Category Archives: LaGrange GA

Hills and Dales Estate, 1916, LaGrange

Fuller & Ida Cason Callaway’s Hills and Dales Estate is one of the great landscape and architectural treasures of Georgia, not to be missed. Ferrell Gardens, from which the property evolved, was established in the 1840s and developed and nurtured over decades. Owned by Judge Blount Coleman Ferrell (January 1816-19 September 1908) and his wife (and double first cousin) Sarah Coleman Ferrell (October 1817-7 December 1903), the gardens were the creation and domain of “Miss Sarah”, as Mrs. Ferrell was affectionately known. They are characterized by boxwood parterres formally set into a gently sloping terrain.

During the time of the Ferrells, the gardens were open to the public and were nationally known. They were even the setting of a novel, Vesta, written by Sarah’s sister, Florida P. Reed, in 1894.

It is considered one of the best preserved 19th century gardens in the United States and is a masterwork of landscape architecture.

Fuller Callaway, who spent time in the gardens with “Miss Sarah” as a boy, purchased the property in 1912 from the Ferrell estate and commissioned Neel Reid and Hal Hentz of the firm of Hentz, Reid, and Adler to design a home that would be worthy of the surrounding landscape.

The end result was this 13,000-square-foot mansion, inspired by the work of Charles Adams Platt and designed to complement the gardens. The Callaways named the estate Hills and Dales, for its sunny hills and shady dales.

Dwarf English Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’) is the signature plant in Ferrell Gardens.

Other species include American Boxwood, Tree Boxwood, Spanish Boxwood, and Curly Leaf Boxwood.

There are over 2 1/2 acres of boxwood parterres on the grounds.

A few other iconic species present include: China Fir, Tea Plant, Southern Magnolia, Gingko, Camellia, Banana Shrub, and Tea Olive.

This hedge spells out the word GOD.

In addition to the boxwood parterres, flowering plants can be found in season scattered around the estate.

The gardens have brought much joy in their nearly two centuries of existence and show no signs of slowing down.

Ida Cason Callaway and her daughter-in-law Alice Hand Callaway would be very proud of the legacy they have left behind.

Upon Ida’s death in 1936, her son Fuller Jr. and his wife, Alice Hand Callaway, moved into the home and raised their family here.

After Fuller Jr.’s death in 1992, Alice spent much of her time restoring the house and maintaining the gardens.

It was their wish that the property, while remaining in the family, would be open to the public, and since Alice’s death in 1998, that vision has become reality.

Thanks are due to Mark McDonald of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, Hills and Dales Executive Director Carleton B. Wood, and all the wonderful staff, for making my visit such a memorable experience. If you haven’t been to Hills and Dales, you should seriously consider a visit. There’s nothing else like it in Georgia.

Vernon Road Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

LaGrange City Hall, 1926

Architect Otis Clay Poundstone was in partnership with the Atlanta firm of T. F. Lockwood at the time he designed LaGrange City Hall. The Alabama native designed numerous public buildings in Georgia, including several in Cedartown.

LaGrange Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

LaGrange Presbyterian Church, 1844

The oldest non-residential structure in LaGrange, this Greek Revival church was built by Benjamin H. Cameron for the local Presbyterian congregation in 1844. It served as a Confederate hospital from 1863-1865. The Reverend Dr. James Woodrow, uncle of Woodrow Wilson, was tried here by the Presbyterian Synod for teaching evolution in 1885. It later featured a steeple built by George and John King, sons of the great bridge builder, Horace King, but it was removed when the congregation relocated in 1919. The structure has subsequently served as a public library, funeral home, athletic club, and as home to another congregation.

 

Sunny Gables, 1926, LaGrange

The prolific Georgia architect P. Thornton Marye designed this Tudor Revival for Mary and Julia Nix. The Nix sisters were among the benefactors who helped save LaGrange College from financial ruin in the years following World War I. It has served as the School of Nursing and presently, the Alumni House.

Broad Street Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Hood-Copeland House, 1907, LaGrange

This Neoclassical Revival house was built by local contractor E. D. Roberts for Mr. & Mrs. E. Glover Hood. Mrs. Hood was the granddaughter of Phillip Hunter Greene, who built The Oaks, next door. Dr. & Mrs. Robert Copeland purchased in 1969 and Mrs. Copeland was very active in preservation efforts throughout the community.

Vernon Road Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

The Oaks, 1843, LaGrange

Phillip Hunter Greene took three years to select the timbers for this house, which an 1883 LaGrange Reporter article declared “…the best built framed house in LaGrange…”. Greene was a successful inventor of improvements in sawmills, plows, and fencing. Grover Cleaveland purchased the home for his sister Etta Dodd in 1914. It was the boyhood home of Lamar Dodd, perhaps Georgia’s most accomplished artist of the 20th century.

Vernon Road Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Hutchinson-Parham House, 1940, LaGrange

This imposing landmark of the Mediterranean Revival style was built for Robert and Florence Hutchinson in 1940*. It is notable in that it was built by one Georgia’s first woman architects, Ellamae Ellis League (1899-1991) of Macon. Ms. League was the first Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in Georgia and one of only eight in the nation at the time of her death. She designed high schools, hospitals, gymnasiums, and other public facilities, as well as numerous residential commissions. She oversaw the renovation and restoration of the Grand Opera House in Macon.  Her daughter and a grandson also became architects.

Of Ms. League, Bamby Ray writes: League became an architect by necessity. In 1922, divorced at age twenty-three with two small children, she entered a profession for which she had no training. Her husband of five years had left her with no financial resources, and she needed to find employment. Six generations of her family, including an uncle in Atlanta, [Charles Ellis Choate, one of Georgia’s most prolific architects in his lifetime] had been architects. She joined a Macon firm as an apprentice and remained there for the next six years, as she managed both office and child-rearing duties. During that time League also took correspondence courses from the Beaux Arts Institute of Design in New York City.

*- Travels through Troup County: A Guide to its Architecture and History dates the house to 1916, but I believe this to have been an oversight.

 

Lewis-Cary House, Circa 1850, LaGrange

This classic Italianate cottage was built for Nicholas Lewis. During the Civil War, it was occupied by refugees from various Southern states. A prominent local physician, Dr. Henry Hamilton Cary, purchased the home in 1869.

Dixie Mills Saltbox House, 1890s, LaGrange

This saltbox house is one of several surviving employee housing units of the Dixie Mill textile village in LaGrange. The form was used throughout the neighborhood, and is quite rare in Georgia. Dixie Mill, established in the late 1890s, was the first of many modern textile operations that would dominate LaGrange’s economy throughout most of the 20th century.

 

 

Sylvanus Bates House, Circa 1849, LaGrange

This Greek Revival cottage was built by Sylvanus Bates, who was principal of LaGrange High School at the time. The school was located across the street and the central hallway of the residence was used for academic assemblies. Colonel John L. Stephens, brother of Confederate vice-president Alexander H. Stephens was a later resident, as were the Jarrell brothers. Admiral Albert E. Jarrell helped negotiate the end of the Korean War. His brother, Captain Henry Jarrell, was the American attache to Chiang Ki Shek and Francisco Franco. From 1958-1989, the house was used for services the Christian Science Society. It is presently a gift shop.*

*-Much of the information on homes in LaGrange and Troup County comes from the excellent book, Travels through Troup County: A Guide to its Architecture and History (Troup County Historical Society, 1996). John Lawrence’s excellent photographs combined with Julie Turner’s research make for a great local architectural survey. Every county should be so lucky as to have such a guide at their disposal. The very affordable book can be purchased from the Troup County Archives.

National Register of Historic Places