Tag Archives: Historic Georgia Farms

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

S. B. Vaughters Dairy Barn, 1947, DeKalb County

DeKalb County was still largely rural and one of the leading dairy counties in Georgia in 1947 when S. B. Vaughters built this barn to house Jersey cows at his farm, one of the most successful in the area. It later housed Angus cattle and horses, before being sold to the state for perpetual preservation in 2002. Restored in 2018, the barn is located on Panola Mountain State Park and is part of the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area.

Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area

Central Hallway Farmhouse, Smithboro

This farmhouse has an interesting layout and appears to have been a simple central hallway form that was later expanded.

Walter C. Johnston House, 1830s, Lamar County

This circa 1834 farmhouse likely originated as a Greek Revival cottage with the mansard roof and gables added later. Walter C. Johnston (1887-1959) was a descendant of the founding family of Johnstonville.

Johnstonville-Goggins Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Historic Farmstead, Dodge County

This historic farm in northern Dodge County is amazingly intact and a wonderful example of a self-sufficient agricultural enterprise. It likely dates to the late 19th century, with expansions made over the years.

The farm is anchored by this Folk Victorian house, an outstanding example of the form.

The defining features of the house are the cutout porch posts. Whereas most Folk Victorians use machine-turned posts to embellish an otherwise plain structure, these examples appear to have been personally designed by the home’s builder, who obviously had specialized carpentry skills.

In addition to the majestic cedar trees flanking the house, camellias planted long ago continue to thrive.

Several historic outbuildings survive, illustrating the progression of the property well into the 20th century.

Captain C. C. Grace House, Circa 1864, Screven

Nine years ago, Lindsay Thomas, Jr., whose family owns and maintains this wonderful Georgia Centennial Farm, reached out to me about photographing the old home place near Screven. Lindsay’s father served in the United States House of Representatives from 1983-1993. Lindsay was very interested in documenting the large number of catface pines and Herty cups on the property. I still haven’t gotten around to making those photographs, but hope to someday soon. [For those not in the know, catfaces are the scars left behind by the collection of pine sap for the manufacture of turpentine. The naval stores business was dominant in this region until at least the 1950s.]

The farm, known as Grace Acres today, was established by Captain C. C. Grace, circa 1864, and the house was likely built around that time. The family has maintained a presence in the area ever since and they’re not only good stewards of the land, but they do a fine job of maintaining this historic home.

Tenant Farmhouse, Jenkins County

This is a great example of this utilitarian form. It likely dates to the early 20th century.

Central Hallway Farmhouse, Emanuel County

This farmhouse is typical of the common central hallway form, with additions. It may have been part of what was once known as Gray Mule Farm, but I can’t confirm that at this time.

Kent-Brown Farm, Emanuel County

The structures of this historic farm have long been abandoned but indicate that it was once a very prosperous operation. The Victorian farmhouse (above) is nearly gone.

A garage and hay barn remain on the property.