Category Archives: –HOUSTON COUNTY GA–

Mulberry Grove, Circa 1832, Houston County

James Averette Bryan (1801-1847) and his wife Catherine Holloway Rix Bryan (1803-1861) were pioneer settlers of the long forgotten Wilna community. James A. Bryan migrated to Georgia from North Carolina, settling first in Twiggs County, and later in Houston. He was instrumental in the establishment of Houston County and in the layout of Perry [originally Wattsville]. Bryan originally built a log dogtrot house [pictured above] from timbers cut and milled on a site a few miles from Mulberry Grove. The original homestead was later occupied by Bryan’s oldest son, Dr. Robert Campbell Bryan, and his wife Eliza. [It survives but is not accessible to the public]. As his fortunes improved, Bryan constructed a more formal dwelling, known as Mulberry Grove, circa 1832* [pictured below, and in all subsequent photographs]. *-Some sources date the house to 1850, but discussions with two architectural historians and preservationists support the earlier date.

Mulberry Grove later became the home of Bryan’s third son, Abner Council Bryan and his wife, Harriet Taylor Bryan. Their son, John Averette Bryan and his wife, Linda Lee Bryan, eventually inherited it. Many members of the Bryan family are buried in an adjacent private cemetery, alongside the slaves who built and worked the plantation.

The most notable feature of the house is the rain porch (also referred to as a Carolina rain porch). Originally, there were only four stucco-covered posts but at some point two more were added for stability.

Rain porches are a very rare architectural element in Georgia.

The original kitchen is attached to the house by an enclosed breezeway. The addition of modern steps are one of the few overall modifications visible at the rear of the house.

Rear elevation (southeastern perspective)

Southern elevation, with double chimneys

 

PLEASE NOTE: Mulberry Grove is private property and is monitored closely by physical and digital means. I am grateful to have been invited by the new owner to photograph the property. He is very interested in making accurate historical renovations to the house and I believe he will be a good steward.

 

 

 

 

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Plantation House, Circa 1850, Henderson

This transitional antebellum house is among the oldest standing in Houston County.

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Knight Vault & Monument Service, Henderson

 

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Grovania, Georgia

Besides Ellis Grocery, the old Georgia Southern & Florida Railroad freight depot is the last public landmark in Grovania. The graffiti on the passing train car seems to sum up how often you might encounter a scene like this today.

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Central Hallway House, Grovania

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New Perry Hotel, 1925, Perry

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The New Perry Hotel was established in 1894 as Cox’s Inn and underwent several renovations and changes of ownership in its history. A longtime icon with travelers and diners alike, it recently (as of 2016) ceased operation.

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Perry United Methodist Church, Circa 1861, Houston County

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Perhaps Perry’s most historic structure, this church was begun at the outset of the Civil War. The congregation dates to 1826 and at least two buildings served as home to the Methodist church prior to the construction of this one.  The architect of the present church, D. P. Flandreau, of Chester, New York, was so taken with the South that he left Perry to serve with the Confederacy as a member of the Southern Rights Guard. Legend suggests that a slave named Pete,  belonging to W. M. Davis, was sent by his master to learn architecture in the North, was granted his freedom after building such a fine home for Davis. It is suggested that with the help of other slaves they completed this church while their masters were away at war.

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Houston Lodge #35, F. & A. M., 1850, Perry

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Chartered in 1844, Houston Lodge met in various locations until moving into the present structure in downtown Perry in 1850.

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Georgia Southern & Florida Railroad Depot, Grovania

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It’s hard to believe that Grovania once serviced two railroads, but until about 1920, the Ocilla Southern also ran through the community. I’ve not been able to locate a date for this depot, but I believe it’s probably from the first two decades of the 20th century.

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Marshall House, Circa 1848, Houston County

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This fine Greek Revival plantation house has a double front door and double central hallway. It’s likely one of the oldest standing houses in Houston County. Thanks to James M. Marshall for the identification.

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