It has been a pleasure sharing these images from Anne Chamlee. They truly illustrate how important it is to document the built environment that we generally take for granted. This old tenant house was photographed in 1991 and is one of many places Anne felt were important reminders of our past, not just in architectural terms, but culturally, as well.
Tag Archives: South Georgia Farmhouses
I’m honored to be able to share this photograph by Anne Chamlee; it will be one of several I plan on publishing here and on Vanishing North Georgia. Earlier this year, Anne reached out to let me know that she appreciated the work I was doing documenting Georgia’s rural architecture and that she had some photographs of her own that I might enjoy seeing. After several back-and-forth emails and some phone conversations, I’m so glad we were able to make a connection. She’s just as intrigued by the architecture of rural Georgia as I am and by the late 1980s was wandering around the backroads of Middle Georgia, photographing the endangered examples that sparked her interest. She’s also a delightful conversationalist, which is a bit of vanishing thing itself these days.
A Sooner by birth, Anne came South with her family just as the Dust Bowl was coming to an end. They wound up in Florida and she eventually met and married a man with roots in Hancock County, Tilmon Chamlee. Tilmon was a rising architect who had a very successful career in the commercial sector. After many years in Florida and then Macon, Anne and Tilmon eventually settled at Lake Sinclair in Baldwin County, where he continued his practice and indulged in his love for flying. He was also a commercial and instrument-rated pilot. Tilmon passed away in 2015 but Anne remains active in the community. After talking with her on the phone a few times, I still cannot believe she’s 85.
Regarding the house: It was located near Warthen, and is believed to be no longer extant. The photo dates to January 1989. It is of particular interest, as there is a very similar example nearby. The ornamental middle “gable”, as best I can tell, is a localized vernacular interpretation of the Queen Anne style. It’s possible they were the work of the same builder.
This historic home (seen here in 2014), was owned by the late George Horton Williamson (1928-2019). It was recently torn down. According to his granddaughter, Wendy Young, Mr. Williamson was born and raised in the house. I believe it was among the oldest houses remaining in Ben Hill County, possibly built in the 1870s by Mr. Williamson’s grandfather, Charles M. Williamson (1845-1920). This section of the county has long been known as Williamson’s Mill, for the family who operated a shingle mill in the area and founded Salem Baptist Church. The house was certainly an important link to the early history of this community.