The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation's Washington Ramble

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Name: The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation's Washington Ramble
Date: July 21, 2018 - July 22, 2018
Event Description:

The Georgia Trust invites you to discover the historic homes and sites of Washington, Georgia.

The epitome of small town charm, Washington is said to have more historic homes per capita than any other town in the state. Attendees will explore grand white-columned mansions, restoration projects in-progress and other fascinating sites significant to the history of Wilkes County.

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Date/Time Information:
Expedition Itinerary at a Glance
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. 
Registration and Packet Pick-up
First Baptist Church
105 W Robert Toombs Avenue
Start the day by picking up your registration packet at Washington’s First Baptist Church. Founded in 1827, Reverend Jesse Mercer served as the church’s first pastor. Reverend Mercer founded Mercer Institute which is now Mercer University.
PARK AND RIDE ...COURTESY CARS PROVIDED.  Be sure to park your car at the Baptist Church and take one of the courtesy cars to the in-town destinations.
9:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. 
Welcome and Orientation
After picking up your packet at First Baptist Church, stick around for a brief presentation of the history of Washington and Wilkes County.
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Washington Expedition
Explore Washington’s finest and most historic homes. Historic and hospitable, Washington boasts a picturesque town square and an abundance of beautifully restored antebellum homes. Guests will also enjoy touring the Mary Willis Library, the first public library in the state of Georgia, and Cherry Cottage, one of the oldest existing buildings in Wilkes County, which is available for sale through The Georgia Trust’s Revolving Fund.
 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 
Downtown Washington
Enjoy lunch from your choice of charming downtown restaurants. Downtown Washington is a wonderful example of the growing Main Street movement and features dozens of unique shops, boutiques, cafes and restaurants. A $10 Downtown Dollar certificate will be included in your packet and will be valid at a variety of restaurants and shops located downtown.
5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 
Closing Reception
Peacewood Farm
End the day with a mint julep in hand at the fully restored 1790 Peacewood Farm, a stunning country estate that features an impressive Plantation Plain turned Greek Revival style house and several original outbuildings.
Bonus Sunday Tour  10am to 2pm
The Georgia Trust staff has to leave Saturday night, but that doesn’t mean you have to! Stick around on Sunday and learn more about the area’s rich history at three historical museums and Kettle Creek Battlefield. Not normally open on Sundays, these sites will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Add on Sunday’s bonus tour for an additional $20. All proceeds from this Sunday tour will be donated back to the museums.
The Washington Historical Museum is located in a restored and furnished antebellum house containing a fine collection of many exhibits that tell the story of Wilkes County through the stories of the people that lived and worked in the community.
Callaway Plantation is a historic restoration project telling the story of one family’s legacy. Beginning with a log cabin in 1785 that grew to a 3,000-acre working plantation complete with a brick mansion by the 1860s, the property is now home to six unique historic structures open for public tour: the Log Cabin (1785), the Grey House (1790), the Gilmer House (1800), the Dally Slave Cabin (1840), a one-room School House (1891) and the General Store (1930).
The Robert Toombs House is the former home of Robert Toombs, a U.S. senator and representative. He was also a Confederate general and secretary of state during the Civil War. Operated as a state historic site, the 19th century period historic house museum features exhibits about the life of Toombs.
Kettle Creek Battlefield is where Patriots defeated Loyalists to forever break the stranglehold the British had on Georgia during the American Revolution in 1779. An expert will be on site to answer any questions.

1. First Baptist Church, 1827
105 W Robert Toombs Avenue
Restrooms Available
On site parking available
In 1826 a lot was purchased for the First Baptist Church and the first record of a building was found in a report from 1827. Jesse Mercer was called as the first pastor. Mercer was founder of Mercer Institute in nearby Penfield, which was later to become Mercer University in Macon. The large south window in the church is a memorial to Jesse Mercer. In 1853, the church was completely renovated which included alterations to the cupola, as well as an addition of a baptismal pool. The current sanctuary was built in 1884 and features an impressive pipe organ that has been completely restored and updated. 
