Category Archives: –TALBOT COUNTY GA–

Double-Pen House, Talbot County

Like all examples of utilitarian architecture, the double-pen house can be found in varying forms, but it’s essentially a two-room house separated by a central wall with a door opening between the two rooms. This example has a shed room at the rear, which is a very common expansion. The form, once somewhat common, has become quite rare today.

Moore Commissary, Circa 1906, Junction City

I believe this to be Charlie Moore’s commissary, which served employees in his milling and coffin building operations. William H. Davidson notes two stores in Junction City in his history of Talbot County.

J. Leonard Morgan’s general store wasn’t open until 1929, and this construction looks earlier than 1929 to me. I think this is what he identified as Marvin J. Hester’s general store, “located in Charlie Moore’s old commissary building“.

That would likely place this structure’s date of construction to circa 1906. It was a condition of Moore’s purchase of the Perkins properties [present day Junction City vicinity] that all structures of that enterprise be removed by 1 September 1906, so Moore likely built this commissary when he established the town.

Moore-Morgan House, 1919, Junction City

This Neoclassical Cottage, christened “Joy in My Heart” by Reverend Dr. R. H. Harris on 14 December 1919, was built by Charles Warren “Charlie” Moore. In A Rockaway in Talbot: Travels in an Old Georgia County, Vol. II, William H. Davidson notes that Mr. Moore was the principal developer of Junction City.

Davidson further notes, of Moore’s involvement in the settlement of the town: Two railroads crossed and a third had its terminus at a place in Talbot County incorporated as Junction City in 1906. The railroads were Atlantic, Birmingham & Coast, the Central of Georgia, and a local short line, Talbotton Railroad. The latter terminated with the Central at nearby Paschal. Perkins Company [which operated a large timber and sawmill operation in the area]…made an indenture…May 17, 1906, conveying to Charlie Moore…the heart of what became Junction City. It was hoped that the place would become a promising railroad town.

Moore established a bank, timber and milling operations, a coffin factory, and established the sand mining operations that continue today at Brownsand. The leading citizen of Junction City, Charlie Moore, died on 10 October 1944 in a car crash near Upatoi while enroute to take his grandchildren to the Chattahoochee Valley Fair in Columbus. His wife died from her injuries four days later.

James Leonard Morgan purchased the Moore House in 1948. During restoration, two of the original four columns on the front portico were damaged and not replaced. Sidelights at the front doors were also damaged and not replaced. The house, though slightly changed over the years, is an important connection to Junction City’s origins.

Farmers & Merchants Bank, Circa 1907, Junction City

This structure, which now serves as the city hall for Junction City, was built circa 1907 as the Farmers & Merchants Bank. It is a brick structure which at some point was sided with stucco. Junction City was incorporated in 1906.

Restoration of a Greek Revival Cottage, Talbot County

Rising above the pristine countryside of Talbot County, this house first caught my attention a couple of years ago. At the time, work was at an earlier phase and it didn’t look as grand as it does today. I made a mental note to check on it when I could but was still not prepared for the awesome presence of the house, viewed from the incline of the clay and gravel driveway.

I recently learned that my family’s longtime friend Mike Buckner owned the house and was restoring it. I was in the area and dropped by to purchase some books and get some of his wonderful stone-ground grits and he offered to take me on a tour. Though he wouldn’t say so, Mike is an all-around Renaissance man and serious guardian of Talbot County’s history and architecture. He has personally saved and salvaged numerous endangered structures over the years.

Mike moved this 1840s Greek Revival Cottage, which once stood near Zion Episcopal Church in Talbotton, to his property and decided to transform it into a raised cottage. The brick piers supporting the cottage were salvaged from the old Talbotton depot, proof that Mike doesn’t believe in wasting anything. The Doric columns were made to order.

The lower floor will be somewhat modern, while keeping with the style of the house, and the original section of the cottage will be sensitively restored. Historic mantels will be put back in place and the floors will be spiffed up. Plaster walls will be replaced. A widow’s walk has already been placed on top of the structure. I will definitely be visiting when all the work is done.

On the back side of the house Mike is building a porch, which will afford some of the most beautiful views from one of the highest elevations in this part of Talbot County.

It’s an amazing sight and the entire project is a testament to the value of the renewal of historic resources.

