Category Archives: Milledgeville GA

The Pergola, Milledgeville

This was one of my favorite spots on campus when I was a student at Georgia College. Located between Atkinson and Terrell Halls, it was built to protect students walking between the two buildings from the weather, when the campus was much smaller. Today, it’s an icon of the university and one of its most unique architectural highlights. Simply said, it’s a colonnade of Corinthian columns centered by a small dome. I haven’t found a date for the pergola, but Atkinson Hall was built in 1896 and Terrell Hall was built in 1908. I suspect it was built soon after Terrell was completed.

Milledgeville Historic District, National Register of Historic Places


Future of Milledgeville’s Lamar House Remains Uncertain

Zachariah Lamar House, Circa 1806-1810

This house has been in rough shape for as long as I can remember, having been a rental property for many years, but I always knew it was architecturally significant and of historical importance. Despite having lost all its historic interior elements and featuring a non-historic rear addition, the house is an important link not only to the earliest days of Milledgeville but to two important families integral to the political and cultural life of 19th-century Georgia and is worth saving.

A couple of years ago my friend David Bray noted that plans for demolition were on the horizon, and preservationist Scott Reed recently reached out to let me know that hearings on its fate were moving forward. The present owners of the property, Georgia Military College (GMC), have plans to turn the property into a parking lot but Bray notes that as of now, demolition of the house has been stopped, largely due to efforts of the Milledgeville Historic Preservation Commission and concerned citizens. He notes that GMC is willing to save the structure. Still, plans for its future, which involve several options, remain uncertain. Proposals are being considered at this time. [This is an ongoing process, and updates will be included as they become available].

As to the history of the house, an exact date is unknown, but it was built for Zachariah Lamar (1769-29 October 1838), who purchased the lot on which it stands in 1806. Considering Lamar’s involvement with the committee which designed the plans for the city of Milledgeville [established 1804], it seems the house is likely contemporary to his purchase of the property or soon thereafter, placing it circa 1806-1810.

In addition to his interests in retail, taverns, saloons, agriculture, and banking, Lamar served as a judge and in the Georgia House of Representatives and the Georgia Senate. He was directly involved with the formation of the Bank of the State of Georgia, the first “upcountry” bank in the state. He was also one of the managers of the ball which honored the Marquis de LaFayette* on the occasion of his visit to Milledgeville in 1825.

[The 1 April 1825 edition of the Milledgeville Georgian notes of the visit of 27-29 March: “General Lafayette arrived in Milledgeville on Sunday last, at noon. It is needless to say he received a hearty and enthusiastic welcome…he was met by the Cavalry of Baldwin County, who escorted him into the town, and that his approach was announced by the firing of cannon, ringing of bells, &e. The General rode in an open carriage, accompanied by the Governor, and followed by the military and civil procession, as previously arranged. In the evening he attended service at the Methodist Chapel- the town was illuminated, and on Monday he was to dine with the citizens, in an extensive arbor prepared in the State House square. A splendid Ball and supper were to be given him in Monday evening- the Senate Chamber and Hall of representatives having been tastefully prepared for the occasion. Several volunteer companies from the neighboring counties had arrived to assist in paying honor to the Guest of the Nation.]

Zachariah Lamar House, Perspective view showing non-historic rear addition

At his death he owned around 15,000 acres of land, dependent on the labor of 220 slaves. One of his sons, John Basil Lamar, served in the Georgia legislature and very briefly in the United States House of Representatives, and died at the Battle of Crampton’s Gap during the Civil War. He was also one of the so-called Georgia Humorists. His daughter, Mary Ann Lamar, was married to Howell Cobb [the namesake of Cobb County].

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.

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 in 2001by Don Haugen, a prominent sculptor who did commissions for U. S. presidents and other important figures. It is titled Angel of Milledgeville.

Central State Cemeteries, National Register of Historic Places

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

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

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

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

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

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