Wednesday, September 10, 2014

House Tour - Sully Historic Site

I love it when my brother travels. He often gets to visit interesting places. This last trip, he visited the Sully Historical Site in Chantilly, VA. I thought I would share some of his pictures with you.

From the website:

An oasis of the past, Sully reflects the history of Fairfax County. Completed in 1799 by Richard Bland Lee, the main house at Sully combines aspects of Georgian and Federal architecture. Richard Bland Lee was Northern Virginia's first Representative to Congress, as well as General Robert E. Lee's uncle.
On the National Register for Historic Places, and accredited by the American Association of Museums, Sully also includes original outbuildings, representative slave quarter and gardens. Guided tours highlight the early 19th century life of the Richard Bland Lee family, tenant farmers and enslaved African Americans. Programs reflect the history of Fairfax County through the 20th century.

All pictures taken by my brother unless otherwise noted. Not a lot of comments by me; let the pictures speak.

The house illustrates real colonial/plantation style. Simple, functional, elegant.

I do love the desk below:

I just love Windsor chairs and clocks.

 Could you cook in here? Not sure I would even know where to start.

Gotta love the DAR.

Do you like historic houses and house museums? I do.


Friday, August 29, 2014

Faces of Ukraine

A couple of years ago in a previous job, I met several wonderful young people from Ukraine. They are smart, educated, young and hard working.

They have dreams and aspirations. They run, bike, enjoy music, fashion, computers and video games just like our kids. They barely remember when Ukraine was not a country; Ukraine becoming an independent state in 1991 after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Now their country is being torn apart and I do worry about these young adults. This is just a few of their faces.  I keep them all in my prayers.

No names for privacy.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Greek Time and Ghosts

It is that time of year, Greek time. Well, at most schools rush is over and the new recruits are settling in.

From the Red & Black

Don't the girls all look so cute in their sundresses? Oh yeah, and don't forget that tan they worked all summer on so those tanned legs are perfection.

From the Red & Black

Hundreds of girls go through the process. I think I read that over 1500 girls participated at UGA. 

From the Red & Black

Phi Mu Chapter Facebook

But even with all this fun filled activity, there is still a dark side: Ghosts. 


The Phi Mu house on at 250 S Milledge Avenue is said to be haunted.

One story: 
Anna Hamilton, who lived next door to the Phi Mu house, witnessed the murdering of her fiancé by a member of his own family. The murder was then covered up and her fiancé was buried under the front steps. Hamilton eventually went crazy and haunts the house, still lovesick over her dead fiancé. Sisters of the sorority have reported talking to Hamilton through a Ouija board and occasionally, Hamilton’s crying can be heard, as well.

Another story: 
The legend of the Phi Mu House, according to the sorority, concerns a young woman named Anna Powell. Her husband shot himself, either purposefully or accidentally at the bottom of the stairs. At times, it is said, a cross will appear on the floor where this horrific incident took place. Anna’s spirit has been encountered frequently by sisters in the house. Knocking and sobbing have been heard in the house and one young woman had the door unlocked for her late one night by unseen hands. The house was constructed by Colonel Thomas Hamilton, reportedly Georgia’s first millionaire, and finished in 1858 by his widow, Sarah. It has served as a sorority house since 1964.

And yet another story:
This house once belonged to Charles Phinizy, who was having an affair with Anna Hamilton.  Anna feared that Phinizy was about to tell her husband about the affair and attempted to shoot him, fainting after the shot.  After recovering, she discovered that she had hit her husband, James Watkins Harris, rather than Phinizy.  Legend has it that her husband is buried under the stairs of the house.  There is no record of his death and no tombstone has been found.  Often a cross of light is seen on the spot where Harris was shot, and some sorority members have heard the sounds of a woman crying on the first floor, only to find no one around.

Well, regardless of which story is correct, you have to admit the Phi Mu house in Athens is a pretty thing.


Friday, August 15, 2014

How to have Vertigo

In this Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram world, more and more people are using what they see on these vehicles to mold and shape not only their opinions about decorating but about lifestyle. However, this post is about decorating. A trend in today’s decorating that I have grown to dislike. A lot.

