Cuthbert might be the last place one would expect to find an exquisite copy of Michelangelo’s Night, but it’s an unmistakable presence just inside the entrance to historic Rosedale Cemetery. It’s one of the finest examples of anonymous public art to be found in Georgia.
It marks the graves of Aaron Lane Ford (1903-1983) and his wife Gertrude Castellow Ford (1913-1996). Ford was a lifelong Mississippian and represented that state in Congress from 1935-1943. Mrs. Ford was the daughter of Congressman Bryant Thomas Castellow, who represented Georgia in Washington from 1932-1937. Though they spent their married life in Mississippi, I presume Mrs. Ford’s local connections are the reason they were interred here.
The allegorical sculpture was originally created for the tomb of Giuliano de’Medici in Florence and is considered one of Michelangelo’s most important commissions.
Cuthbert Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
I’ve had a number of potential identifications for this house and restaurant but there is no consensus yet. I think it deserves documentation as an art environment, whatever it was. [NOTE: I’m still trying to confirm all of this information, so it may change at any time.]
The complex consists of two structures. The primary structure appears to be a house, which looks relatively simple from the front.
Its layout is quite whimsical, though. There are numerous rock houses and structures created by visionary and self-taught artist architects throughout the United States, most focused on religious or spiritual themes. This one appears to simply be one man’s personal vision. I’m not sure if the house and restaurant were built at the same time.
The second structure is sided with a mixture of limestone and cinderblock. Mac Moye notes that it was a restaurant for decades and that there are/were several similar limestone structures scattered around Randolph County.
It’s connected to the house by a series of arches, constructed of brick and limestone.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of the restaurant structure are the two willow trees/trees of life surrounding the windows.
The property appears to be in relatively good condition but should be recognized in order to preserve it as an art environment and community landmark.
This house may be among the oldest in the neighborhood. I hope to learn more about its history.
The porch extension and rear section are likely later additions.
This may have also served as a neighborhood store. I’ll update when/if I learn more.
This fascinating small house is one of the highlights of Cuthbert’s earliest middle-class African-American neighborhood.