This six-gabled farmhouse (one is on the other side) was the home of Melvin and Martha Browning Purvis. It is an amazing example of Folk Victorian construction and is maintained as an art studio today. Thanks to Marsheila Bush Rhodes for the identification.
Tag Archives: –LAURENS COUNTY GA–
An original single-pen [one-room] log farmhouse is evident within the frame of what was apparently a slightly larger structure.
Elaine Huff Knowlton writes: If the log cabin was across the street from Browning Methodist Church (you also shared a photo of the church), then the cabin you’ve shown is one where my mother lived when she was a baby. She and her parents moved into her father’s family home just up the hill to the right of the cabin a few years later…I could tell you more about those houses along those dirt roads. Many Brownings lived there. The piece of land that the cabin and larger house stand on just left the family (sold) within the last five years. The larger house was where my grandfather Herman Browning’s family lived. After my grandfather married my grandmother Mabel Tomlinson, they lived in that cabin you photographed. My mother Irene, who is now in her 93rd year, was born in a house that still exists just back in the woods from the curve of Buie Road, just off Hwy 441. Her maternal grandmother Zenobia Fountain lived in that house at the time (it belonged to the Buies), and Mabel went there because she had trouble with childbirth and the doctor couldn’t get there. Anyway, my mom Irene has great memories of sweeping the floors in that cabin, and running up the hill to her grandmother’s host and hiding under her long skirts so that her mom Mabel “couldn’t find her.”. Herman, Mabel, and Irene eventually moved into the bigger house when her grandmother died, and then to another big house on a nearby dirt road (that one had been burned by arsonists), and then to another very nearby to that one. It still stands today with two wonderful barns and terraced fields remaining out back. We still own it. At the end of the dirt road where this house sits (as you drive away from 441), other Brownings lived. None of the thriving Browning community still remain in the area now.
I have documented several other similar expanded houses, but this one offers a nice glimpse of the original, as the siding of the addition has been removed.
It’s truly an amazing survivor, likely dating to the late 19th century.
As the roofline and fireplace/chimney indicate, the expansion of the house was done relatively early in its history.
This view from the rear gives a better idea of the footprint of the original structure.
I’m very interested in learning more about this church, near Rentz, as I have Browning relatives from this area.
As was common tradition at one time, the church is named for a Browning family who gave the land, but that is about all I know.
The Wesleyan Methodists were a splinter from the Methodist Episcopal Church of the era.
I believe the church was built between 1910-1930.
The building has been compromised by termites and weather and is therefore very endangered.
Thanks to Stephanie Miller for making me aware of this beautiful old church.
This is an iconic house type in rural Georgia, sometimes referred to as Cracker Style.
It has that association as it was often the typical housing of white sharecroppers and small farmers, but it’s actually just a single-pen (one-room) house.
This example, like many I’ve encountered, has a preacher’s room on the front, which in the case of most of these utilitarian structures didn’t house a preacher but rather accommodated the needs of a growing family. It also has a shed room at the back. So, the traditional single-pen often grew as the family grew…from one room to three, in this case.
The term American Small House has been assigned in recent years to a type of structure that proliferated from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s. A movement began during the Depression, dictated by changing economic realities, to promote the construction of small homes, often prefabricated, to make home ownership more broadly available to the masses. Previous terms for this type included Depression Cottage, Victory Cottage, and FHA House. This abandoned example well illustrates the general layout of the American Small House.