Tag Archives: Georgia Museums

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

Ainsworth E. Blunt House, 1848, Dalton

Ainsworth Emory Blunt, Sr., (22 February 1800-21 December 1865) was born in Amherst, New Hampshire and in the 1820s came to Chattanooga as a missionary with the American Board of Foreign Missions to teach English, religion, and agriculture to Cherokee natives of the Brainerd Mission. After traveling with some of the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears, he returned to Chattanooga and helped establish the First Presbyterian Church there. He moved to Dalton, then known as Cross Plains, around 1843, and built a successful mercantile business with his son-in-law Benjamin Morse.

Blunt served as the first mayor and first postmaster of Dalton. He built this Federal Style house, the second oldest house and the first two-story example in Dalton, in 1848. In 1863 and 1864, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston and his staff were entertained by the Blunt family in this home. After the Confederates pushed south toward Atlanta, Union forces used the house as a field hospital. It remained in the ownership of Blunt’s descendants until 1978. The house is now a museum operated by the Whitfield-Murray Historical Society.

National Register of Historic Places

Old Stone Church, 1852, Ringgold

This congregation was organized on 2 September 1837 as the Chickamauga Presbyterian Church and is believed to be the first church in what is now Catoosa County. A log cabin and nearby home served as the first meeting places. The organizers were a group of Scotch Irish Presbyterians from Tennessee or the Carolinas and the charter members were Robert Magill, James H. McSpadden, Robert C. Cain, Sarah Black, Alfred McSpadden, Fanny Magill, Susan McSpadden, Winfred Cain, Margaret Cain and Nancy Tipton.

In 1850 construction on this structure began. Member Robert Magi and his brothers hauled limestone quarried at White Oak Mountain to this site and the church was completed in 1852. The church served as a Confederate hospital during the Civil War, and was also commandeered for use by Union troops. The name was changed to Stone Church in 1912 and in 1921 it was transferred to a Methodist congregation. It was used by other congregations subsequently and is now owned and maintained by the Catoosa County Historical Society.

National Register of Historic Places

Talking Rock Schoolhouse, 1877

A sign for the Talking Rock Schoolhouse Teaching Museum notes that the school was established in the community in 1857. The schoolhouse seen here was built in Ludville in 1877 and moved to Talking Rock in 1882. It was restored by retired teachers in 1998.

Kirby-Quinton Cabin, 1830s or 1860s, Jasper

This single-pen log house was originally located on Dunbean Hill on the Old Federal Road between Jasper and Tate. Dunbean Hill was named for Charles “Tsali” Dunbean, a Cherokee who was forced to relocate to Oklahoma in 1838 during the Cherokee Removal. It is thought that he was the builder of the cabin, which would likely date it in its original form to the mid-1830s. The Dunbean Hill property was purchased in 1862 by Stephen Kirby who established the first school in Pickens County, known as Kirby Academy. Around 1870, Kirby expanded the cabin to accommodate his growing family.

Former Congressman Ed Jenkins discovered the log cabin among the ruins of a burned out house on Dunbean Hill and gave the remains to Tom Quinton, a Jasper County Middle School teacher, who restored it for future use as an educational site. After Quinton’s death, the cabin was moved to this location.

Elisha Winn House, Circa 1812, Dacula

The Elisha Winn House was built about 1812 in what was then Jackson County, and is perhaps the oldest extant house in the Atlanta metro area. Winn, who was a Justice of the Inferior Court, purchased the land, with Roger and Elijah Pugh, in 1809. It was part of a 7300 acre tract bordered by the Apalachee River. It became part of Gwinnett County on 15 December 1818, when the Georgia legislature created the counties of Gwinnett, Walton, and Hall, in part from Jackson County, as well as from former Indian lands.

The property is also significant as the first de facto center of government in Gwinnett County, hosting the Inferior Court and the first county elections. A barn on the grounds [no longer extant] hosted the Superior Court. Elisha Winn served as a judge of the Inferior Court from 1820-1825. He also served as a state senator for Gwinnett County in 1826, and a state representative in 1830, 1833, and 1837.

Lawrenceville was established as the Gwinnett County seat in 1821 and the Winns relocated there circa 1824.

Historic Structures Relocated to the Elisha Winn Property

Several structures representative of 19th and early-20th-century history in Gwinnett County have been relocated to the Winn property over the years. A representative mule barn [built in another county in 1917], can be seen in the background of the photo below.