 (all pics from Pinterest)

Chevron has found its way into everything.

A little chevron goes a long way. This is a tasteful and appropriate use of chevron.

And then there is this....really? I haven’t seen one in person but someone told me about it. You can find it at Target. Hum....

Seeing it commercialized on something like a bathroom product means that the trend is popular enough and has been around long enough to declare it dead.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Court House Burns - Genealogist Nightmare

Sad, sad, news today. The Hancock County, GA Courthouse burned. The Second Empire style building red brick exterior walls were still standing hours later, but the interior is burned out and the courthouse's majestic clock tower is gone.

From today's news:

What is looked like before:

Why is this sad?

  • One of the oldest standing Courthouses in GA. Built in 1883. 
  • Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Also, listed on the The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation's list of "Places in Peril"in 2013.

Courthouses in more rural areas still signify much more than a place where legal proceedings are held.  It is the anchor of the town, and in many ways it represents “where we are from”.

Sparta was once plantation country, a very wealthy area. Now it is all but abandoned; however, recent years have seen an exciting regeneration of Sparta. The courthouse is a testimony to the wealth that once existed.

I always loved this view when approaching Sparta to do some hunting for dead relatives. I really, really, really regret that we did not take the courthouse tour while we were there in May visiting the
You can read that post here.

But more than anything else, the courthouse held records, tons of them. Some dating back to the original Land Lotteries that began in 1805. While the births, marriages and deaths have all gone to the state, for a genealogist, wills, land purchases, court records are just as important. Those precious records, I am afraid, are now gone. I may never read Stephen Pearson's will (1774-1854 - 3rd great grandfather) and understand how his land was broken up and given to his children.

The courthouse burned -- the nightmare of any genealogist. I know it is now mine.


Friday, August 1, 2014

Gorgeous or Gaudy?

Ah, the Victorians. I have often said, "No one did it like the Victorians did it." And in most cases that is true.

But.... sometimes I think they did go the teeniest bit over board and gaudy is the only descriptive word that comes to mind. The Brennan House in Louisville, Ky has some incredible examples. Not so much the house, which is a basic Italianate, but the furnishings.

Check out this hall tree:
 I can't believe all those little sticks and posts have survived all these years without being broken off.

I have never seen anything like it.

And then this bedroom set......manufactured in Louisville by the J.W. Davis Co. and exhibited at the Philadelphia Centennial of 1876.
 Massive headboard...massive.
Look at the size of that dresser.

A bit of information from the website:

The Brennan House is the last remaining Victorian mansion along what was once a residential street in downtown Louisville. Located at 631 S. 5th, the house dates to 1868 and features original interior finishes, lighting and furnishings from the Brennan family's extensive personal collection. This authentic historic home harkens to a time when horse-drawn carriages clip-clopped through downtown and 5th Street was lined with similarly appointed residences that reflected the grace and style of wealthy urban families in the late 19th century.
The Brennan House was built by tobacco wholesaler Francis Slaughter Jones Ronald and purchased in 1884 by Thomas Brennan, a native of Ireland and prominent inventor. He and his wife, Anna, had eight children who occupied the home through 1969. Today it houses the nonprofit advocacy organization Preservation Louisville Inc., whose mission is to protect and promote the cultural, architectural and environmental heritage of our community. Its stewardship of the Brennan House exemplifies this mission.
The three-story townhouse is constructed in the Italianate style with six bedrooms, 16-foot ceilings, stained-glass windows, expansive veranda, hand-carved marble and slate mantels, crystal chandeliers and walls lined family portraits. Rooms are filled with an entirely original family collection including massive, hand-carved dining room and bedroom furniture, an ornate silver service, steamer trunks with memorabilia from world travels, and a library lined with richly-bound volumes. One son - Dr. J.A.O. Brennan - added an office, waiting room and exam room to the north wing of the house in 1912 which remains intact, including exam table, equipment and medical volumes dating to the early 20th century.
Today the Brennan House Historic Home and Gardens remains virtually untouched since Victorian times, an oasis amid a bustling 21st century backdrop. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Brennan House and Gardens is available to rent for weddings, parties, corporate events or meetings.

What so you think? Gorgeous or gaudy?