Tag Archives: North Georgia Museums

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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Filed under --BALDWIN COUNTY GA--

Central of Georgia Railway Passenger Depot, 1899, Forsyth

Designed by the prominent firm of Bruce & Morgan, the old passenger depot at Forsyth is now home to a museum.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --MONROE COUNTY GA--, Forsyth GA

Crawford W. Long Museum, Jefferson

2017 marked the 175th anniversary of Dr. Crawford W. Long‘s first use of ether as a surgical anesthetic in Jefferson (30 March 1842). Long first apprenticed under Dr. Grant in Jefferson in the mid-1830s before moving to Philadelphia and New York to complete his medical training. In 1841, Dr. Long was an astute observer of one of the social trends of the day, known as “ether frolics”, in which the participants enjoyed recreational use of the substance. Noting that they felt no pain, he theorized ether could be used as a surgical anesthetic and made his first test case removing a cyst from the neck of James Venable. Three witnesses confirmed the success of the operation and the absence of pain in Venable.

The circa 1858 Pendergrass Store building was transformed into an 1840s doctor’s office and apothecary to better interpret Long’s discovery, which paved the way for modern medicine. It serves as the Crawford W. Long Museum. After making my way from the courthouse to the museum to pick up a historic walking tour brochure, I had a nice visit. And better, I purchased a “got ether?” t-shirt, one of the coolest of its kind to be found in Georgia.

Jefferson Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --JACKSON COUNTY GA--, Jefferson GA

Uncle Remus Museum, 1963, Eatonton

Constructed from derelict slave cabins, the Uncle Remus Museum opened in Eatonton in 1963. Its location, Turner Park, was the boyhood homeplace of Joseph Sidney Turner, the inspiration for the “little boy” to whom “Uncle Remus” relayed all his critter stories in Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings (1880) and later works. Turner’s father, Joseph Addison Turner, owned Turnwold Plantation where Harris apprenticed as a teenager during the Civil War. A reconstructed blacksmith shop is also located in the park.

Carvings of many of the animal characters populate the grounds, which are a delight to walk around. I’m not sure who did all of these wonderful wood sculptures, but they’re a wonderful addition to the property. And forgive me if I confuse Bre’r Fox and Bre’r Wolf!

Bre’r Fox

Bre’r Wolf

Bre’r Bear

Bre’r Tarrypin

And last, but certainly not least, Bre’r Rabbit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under --PUTNAM COUNTY GA--, Eatonton GA

Erskine Caldwell Birthplace, Circa 1879, Moreland

Moved from its original location outside Moreland, this house was the birthplace of Erskine Caldwell. [Caldwell’s father was the minister of the local Presbyterian congregation and this house was the parsonage, hence its nickname, “The Little Manse”]. Caldwell published numerous bestsellers but is best remembered for Tobacco Road and God’s Little Acre.

When I was a teenager I had the honor of meeting Erskine Caldwell and interviewing him for my high school newspaper when he did a symposium at the Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County Library. I was in 10th grade and Mr. Caldwell (1903-1987) was near the end of his life. What I most remember from my interview is that he was not a fan of critics and wasn’t interested in discussing symbolism in his work. He said it was the result of observation and the work spoke for itself.

The house and community are on the Southern Literary Trail.

 

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Filed under --COWETA COUNTY GA--, Moreland GA

Eagle Tavern, Circa 1801, Watkinsville

When the Eagle Tavern was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, it was thought that it was constructed sometime around 1820, but subsequent research has set the date around 1801, possibly earlier. The location of present-day Watkinsville was still a part of the Cherokee and Creek territories when the tavern was built and the seat of the original Clarke County before Athens existed. It’s one of just a few stagecoach, pre-railroad era public structures surviving in Georgia. In 1836 Richard C. Richardson bought the tavern and made numerous additions over the years. In 1934, the tavern was saved from destruction by Lanier Richardson Billups, who deeded it to the state of Georgia in 1956. Under the direction of architect G. Thomas Little, Richardson’s additions were removed, revealing the Plantation Plain original section we see today. It is now home to the Eagle Tavern Museum.

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Filed under --OCONEE COUNTY GA--, Watkinsville GA

Laurel & Hardy Museum, Harlem

This is the only museum in the United States dedicated to Laurel & Hardy. Harlem also hosts the Oliver Hardy Festival each October.

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Filed under --COLUMBIA COUNTY GA--, Harlem GA