Old Lawrenceville Jail, 1820s

The first jail in Gwinnett County was located on the Winn property but was demolished in 1933 by Jack Sims, who owned it at the time, and his employee Amos Hutchins, who lived most of his life on the old Winn place. As part of a collection of historical buildings, the old Lawrenceville jail [above], built in the 1820s and similar to the original jail, was relocated here for preservation. [Moravian missionaries who refused to get permits to live in Cherokee territory were briefly held in this structure before being transferred to a larger jail in Walton County].

Walnut Grove Schoolhouse, 1875

Typical of rural one-room schoolhouses of the era, the Walnut Grove school was originally located near Walnut Grove Church and the Methodist Campground. It was donated to the Gwinnett Historical Society in 1986 and opened for tours in 1988.

Cotton House, Early 20th Century

Structures of this type would have been present on working cotton plantations and farms in late-19th and early-20th century Gwinnett County. This example was donated to the historical society in 2001.

Alfred R. Clack Blacksmith Shop, Circa 1910

Dr. Donald S. Bickers, who also donated the cotton house, donated this structure to the historical society in 2000. It was built circa 1910 by his grandfather, Alfred R. Clack, who used it until late in his life. He died in 1948 and Dr. Bickers kept the structure in good condition.

National Register of Historic Places [Elisha Winn House, excluding other structures]

Lawrenceville Female Seminary, 1855

A young ladies’ finishing school known as the Lawrenceville Female Seminary was established here in 1838. One of the trustees, Daniel Killian, was responsible for its construction. That structure, apparently very similar to this one, was destroyed by fire and was replaced by the present structure in 1855. It served as a seminary until 1886. In its nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, it was described as simple, rather masculine, late-Federal early-Greek Revival. It is the most significant early public structure surviving in Lawrenceville.

The Lawrenceville Masonic Lodge No. 181 began using the second floor in 1860 and made it their home until the 1970s. Over the years the lower floor was occupied by various tenants and was also used as a public gathering place. It serves as the Gwinnett History Museum today.

National Register of Historic Places

Central of Georgia Railway Depot, 1880, Jonesboro

Most sources note that this depot was built in 1867, which it was, but it wasn’t built in Jonesboro. During the Battle of Jonesboro, on 31 August 1864, Union troops burned the original 1846 Macon and Western Railroad Depot and the rail bed turned into what came to be known as “Sherman’s neckties”.

As Todd DeFeo notes, It’s not enough to say Jonesboro’s depot was built in 1867. The structure seen here was built for the Macon and Western in Barnesville in 1867 and moved stone-by-stone and rebuilt at this location in 1880. By this time, it would have been a Central of Georgia-branded property.

It’s home to the Clayton County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Road to Tara Museum.

Jonesboro Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

T. A. Bryant, Sr., Homestead, 1917, Flat Rock

Bryant Farmhouse

A thriving community of African-Americans existed around Arabia Mountain in the years following the Civil War, but by the early 20th century, a mass exodus saw many families joining the Great Migration in search of better conditions in the North.

Mule & Storage Barn

There were a few communities, such as Flat Rock, that continued to thrive. T. A. Bryant, Sr., born in 1894, was a leader of this community, his church, and a Master Mason, and he worked hard to keep it intact.

T. A. Bryant, Sr. Photograph Courtesy Flat Rock Archives

He bought his first 43 acres from J. W. South, a descendant of slave owners, in 1925, and saved the Flat Rock community in the process. For over 60 years, Mr. Bryant bought and sold land to people in the community in an effort to keep it intact. Flat Rock actually grew during the Great Migrations, while many historic African-American communities completely vanished.

Smokehouse or Corn Crib

His small working homestead was self-sufficient and typical of similar farms in early 20th century Georgia.

Privy

The property is now home to the Flat Rock Archives, a museum of local African-American history, and open by appointment.

Watering Trough

Maps will locate this at Stonecrest, a recently incorporated city in DeKalb County, but as with other such locations in Vanishing Georgia, I prefer to help keep the historical name alive, hence my location of the Bryant property at Flat Rock.

Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area

Rockdale County Jail, 1897, Conyers

This jail was built in 1897 to replace the first jail in Rockdale County and served the county until 1968. It was designed by Georgia’s most prolific courthouse architect, J. W. Golucke, while he was in partnership with G. W. Stewart. The interior was outfitted by the Pauly Jail Building and Manufacturing Company of St. Louis. F. P. Heifner was the contractor.

The old jail was restored by the Rockdale County Historical Society in 1975 and serves as their headquarters and a museum today.

National Register of Historic Places