Sites 2 and 3 open from 9 am – 2 pm
2. Locust Grove Cemetery, 1794
Approximately 15 miles from First Baptist Church (Site #1)
Locust Grove Cemetery is the oldest Catholic burial ground in the state of Georgia. The first burial was recorded in 1794 and the headstones are similar to the style of headstones found in Savannah and Charleston. One of the first Catholic settlers to Georgia, Lieutenant John Cratin, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, was buried at Locust Grove Cemetery in 1826.
3. The Church of the Purification, 1883
Approximately 2 miles from Locust Grove Cemetery (Site #2)
The first Catholic congregation in Georgia dates to 1790, when several families established a church at Locust Grove. A log church built there in 1792 was the first Catholic church built in Georgia. It was christened the Church of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. By the time of the Civil War, most of the Catholic community in Locust Grove had moved to the nearby town of Sharon. In 1877, the Church of the Purification moved to Sharon and in 1883 the present church was built. Over the course of the 20th century, the population of Sharon slowly dwindled, as did the number of Catholics there. In 2001, the Archdiocese of Atlanta downgraded Purification Church to station status and was essentially abandoned. In 2014, the Georgia Trust listed the church as a Place in Peril and with the help of the Friends of Purification Church, there has been significant progress in saving it. 
Sites open 10:00 am – 5 pm
4. Tupper-Barnett House, 1835
Built by William H. Pope in 1832 in the Federal style, one of Washington’s grandest home was given to Henry Allen Tupper in 1853 by his wife’s father. Tupper, a well-loved Baptist minister, remodeled the house in 1860 in the Greek Revival style by adding the 18 fluted Doric columns which surround it. Edward Augustus Barnett purchased the house in 1908 and it remained in the Barnett family for nearly a century. The home now belongs to Tim Thibodeaux who began an extensive restoration project in 2017. Each of the 18 hand-built columns are being restored and the 2,000 square foot porches are being rebuilt, amongst many other projects.
5. Rosewood, 1874
This Victorian style home was constructed in 1874 by A.W. Hill and features a great hallway with impressive 14-ft. high ceilings. The home features an unusual square bay window, which is said to be one of only three of its kind in Washington-Wilkes. The front parlor proudly displays a beautifully carved birds eye maple mantel that is original to the home and has been restored by the current owners, Mercer and India Harris. What is now used as a bedroom on the east side of the home was once used as a billiard room that features Jefferson windows that lead onto a smoking porch. In this room is a hidden circular staircase leading to the upstairs from the closet.  In 2007 the Harris family engaged a Preservation Architect to guide them in the restoration of Rosewood.
6. Saragreen, 1828
Saragreen, constructed in 1828, is believed to be made up of two Federal-style houses, which were moved from unknown locations and connected in the middle. These two structures were most likely built before 1829. In its early days, the home was a simple farmhouse, with a one-story porch across the front. In the 1880s, the exterior of the home was changed from a farmhouse to a Greek Revival mansion. The front porch was moved to the west side of the house and a balustrated Corinthian portico was added to the front with rarely seen Temple-of-the-Winds columns. In the early 2000s, the house became a bed and breakfast. Today, Saragreen is now a single-family residence owned by Sharon and Craig Jones.
7. Jackson Chapel AME, 1867
The first church erected in Wilkes County by newly feed men was the Jackson Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1867. It was built on land donated by Jackson Grant, a descendant of African Americans freed in 1793 by local Methodist antislavery advocate Daniel Grant. The simple framed building was a source of community pride serving both as a place of worship and as a meeting hall in its earlier days. Jackson Chapel hosted major political meetings such as some of the first local Republican political convocations during the Reconstruction period. The history of Jackson Chapel AME Church is uniquely tied to the Gaines family. Following the Civil War, Rev. William Gaines and Rev. Wesley John Gaines established AME churches across the state of Georgia. Bishop Wesley John Gaines also co-founded Morris Brown College in Atlanta. Bishop Gaines’ great niece, Rev. Patricia Downs Wilder, now serves as the pastor of Jackson Chapel. 
8. Chantilly at Brookhill, c. 1820s
Chantilly named for the famous mineral springs that once were nearby down Spring Street was constructed in the 1820’s, although an exact date is unknown. The house was originally a two-over-two plantation plain style house with end chimneys and a gable roof. 
