Tag Archives: Antebellum Georgia

Middlebrooks House – Sparta Female Dormitory, 1832

According to local sources, this was one of three dormitories of the Sparta Female Model School, built between 1831-1832. In contrast to the other existing dormitory, this one is in good condition and has been a residence for many years.


Sparta Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Dennis Ryan House, Circa 1804, Sparta

This raised Greek Revival cottage on Maiden Lane was the home of Dennis Ryan, the local newspaper editor who covered Aaron Burr’s presence in the area after his duel with Alexander Hamilton. I believe the house has been recently restored.


Sparta Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Girl Scout First Headquarters, Savannah

The Andrew Low Carriage House*, at 330 Drayton Street, was the site of the first meeting of the troop of eighteen Girl Guides who would soon come to be known as the Girl Scouts. Juliette Magill Kinzie Gordon was born into an influential Savannah family on 31 October 1860. Her grandfather was the first president of the Central Railroad and Banking Company of Georgia, and her father, William Washington Gordon II, was a Confederate captain, brigadier-general in the Spanish-American War, and a Georgia legislator. She attended boarding schools in New Jersey and Virginia, and a French finishing school in New York City.

After completing her education, Juliette married William Mackay Low in 1886. Low was the son of Andrew Low, a wealthy cotton factor of Scottish origin who owned homes in Savannah and the United Kingdom. The young couple spent most of their time in England and Scotland. The union turned sour when Juliette discovered that William had moved his mistress into their home. In 1902 she filed for divorce, but William’s health was deteriorating and before the action could be finalized, he died in Wales, in 1905.

In 1911, Juliette Gordon Low met Sir Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, and got involved with a troop of Girl Guides in Scotland. She brought the movement to Savannah and the first troop of eighteen Girl Guides met in the carriage house of the Low family mansion on 12 March 1912. The name was changed to the Girl Scouts in 1913. Low’s association with the Girl Scouts continued in various capacities until her death in 1927. The organization has served over 50 million girls in its long history and while it may be best known for its annual cookie sales, has enriched the lives of those who have been associated with it.

The carriage house has served various purposes within the Girl Scouts organization over the years and is presently a museum. It was the first structure in Savannah to receive National Historic Landmark status.

*-Designed by architect John Norris to complement the adjacent Andrew Low House, circa 1848-1849, this structure originally served as the carriage house and living quarters for domestic slaves. Thomas “Tom” Milledge (1818-1886) was the most entrusted of the domestic slaves and after emancipation, remained in the employee of the Low family as a butler. He lived in the carriage house with his wife Mosianna (1844-1909) and their children.

Juliette Gordon Low Historic District, Savannah National Historic Landmark District

Israel Dasher House, 1858, Savannah

This iconic Savannah home was built for Israel Dasher (26 June 1814-3 February 1894), who came to the city from nearby Effingham County. The Dashers were a large Salzburger family connected to New Ebenezer and many of their relatives remain in the area.

Savannah National Historic Landmark District

Georgian Cottage, White Plains

These photographs, like the ones in the previous post, date to 2010. I always thought it to be of antebellum construction but have not located anything about its history. I hope it’s still standing. I only identify it as a Georgian Cottage because of its current layout. It’s possible it originated with another form.

J. D. Roberts House, Circa 1858, Waynesboro

Built in the Georgian Cottage style by John Trowbridge for J. D. Roberts, this home later housed a doctor’s office, millinery shop, and the Burke County museum.

Waynesboro Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Jenkins Hill, Circa 1830s, Putnam County

This outstanding Greek Revival I-House [Plantation Plain] is located on the outskirts of Eatonton. Other than a name, information about the house is scarce. There are 9 /9 and 9/6 windows, an indicator of a much earlier date than 1875-1885, which is cited in real estate and survey listings. That date range may be when the rear addition was completed. I believe it to be 1830s at the latest, with a distinct possibility it may date as far back as the 1810s. Whatever the story, it’s one of the most important surviving houses in Putnam County, in my opinion.

Union Chapel United Methodist Church, Circa 1858, & Union Chapel School, 1913

This vernacular Greek Revival church is among the oldest in Putnam County, and was built on land originally owned by the same man who owned the nearby Rock Eagle site. The historical marker placed by the congregation and the Eatonton-Putnam County Historical Society in 2001 gives a detailed history: On April 24, 1855, Irby Hudson Scott deeded to the trustees of a new newly organized and consolidated Methodist Episcopal group, three and three-quarter acres of land in the Tompkins District in Putnam County, Georgia. A church building was to be erected on the land. There had been a small church on nearby land owned by the Hearn family named Bethel Church. There was also a small church named Rock Chapel on what used to be known as “the ridge road,” and now called the Uncle Remus U.S. Highway 441. Because the membership of each of the two churches was small, they united into one larger congregation and built a house of worship on the land offered for the purpose by Mr. Scott. These early members built well and today the building is still in excellent condition. No one now living knows where the lumber was milled but it is all the very best heart pine lumber, nowhere to be found today. The sills and framework are hand-hewn and pinned. The doors and triple-sash windows are said to have been made in Augusta, Georgia, and hauled overland to the building site. The lumber used to make the pews and the door and window facing was all hand planed. The pulpit Bible was presented in 1855 and the first pastor was the Rev. Henry Morton. As early as 1867, there was a Sunday school at Union Chapel. Mr. Cullen S. Credille was superintendent of the male members and Mrs. Mary Scott was superintendent of the female members. Many years ago the orientation of the interior was changed with the pulpit and pews being reversed. Originally, the pulpit was before the high windows between the two front doors, and was mounted by steps. A new pulpit and communion rail was installed at the opposite end of the building and a center door was removed and the opening closed.

The adjacent schoolhouse is a landmark, as well. More history from the marker notes: On August 13, 1913, a delegation of 25 gentlemen from the Reid’s Crossroad community went before the Putnam County Board of Education and requested that a better school be built in the area. The board voted to build a school at Union Chapel. The builder was Mr. Robert E. Vining and the school opened in November 1913 and was in continuous operation until county school consolidation forced its closure on May 25, 1946. The school’s first teacher was Miss Fannie Mae Jones. It has been used since as Sunday school space by the church. For generations United Chapel Church and school have been important parts of this community.

Dawson House, Circa 1820, & Commissary, 1920s, Putnam County

This impressive house is the center of a large historic farm property, still active today.

Though it has been modernized with new windows, porch, and wings, it still retains elements of its early appearance and likely dates to the late 1810s or early 1820s.

The bricks on the two original chimneys appear to be slave-made. The porch and unfinished timber posts are likely later additions. A circa 1920s commissary is also present.

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.