Hiram Knowlton House, Circa 1838, Talbot County

This exceptional Greek Revival cottage was built circa 1838 by Hiram Knowlton (c.1805-1875). Knowlton was a master carpenter and millwright who came to Talbot County from New York in 1836; he purchased the property on which the home is located from Chestley Pearson in 1838. The distinctive diamond panes in the transom and sidelights, as well as the diminutive dormers, are notable decorative features of the one-and-a-half story dwelling. A hand-carved molded stairway with delicate banisters dominates the main hall. William H. Davidson, in A Rockaway in Talbot: Travels in an Old Georgia County Vol. II notes that it is “..a triumph of carpentry…it is a much more sophisticated stair than usually found in Talbot County early houses…”. A second narrow stairway in the rear of the house leads to the upper floor, which may have originally housed servants. *[Due to ongoing work in the house, I was unable to get many interior shots, but I’ll be sharing more views in a future update].

After Knowlton’s death, the property passed to Luke A. Crawford, of Upson County, a son-in-law of Hiram Knowlton’s second wife. It was sold to Henry Butler in 1905. It remained in the Butler family for well over a century and was known to many as the Butler Plantation.

Original mantel in the upper floor

I am grateful to the present owners, Jim & Deborah Bruce, for welcoming me into their home, and to Mike Buckner for taking me for a visit. Jim’s extensive collection of vernacular African-American art is a wonderful complement to the interior.

Rose Hill Seminary Headmaster’s House, 1850s, Talbotton

If the resource I’ve used is correct, this structure was known as the Johnson cabin and expanded circa 1855 into the present Greek Revival form for use as the headmaster’s home. It is the last surviving significant structure of the Rose Hill Seminary, established by Zion Episcopal Church founder Reverend Richard Johnson, who came to Talbotton in 1846. The expansion of the house may have taken place at the direction of Reverend Wesley Gahagan, who came to Talbotton in 1852 to manage the school. Reverend Gahagan died in 1857 and the school closed soon thereafter. [Thanks to Jim Bruce for further confirming some of this history].

Trae Ingram notes that the house suffered serious damage during a tornado a few years ago.

Horeb Primitive Baptist Church, Talbot County

Horeb was constituted in 1835 and built a house of worship before 1841. It’s possible that this structure dates to that time, but my resources aren’t sufficient to confirm at this time.

Governor George W. Towns House, 1828, Talbotton

According to the 1973 nomination form which added this property to the National Register of Historic Places: Construction of the house began in 1828. It is an amalgamation of two two-story…houses to which was added a mid-19th century portico and several 2oth century rooms…[the house] is an example of what happened to vernacular architecture in Georgia as a family and its needs and stylistic wants grew and changed…

The house is also known as the Towns-Persons-Page House. After Towns left the governorship and moved to Macon [circa 1852], the house was sold to the Persons family, who occupied it until 1968, when it was purchased by the Gary Page family.

George Washington Bonaparte Towns (1801-1854) was born in Wilkes County, though his family soon moved to Greene County, and then on to Morgan County. He moved to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1821, and operated a pub while studying law. He was admitted to the bar in 1824. He also briefly owned a newspaper, the Alabama Journal. His first marriage, to Margaret Jane Campbell in 1826, ended tragically. His bride, who had been in poor health, died just a few days after the ceremony. [He married Margaret Winston Jones of Virginia in 1838].

Towns moved to Talbotton in 1828 and served as one of its first commissioners. He was also one of the first attorneys in the new town, owning a very successful practice. He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1829 and 1830. He served in the state senate from 1832-1834. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1835 but resigned in 1836 over concerns that the legislature might be forced to pick a Whig as President in the upcoming election. Instead, a Whig won Towns’s seat, but he successfully won re-election to the seat in 1837 and served until 1839. He continued to practice law and served one more term in Congress, in 1846, but lost re-election to John W. Jones, a Whig.

In 1847, Towns was elected governor of Georgia in a highly contested race against the Whig candidate, Duncan L. Clinch. He served until 1851 and died in Macon in 1854.

National Register of Historic Places

Thomas Lumsden House, Circa 1854, Talbot County

The Greek Revival plantation home of Thomas Reid Lumsden is truly exceptional, featuring carved columns and 12-over-12 windows. It has remained in the same family throughout its history.

In his monumental history A Rockaway in Talbot: Travels in an Old Georgia County [Hester Printing, 1985], William H. Davidson notes that Lumsden made his way to Talbot County when he married his second wife, Virgina Pierce Leonard in 1853. They lived for a time in Floyd County but were back in Talbot, building this house circa 1853-1854.

Davidson also points out the influence of Andrew Jackson Downing’s 1850 pattern book The Architecture of Country Houses. He notes The verandah of the Lumsden house was very likely adapted therefrom by Urban Cooper Tigner, contractor and builder of the house, his own nearby plantation house, and the Collinsworth United Methodist Church. Thanks to Jim Bruce for sharing scans from Davidson’s book.

Thanks to Trae Ingram for the identification.