1865, the estate served as the headquarters of Union Brigadier General James H. Wilson during his occupation of the city. In 1879, James T. Coleman purchased the property and the surrounding area became known as Coleman Hill.

The Oriental/Moorish gazebo, built during the Victorian era, is one of Macon’s most popular photo subjects.

Beginning in 1960, the house served as the segregationist Stratford Academy for a time [now an inclusive institution located elsewhere] and was later gifted to Mercer University by the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. It remains one of Macon’s most enduring landmarks.

Macon Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Raines-Miller-Carmichael House, Circa 1848, Macon

Designed by Elam Alexander for Judge Cadwallader Raines in the shape of a modified Greek cross with rooms branching out in four directions from a central octagonal hall, this is one of Macon’s finest homes. A spectacular spiral staircase originates in the foyer and leads to the octagonal cupola. The porches originally ran alongside the rooms, conforming to the shape of the house, but were later changed to their current circular fashion.

Judge Raines died in 1856 and his wife in 1860, leaving no heirs. The house was sold to Central Bank of Georgia president John E. Jones in 1869 and later came into the possession of Dr. George T. Miller before being purchased by Robert Joseph Carmichael.

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Cannonball House, 1853, Macon

Also known as the Judge Asa Holt House, for its first owner, the Cannonball House is one of Macon’s most popular historic sites. It’s believed to have been designed and built by Elam Alexander, prominent builder/architect of antebellum Macon, though there isn’t consensus on this claim. Of numerous outbuildings once present on the property, a brick kitchen and servants’ quarters remain.

The house received its name after being struck by a cannonball during the Battle of Dunlap Hill on 30 July 1864. Lore suggests that forces under the command of Union General George Stoneman were attempting to strike the nearby Hay House but miscalculated. The ball struck the sand sidewalk in front of the house, passed through the second column from the left of the gallery and entered the parlor over a window, landing unexploded in the hallway. Mrs. Holt displayed the cannonball on her dining room table until giving it to the Macon Volunteers in defense of the city. Judge Holt’s descendants lived in the house until 1963.

It’s operated today as a house museum by the Friends of the Cannonball House.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --BIBB COUNTY GA--, Macon GA