This home was built by John S. Thomas.
Bainbridge Residential Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
Perhaps the finest Queen Anne house in Eastman, this beautifully restored landmark is now an event space and bed and breakfast known as Peacock Place. It has connections to Eastman’s founder, William Pitt Eastman, who sold lots from his “Eastman Home Field” property which became the most fashionable neighborhood in town in the 1880s. Eastman sold this particular lot to Edward Breitung of Negaunee, Michigan, on 3 August 1886. Breitung was a railroad millionaire who chose to build a winter retreat in Eastman after making an acquaintance with Judge James Bishop while a guest of the Millionaire’s Club on Jekyll Island. Sadly, Breitung never lived in the house, as he died the night before he had planned to move in. His widow and son returned to Michigan and never lived in the house.
The house sat empty until 1902, when it was purchased by Mrs. Estelle B. Bullock, who owned it for eight years. W. H. Coleman and Mrs. Carolyn B. Bush were short-term owners before it was purchased by the C. H. Peacock family in 1917. Julia Peacock Fitzgerald inherited the house in 1929 and owned it until her death in 1980. Her daughter, Idolene, was the next owner and it remained in the family until 1992.
Built by William Earl Dodge (1805-1883) for use by executives of the Georgia Land & Lumber Company circa 1870, this is the oldest known house in Dodge County*. One of the “Merchant Princes of Wall Street” and a former New York congressman, Dodge’s association with the area came at the invitation of William Pitt Eastman (1813-1888), a New Hampshire industrialist with large landholdings in Georgia and the namesake of the town of Eastman. Eastman brokered a deal with Dodge to have the county named for him in exchange for Dodge’s funding of a courthouse. The only time Dodge ever visited the area was when the courthouse was dedicated. His sons administered his timber interests in Georgia and this community (present-day Suomi) was named Normandale for Norman Dodge. It was the site of the company’s massive lumber mill and once boasted a population of nearly 600.
Throughout the 1870s Dodge’s Georgia Land & Lumber Company purchased, through questionable deeds, 300,000 acres of prime virgin timberland in the area. Hundreds of rightful owners were evicted from family lands and for 44 years a series of armed conflicts, assassinations, and protracted court battles embroiled the local folk in what came to be known as the Dodge Land Troubles. At least 50 people lost their lives during this turbulent period and by the time the debated deeds were finally settled in 1923, putting an end to the Dodge Land Troubles, the land was completely barren. Though owners slowly replanted or converted their lands to agricultural use, animosities remained.
*-A nearly identical house located next door (now demolished) was the home of company agent Captain John C. Forsyth, who was assassinated there at the height of the Dodge Land Troubles in 1890. A group of about eight local men hired a notorious North Carolina outlaw named Rich Lowery to carry out the deed. The conspirators were found guilty in a trial which garnered attention in all the national media, but Rich Lowery was never found, believed by some to have been murdered by some of his co-conspirators and disposed of in a cypress swamp.