Tag Archives: Georgia Vernacular Architecture

Clinton Bunkhouse, Winston

This central hallway house was used as a bunkhouse by the Clinton family. It is a nice example of this common vernacular form. The surrounding property is now a nature preserve, given to Douglas County by Annie Mae Clinton. There is a much older home on the property, but I was unable to photograph it when I was there.

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]

General Store, Chestatee

This was a crossroads store at one time, I believe. It’s one of just a few rural resources of this type remaining in Forsyth County, the fastest growing in Georgia over the past decade.

Candler United Methodist Church, Circa 1887, Hall County

Church history notes that all members of Candler Methodist transferred from other churches and the congregation was established on 17 July 1887. S. H. Braswell was the fist pastor. Charter members were the Bats, Cobb, Simmons, Heely, Little, and Coh families.

On a ridge behind the church is a small cemetery of reburials from the Dunacan Cemetery [not to be confused with the Dunagan Chapel Cemetery], which was to be submerged by the Buford Dam and Reservoir project on Lake Lanier in 1957.

The graves are marked by small stones with no identification. I hope someone has a list of names somewhere.

Globe Hotel, 1827 & 1882, McDonough

The Globe Hotel originally stood a half block away on the courthouse square and was moved in 1938 to its present location. It is the oldest commercial structure in McDonough. The original section [the right side in the photos] dates to 1827 and the gabled wing [left side] was added circa 1882.

National Register of Historic Places

Shotgun Office Building, Jonesboro

At the intersection of vernacular and commercial there is a once-common Georgia form known as the shotgun office or shotgun store. These structures were often used as lawyer’s offices in the 19th century and were clustered around town squares but they also served as stores in many towns. Some still survive in scattered locations. Though this appears to have a retail purpose today, it likely originated as an office. For all I know, it could have been moved here, but I’ll wait to hear from someone who knows; either way, it’s a good illustration of vernacular commercial usage

Jonesboro Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Granite Store, Circa 1900, Klondike

A post office was established at Klondike in 1898, and this structure, clad in local granite, is representative of this industry. This is the oldest of just a few surviving commercial structures related to the community. According to a Georgia State University resource survey completed in 2016, it once served as a granite store and was most recently used as the Oak Grove Junction Convenience Store. It is a critical resource for the community and should be preserved.

[This view was made from the rear of the building. The front is nearly identical.]

Klondike Historic District, National Register of Historic Places & Arabia Mountain National Heritage Preserve

Lyon Farm, 1820s, DeKalb County

Side view of Lyon House, showing attached kitchen and restored smokehouse

The house pictured above originated as a log cabin, built by Joseph Emmanuel Lyon in the 1820s. It was expanded in 1853 and again in 1893, when it took on its present appearance. It is one of the oldest houses in DeKalb County and Lyon family descendants remained on the property until 2007. Slaves from the early days of the farm remained in the area and later established the Flat Rock community nearby.

Front Elevation

The house is reminiscent of the Plantation Plain style, but with two bays on one side and one bay on the other, is a bit unusual in its layout.

Gate posts

The gateposts are local granite, as are the boundary stones and flower bed areas.

Raised flower bed

Grape arbors were common features of many farms; this one was likely added in the 20th century.

Grape arbor

The historic smokehouse, thought to be the oldest overall structure on the farm, was recently restored.

Lyon smokehouse

Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area

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

Dial Mill, Circa 1830, Rockdale County

Allen Summers built the three-story hand-hewn structure known today as Dial Mill after purchasing three fractional lots at a public auction in the 1820s. It was one of the first commercial mills to be built in this region. The property is bounded by the historic Hightower (Etowah) Trail to the north and Little Haynes Creek to the east. Though the traditional date of construction is believed to be circa 1830, Summers may have begun construction of the mill earlier. Oral tradition has suggested that the dam for the mill was complete before 1830. Summers died in 1845 and the property was deeded to his son, James M. Summers, by his wife. The younger Summers leased the property to John Wells and William Puckett, with later assistance in the operation of the mill being provided by William’s brother, Pleasant Puckett. Pleasant’s wife Winnie is said to have protected the mill from Union troops during the Civil War.

In 1875, James M. Summers sold the mill to E. B. Rosser, who made a great success of the operation. In 1898, metal rollers replaced the grinding stones and the mill became known as Princeton Roller Mills [Princeton was in reference to the community which grew up around the mill]. In 1909, the mill was sold to George Dial and Sons, and though they only owned it for nine years, the name Dial Mill remains in use to this day. The Fowler family owned it from 1918-1942, and it was sold to the Costley Brothers , who owned it until 1964.

The mill is presently in need of stabilization.

National Register of Historic Places