Tag Archives: Georgia Greek Revival Architecture

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

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.

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.

Pettigrew-White-Stamps House, Circa 1833, Thomaston

This Greek Revival cottage was built on North Church Street in 1833 by John E. Pettigrew. In 1840, Benjamin B. White purchased the house and added an additional bedroom, dining room, kitchen and verandah across the rear of the structure. The Stamps family bought the house at some point in the 1880s and remained until 1968. During that year, the house was moved to its present location by the Upson Historical Society to save it from demolition. It is the second oldest house in Thomaston.

It is now a museum, open by appointment with the Upson Historical Society.

John Phinizy House, Circa 1835, Augusta

One of Augusta’s most important architectural landmarks, the raised Greek Revival home of John Phinizy (7 January 1793-4 July 1884) is thought to be the work of the great Irish-born Georgia architect Charles Cluskey, though this has not been confirmed to my knowledge. Phinizy was of Italian descent, his father Ferdinand having migrated to America from Parma.

Soon after John Phinizy’s death, his son Charles H. Phinizy and his wife, Mary Louise Yancey, hired Tiffany & Company to redecorate the interior (circa 1885). They added the top floor in the 1890s. The family remained in the home until 1933. After brief service as a funeral home, it served until 1996 as the Elks Lodge. It has most recently been used as an event space.

Greene Street Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Warren House, 1870s, Augusta

This exemplar of the Sand Hills Cottage style is a particularly nice example, with a Greek Revival facade. It was built for Captain William Henry Warren and his wife, Mary Moore Warren. Mrs. Warren was involved in benevolent projects, including the Mizpah Circle of the International Order of the King’s Daughters, which sought to improve the lives of its members through service to those less fortunate. Upon Mrs. Warren’s death in 1903, her estate set aside money for the establishment of the Mary Warren Home on Broad Street (later in Summerville) to care for indigent women and children. It served the community for many years.

Greene Street Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Thomas T. Napier House, 1826, Forsyth

This is one of the most outstanding Greek Revival houses in Georgia and is well-maintained. I believe it was built by Thomas T. Napier, whose Virginia-born father, Thomas Napier, owned over 6000 acres in Bibb and surrounding counties at the time of his death in 1838. Thomas T. Napier also built a home in Ringgold in 1836. I will do my best to clarify this history when I can better discern the genealogy.

Richardson House, 1867, Byron

This raised cottage was built by Dr. Charles Hyatt Richardson (1830-1886), a native of Sumter, South Carolina. Dr. Richardson was the first doctor and first mayor of Byron. Local citizens wanted to name the town Richardsonville in his honor, but he suggested it be named for Lord Byron, the English poet.

A raised Georgian Greek Revival cottage, it’s one of the finest homes in Byron and is wonderfully maintained. The side wing and Victorian fretwork were added circa 1890. Sources date it to 1867 and note it was built for one of his sons, but his sons were not even teenagers in 1867. Later owners have been the Warren (descendants of Dr. Richardson) and Collins families.

Byron Historic District, National Register of Historic Places.

Warren House, Circa 1859, Jonesboro

This simple Greek Revival home was built for Guy Lewis Warren, a founder of Jonesboro and agent of the Macon & Western Railroad. It served as a hospital and headquarters for the 52nd Illinois Regiment during the Battle of Jonesboro.

Jonesboro Historic District, National Register of Historic Places