A two-story addition was constructed perpendicular to the original house at the center of the rear, giving the house a “T” shape. A third major addition was made in the 1850s, when the original structure was enlarged, and a monumental Doric portico was added as well as two two-story additions. Beginning in the 1890's, in addition to cotton production, the farm concentrated on dairy and butter production and it came to be known as "Brook Hill". Brook Hill butter was sold throughout Georgia. In 2016, Anita and Jeff Bagley purchased the home along with the surrounding 100 acres, putting the house and farm back together. 
9. Parker House, 1921
Wilkes Mill and Feed Company, Inc. 
Founded by a group of Washington and Wilkes businessmen in 1921, the Wilkes Milling Company began in 1921, as a place for farmers to bring their raw wheat to be ground into flour. In 1940, the company was renamed Wilkes Mill and Feed Company and the production was increased by adding a mill to grind corn meal and equipment to manufacture feed. It was the first company in the region to deliver bulk feed to dairy farmers, and the first to mix molasses with their dairy feed. In 2002, the property was purchased and transitioned from strictly commercial to residential and commercial. The old grain and storage build was converted into a home and photography work space. The mill was converted into a workshop and current owners, Olessia and Rob Parker have continued living and working at the mill. The mill barn is home to Parker Studio, a studio, gallery and work space. 
10. Poplar Corner, 1810
Built by Oliver Hillhouse Prince in 1810, Prince is credited with laying out the streets of Macon and bringing railroads to Georgia. His home was built in the two-story Federal style with a back addition constructed in the 1820s from lumber of the old Wilkes County Courthouse. From this, a two-story, four room addition was completed, and a new hip roof was constructed to cover the entire house. The home is named Poplar Corner because of the large poplar tree which stood in the northwest corner of the lot. The home is the only fully developed Beaux Arts, classical revival structure in Washington. 
11. The Fitzpatrick Hotel, 1898 
16 West Square 
The Fitzpatrick Hotel is a fully restored, historic hotel located on the square in downtown Washington. The Fitzpatrick was originally constructed in 1898 and served the thriving county seat of Wilkes County until 1952, at which time the hotel and dining room were closed. After 50 years of neglect, the hotel was purchased in 2002 and an intensive restoration plan culminated with the re-opening of the grand hotel in 2004. 
12. Roy Smith Home, c. 1790s
 Built in the 1790s, the Roy Smith Home has only had three families as owners. This green-shuttered white clapboard house was originally built on the corner of Jefferson Street and Robert Toombs Avenue. In 1851, the home as moved to its current location. The house presents an unusual appearance become of a front ell, added to the original structure, that rises above the main body of the house and only has one upstairs room. The front door is not visible from the street since it is placed at the intersection of two wings. The interior features floors and ceilings of broad planks, high mantels, and paneled doors as well as an eclectic antique collection.  
13. Cherry Cottage, 1819
Cherry Cottage is one of the oldest existing buildings in Wilkes County. Its lot was bought by Constantine Church from the town commissioners in 1784. Though its exact date of construction is unknown, several different sources list the house’s construction as no later than 1819. The building was later named Cherry Cottage in the mid-19th century by Miss E. M. and Miss M. L. Barnett in reference to the cherry trees planted in its yard. Later, the home was donated for use as the headquarters of the Washington-Wilkes Garden Clubs. Cherry Cottage is currently available for sale through The Georgia Trust’s Revolving Fund.
14. Mary Willis Library, 1888
Founded in 1888 by Dr. Francis T. Willis in memory of his daughter and as a gift to the people of his hometown and county. Noted Atlanta architect Edmund Lind designed the sophisticated building in warm brick tones and picturesque profile of the fashionable high Victorian style. Tall stained-glass windows light the high beamed interior where original furnishings are still in use. The central window, commemorating Mary Willis, was made by Tiffany Studios. 
