Tag Archives: Greek Revival Architecture in South Georgia

Killen-King House, 1852, Perry

Built for Judge Samuel D. Killen, this Greek Revival home was later owned by the Francis Marion King family and the Penn-Dixie Cement Company, who used it as a clubhouse. It was purchased by Gardner Watson in 1955 and has been used as a funeral home since then.

 

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Filed under --HOUSTON COUNTY GA--, Perry GA

George Singleton House, 1834, Perry

George Singleton received a land grant from the Creek people in 1832 and built this home on the property soon thereafter. It remained in the Singleton family until 1962. It was built in the style of the ‘Sand Hills Cottages’ then common in the Augusta area.

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Filed under --HOUSTON COUNTY GA--, Perry GA

William Tyre Swift House, 1857, Perry

Also known as the Swift-Tolleson House, this antebellum Greek Revival townhouse was built for Judge William Tyre Swift, most likely with the labor of enslaved men. The street on which it is located is named for Judge Swift. In 1879, legend relates that the world-famous SSS Tonic was invented in the backyard by Judge Swift’s descendant, Charles Thomas Swift. The tonic was one of the best-selling American patent medicines of its time and is still in production today, albeit a different formula. J. Meade Tolleson purchased the home in 1929 and it remained in the Tolleson family another forty years.

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Filed under --HOUSTON COUNTY GA--, Perry GA

Friendship Baptist Church, 1857, Sumter County

Friendship was founded by members of Liberty Baptist Church who split with that congregation over doctrine in 1839. The congregation expanded significantly throughout the 1840s and was the spiritual home of many prominent area farmers. It is the oldest surviving church building in Sumter County.

Wiley Carter, the great-great grandfather of President Jimmy Carter, joined with his wife and an enslaved female in 1852. He bought and presumably moved the original church upon the construction of the present structure in 1857. In the five years following the Civil War, many emancipated slaves joined the congregation, but by 1870 had formed their own church, New Bethel.

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Filed under --SUMTER COUNTY GA--

Shiloh-Marion Baptist Church, 1835, Marion County

The lost community that came to be known as Church Hill was opened to white settlers by the Land Lottery of 1827. To accommodate new arrivals, Native American trading routes were improved or superseded by the creation of new roads. In 1832, Timothy Barnard’s Path, which ran from Columbus to St. Marys, became known as the St. Marys Road or the Old Salt Trail. At a point between Kinchafoonee Creek and Lanahassee Creek, where three roads crossed St. Marys Road, five churches were built in a relatively short time, including: Mt. Pisgah (Kinchafoonee) Free Will Baptist (date unknown); Shiloh Baptist (1835); Christian Union (1840); Smyrna Associate Reformed Presbyterian (1838); and Evan Chapel Methodist (1838). Records indicate a school known as Centerville Academy was formed by the Smyrna trustees in 1838, suggesting the original name for the community was Centerville. It is unclear when the moniker of Church Hill came into use, but it first appeared on maps in 1870. The Church Hill post office was operational from 1893-1903, so it is likely that the area suffered a significant population decline at the beginning of the 20th century.

Shiloh-Marion is the last remaining church of the five that gave Church Hill its name and is a great example of vernacular Greek Revival architecture, common in antebellum churches in Georgia. A sign at the church notes the founding date as 1812, the year of the first mission; further documentation gives the founding date as 1835, when eleven members joined the Bethel Baptist Association. The church structure is believed to be contemporary to the latter date.

Shiloh-Marion Baptist Church  Cemetery, 1830s

The cemetery is a fascinating landmark in its own right, containing typical Victorian monuments and an unusual collection of stone markers. The stones are either stacked in elongated triangular forms or used as fencing. There has been some speculation that they are Native American in origin and to my knowledge there are no familial claims by church members. This still doesn’t get anywhere near evidence of Native American ties, but t’s worthy of investigation either way.

A sign and wooden cross mark the slave cemetery.

Unmarked concrete stones have been placed at approximate burial locations.

 

 

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Filed under --MARION COUNTY GA--, Church Hill GA

Shiloh Primitive Baptist Church, Circa 1872, Taylor County

The history of Shiloh, as well as that of its neighbor, Horeb Baptist, are a bit confusing as the congregations have variously been located in Talbot and Taylor Counties, with the county lines being redrawn at least once through the church yards and cemeteries. [I welcome any corrections of inconsistencies in my research and will update as needed].

Shiloh Primitive Baptist was first located near Dean’s Mill in Talbot County, circa 1840. It was then known as the Church of Christ Shiloh. In 1852, it was located in Talbot County, five miles north of Centerville; in 1872, it was located near Prattsburg. According to a sign at the church, this structure (the Prattsburg church) was moved to this location circa 1888. It is of the vernacular Greek Revival style common among Taylor and Talbot County churches.

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Filed under --TAYLOR COUNTY GA--

Unidentified Greek Revival Building, Twiggs County

This relatively well-preserved structure is a bit of a mystery. I first thought it to be a general store, but it is possible it was a church. Resource surveys date it to 1870 but I believe it could be antebellum.

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Filed under --TWIGGS COUNTY GA--

Unidentified Church, Lyons

This nicely proportioned structured appears to be a church, based on the floor plan, but I can’t find any history or information regarding it in any available sources. I will update when I learn more.

 

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Filed under --TOOMBS COUNTY GA--, Lyons GA

First State National Bank Building, 1885, Bainbridge

This has served as Bainbridge City Hall for many years, and was recently restored. It’s one of the most impressive marble structures in South Georgia.

Bainbridge Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --DECATUR COUNTY GA--, Bainbridge GA

William Hardwick Byrom House, 1859, Byromville

Byromville, originally known as Friendship, was a stagecoach stop operated by Thomas Swearington. In 1852, Swearington sold the surrounding land to William Hardwick Byrom. Byrom built a large general store, which included a post office, and the name of the community was changed to honor him, in 1853. It was incorporated in 1905. This landmark Greek Revival Georgian Cottage remained in the Byrom family until 1992 and underwent a certified rehabilitation by the new owners thereafter.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --DOOLY COUNTY GA--, Byromville GA