Category Archives: –BALDWIN COUNTY GA–

Allen’s Invalid Home, Milledgeville

This is one of two nearly identical structures that were later built on the site, and is the only surviving remnant of the sanitarium. From limited sources, I have preliminarily identified this as the administration building and Dr. Allen’s residence, though it has also been identified as the dining hall and women’s building.

In 1890, Dr. Henry Dawson Allen, Sr., bought the old Oglethorpe University property in the Midway community and in 1891 opened a private hospital for chronic incurable cases, likely as an alternative to the less personal care offered at the nearby State Lunatic Asylum.

Allen’s Invalid Home for the Treatment of Nervous Diseases was among the first private psychiatric institutions in the Southeastern United States. Dr. Allen was very progressive and bought up as much of the surrounding land, on which were grown a great variety of vegetables and stock for the use of the institution. Patients weren’t required to work but could if they chose to. Dr. Allen’s sons, Dr. H. D. Allen, Jr., and Dr. Edwin Whitaker Allen, Sr., eventually practiced alongside their father.

Rear of the building, showing the addition.

Abandoned Interiors of Allen’s Invalid Home

Please note that this is private property. I had permission to photograph. If you wish to photograph you may wish to make a donation to the Maranatha Mission, which oversees the property.

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Cedar Lane Cemetery, Hardwick

Three historic cemeteries (and two non-historic) are associated with the property around Central State Hospital, but without the efforts of employees who felt the lives of those who lived and died on these grounds deserved a dignified resting place, they would have most likely been lost to neglect. This post will focus on Cedar Lane Cemetery, which was historically known as the Asylum Cemetery. Within its 18+ acres are marble grave markers dating back as far as 1854. The exact date the cemetery was begun is unknown, but it was likely the late 1840s or early 1850s. The earliest burials of institutionalized people of the State Lunatic Asylum (as Central State Hospital was known at the time) were in Memory Hill Cemetery.

Thanks to the efforts of Bud Merritt and numerous volunteers, these metal “headboard markers” have been righted after many were buried over the years by bad management practices. I have talked extensively with Mr. Merritt about the process of “recovering” the cemetery and though he seeks no publicity for this enormous task, his insight and subsequent work on having the Central State Cemeteries added to the National Register of Historic Places, was crucial to their survival. Some of the markers are in their correct places, while others are not. All the markers feature a number that corresponded to a patient or prisoner’s name. It is a somber display, but makes one think of the conditions of those souls who spent large parts of their lives here.

At this time, I believe Cedar Lane is the only accessible of the Central State cemeteries. Typical of the time, African-American residents of Central State were segregated, even in death, and were buried in a cemetery of similar appearance.

As part of the process of reclaiming this sacred ground, a statue was commissioned and stands at the end of the lane of cedar trees which give the cemetery its modern name.

It was created by a prominent sculptor who did commissions for U. S. presidents and other important figures. [I will update with a name soon].

Central State Cemeteries, National Register of Historic Places

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Lizzie Jackson Monument, 1883, Milledgeville

The headstone marking the final resting place of Elizabeth “Lizzie” Jackson (15 January 1850-15 March 1883) in the African-American section of Memory Hill is worthy of special mention as a singular work of art. More importantly, it serves as validation that the influence of artistic movements generally associated with White communities also reached African-Americans. As headstones go it’s quite diminutive, scarcely a foot-and-a-half in height, but its visual appeal is unmistakable.

Lizzie Jackson was likely born into the institution of slavery and, though little is known of her life, research by Cynthia Jennings found that she was living at the time of the 1870 Census on Franklin Street, the same street Memory Hill Cemetery is located on. This section of town was predominately African-American well into the 20th century. Lizzie resided at the time with a Susan Palmer, who may have been her mother or grandmother. She was married and had a son (Randall) and daughter.

Dutch Henderson has studied this marker, and a couple others which have since been removed from the cemetery. The “missing” markers are similar to this this one and all feature a sunflower. They are all believed to have been accomplished as “side jobs” by an employee of the McMillan Brick Works of Milledgeville. This example is signed [R.J], which may represent Lizzie’s son, Randall. He would have had the schooling necessary to write the words. Lizzie’s husband and son were both involved in the brick industry at the McMillan Works.

As to the importance of artistic influence, the patterns draw heavily upon the emerging Arts and Crafts movement of the early 1880s. The movement focused on natural forms and the sunflower is among its notable icons. The top of the marker is “diapered”, a term for brick made with a repeating diamond pattern.