15. LaFayette Masonic Lodge, 1881
In 1787, the first Masonic Lodge in Washington-Wilkes was chartered. It was known as the Washington Lodge No. 5. The first lodge lost its charter, but in 1842, the State Lodge granted a second charter naming the chapter LaFayette Lodge No. 23. The current Masonic building did not begin as a fraternal hall. Originally, it was built for the Methodist church in 1881. When the Methodists moved to a new building, they sold their building to the Masons. As the building had no second story, the local chapter was given special dispensation to hold meetings on the ground floor – the first time this permission has ever been granted. 
16. Washington Presbyterian Church, 1825
206 East Robert Toombs Avenue
The Washington Presbyterian Church has served the town of Washington for over 190 years, having been erected in 1825. Organized in 1790 by Reverend John Springer, the first Presbyterian minister to be ordained in the state of Georgia. The building has been changed only to add a vestibule and Sunday School annex. The sanctuary remains virtually untouched and features a balustrated choir loft, original oil lamps, hand blown window panes and a large empire sofa. The Hook and Hastings organ was installed in 1888. 
17. Hillhouse-Slaton House, 1814
Built in 1814 for Sarah Porter Hillhouse, the first woman editor of a newspaper in the South and is credited with printing the reports of the state legislature when the capitol of Georgia was located at Louisville. The house began as a one-room basement, first floor and second floor house. In 1869, Gabriel Toombs purchased the home and added two symmetrically flanked wings brought from the old Toombs Plantation once located nearby. Each wing features a large end chimney. The porch, columns and balcony balustrade were also added by Toombs. The home is now owned by Marion Slaton, and the home has been restored to its early Federal appearance, while introducing modern comforts for everyday life. 
18. North Alexander School, 1897 – IN PROGRESS
The North Alexander School was designed by noted architect R.H. Hunt., Hunt also designed the Tabernacle, located in Atlanta, he also designed many of the major buildings in downtown Chattanooga. The North Alexander School is one of the rare remaining examples of Hunt’s early Romanesque-influenced designs.  In the late 1800s, Georgia began emphasizing wide spread public education and the state of the art North Alexander School was completed in 1897. In 1972, the school permanently closed, and the building began to deteriorate. In the 1990s, concerned citizens banded together to save the structure and several grants have been awarded to aid in the restoration. The North Alexander School Association is restoring the historic school as a regional education and cultural center. 
19. Mills-Bryson Cabin, 1778
One of the oldest surviving structures in Wilkes County. This cabin features hand made lumber and framing materials, the decking flooring, weather board and interior paneling are all hand sawed or hewed and hand dressed. The cabin was the site of many secret meetings of Revolutionary heroes, Elijah Clarke and John Dooley against the invasion of British during at nearby Kettle Creek.  The home was alter moved and set on the original stone foundation which includes field stone bases under the massive chimney. 
20. Washington Little Theater Company
313 North Alexander Avenue
The Washington Little Theater Company was established in 1971 by a group of creative individuals who wished to foster, encourage and promote the development of regional talent in the dramatic arts.  By 1974, an agreement was made with the Wilkes County Board of Education to lease the North Alexander School Gym.  With help from the University of Georgia, a Macon movie house and Six Flags Amusement Park, construction materials, theater seats and curtains were brought in to modify the space from basketball courts to a professional functioning theater venue complete with staging, costume storage, dressing rooms, ticket booth, reception lobby and light and sound booths.  In 2008, the theater building was dedicated as the Bolton Lunceford Playhouse after the late Bolton Lunceford, a distinguished member who proved to be pivotal in sustaining the theater over the course of her lifetime.
Closing Reception – 5 pm – 6 pm
21. Peacewood, c. 1790s       
The land on which Peacewood sits was originally part of the land grand made in 1784 to George Walton, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. The home is a significant and interesting example of a house assembled from different periods.  The older portion, which dates from the 1790s was a typical plantation plain building. In 1833, the house was enlarged and rebuilt in the Greek revival style with a columned portico. In the 1890s, a kitchen was attached to the back. The house now faces south and is fronted by a Doric colonnade. Most of the original outbuildings of the plantation still stand. The property has undergone an extensive restoration when current owners, BJ and Bill deGolian purchased the home in 2000. 
Contact Information:
The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation 404-885-7812
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