Vines and flowers were recurring themes of the movement, as well, especially in the patterns of William Morris, one of its most influential artist/designers.

National Register of Historic Places

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DuBignon-Brown House, Circa 1850, Milledgeville

A review of available sources, including The Architecture of Middle Georgia: The Oconee Area and The History of Baldwin County, date this house to circa 1850. (A sign on the property dates it to 1820*). The first name associated with the house is that of Fleming Grantland DuBignon. Mr. DuBignon was a grandson of Seaton Grantland, founder of the Milledgeville Recorder newspaper (which survives today as the Union-Recorder) and longtime owner of Woodville Plantation, and a great-grandson of early Jekyll Island settler and French immigrant Christophe Poulain DuBignon (du Bignon).

Later owners included the Brown, Moore, Arcangeli, and Sisson families.

*-It’s possible that further research has determined the 1820 date, but I am unaware of it.

Milledgeville Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Frank Bone House, 1921, Milledgeville

Frank Bone was the owner of the Oconee Clay Products, a commercial pipe and fitting manufacturer which operated from 1908-1979. He built this house in 1921, inspired by a house in Surrey, England. It is a landmark of the Tudor Revival style and after serving for a time as the Georgia College Alumni House, it is again a private residence.

Milledgeville Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Eddy Neighborhood, Milledgeville

Folk Victorian Cottage, 1908

Though it wasn’t the only African-American neighborhood in Milledgeville at the turn of the last century, the Eddy community was among the most prominent. Anchored by Flagg Chapel and the Eddy School, it was a center of spiritual, cultural, and educational advancement for African-Americans in a time of segregation.

Folk Victorian Cottage, Date Unknown

The architecture of the neighborhood is vernacular, with Folk Victorian being the most notable form.

Folk Victorian Cottage, Date Unknown
Central Hallway Cottage, Date Unknown

Milledgeville Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Olivia Thomas House, Circa 1900, Milledgeville

This was the home of Olivia Thomas, a legend of the Eddy community who was known as “The Guardian of the Old Governor’s Mansion”. Ms. Thomas served as a tour guide and caretaker of the mansion for 39 years, serving under five college presidents: Dr. Wells, Dr. Stanford, Dr. Lee, Dr. Bunting, and Dr. Spier.

Milledgeville Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Genie Andrews House, 1890s, Milledgeville

This Folk Victorian cottage in the Eddy neighborhood was purchased by Eugene James, a hardware deliveryman and laborer, in 1893. Upon his death, it became the home of his daughter, Genie James Andrews, who taught at the Eddy School with Sallie Ellis Davis. Mrs. Andrews was also a noted piano teacher.

Milledgeville Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Sallie Ellis Davis House, 1890, Milledgeville

The Sallie Ellis Davis House serves as the de facto anchor of the Eddy Neighborhood, an historic African-American community of late 19th and early 20th century Milledgeville. Through a cooperative effort of Georgia College and the Sallie Ellis Davis Foundation, restoration of the house began in 2009 and was completed in 2012.

Sallie Ellis Davis was born in Baldwin County in 1877 to an Irish immigrant father (Josh Ellis) and an African-American woman (Elizabeth Brunswick). Josh Ellis was a prominent landowner, businessman, and gentleman farmer. After graduating from Atlanta University in 1899 she returned home and began teaching at the Eddy School, where she would remain until her retirement in 1949. She served as principal for 27 years. After her death, Baldwin County honored her legacy by naming an elementary school for her.

In 1910, Sallie Ellis moved into this house in the Eddy Neighborhood, and in 1911 she married John (Jack) Davis. Mr. Davis died in 1920 but Sallie remained in the home until her death in 1950.

The house is open for historic tours today.

Milledgeville Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Major Edward White House, Circa 1806, Milledgeville

This house is believed to be the oldest in Milledgeville. It was built circa 1806 for Major Edward White (1758-9 January 1812), a Massachusetts native who served as Adjutant to the Marquis de Lafayette during the Yorktown campaign. Major White’s wife, Mildred Scott Stubbs (28 September 1775-23 July 1825), was the niece of General John Scott, who built the state capitol in the newly established seat of state government. Upon the death of Major White, his son, Dr. Benjamin Aspinwall White (2 January 1793-11 April 1866), inherited the home. Dr. White served as mayor of Milledgeville in 1840 and Surgeon General of the Georgia State Troops during the Civil War. He was also a founding member of the board of the Georgia Lunatic Asylum.

The house was originally located on West Greene Street and was moved in the late 19th century to its present location. It maintains much of its historic integrity.

Milledgeville Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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