Sunday, December 27, 2015

1856 Beauty in Acworth - The Lemon House

As we often do on Sunday afternoons, we went for a drive today and visited Acworth, GA. Driving around the various roads in the historical area, we stumbled on this beauty.

The sign out front reads "James Lemon Antebellum Home ca. 1856."

Immediately I was taken by it. I had to find out more.

A few things I learned:

James and Mary Davenport Lemon purchased 800 acres of land and built a small frame house.  Just before his marriage, their son, James Lile Lemon, expanded the house to a Carolina style, modified Plantation Plain house.

After the Civil War in 1890 the two story porch was replaced with with neoclassical Doric Columns we see today.

Why didn't this house get burned when Acworth was burned? Well, for 5 days in June 1864,  Maj Gen William T Sherman took over the homestead and stayed during the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain in June of 1864. Some sources say that after he left, it was used as a hospital.

Capt.,Co.A,18th Ga.Inf.Regt.-CSA. One of the "Immortal 600". 

Captain James Lile Lemon has a fascinating story of his time in the Civil War. You can read about him here and here.  His war letters have been published in a book, Feed them the steel! Being the Wartime Recollections of Capt James Lile Lemon, Co A, 18th Georgia Infantry CSA
by Mark Lemon.

Mark is a descendant and his parents are the current owners of the Lemon house. He is also a renowned artist and historian. I did read that the family has opened the house to tours in the past to help with restorations. Believe me, if they do it again, I will be first in line.

I could only find one picture of the inside of the house. From my Cobb County Images of America book by Rebecca Nash Paden and Joe McTyre.

The outside has some interesting outbuildings, beautiful but a bit overgrown gardens, and of all things, a small cemetery. Actually my husband spotted it first and he drove up to where it is located. I could hear him laugh as I was jumping out of the care before he came to a full stop -- iPhone in hand to snap pictures.

This thrilled me no end. 
An old cemetery on the grounds of an 1856 house!!!

I have no idea who is buried here since there are no names but there is one grave inside a rusty wrought iron fence with an old CSA marker.

My heart was racing -- this could be the family graveyard. But no, James Lile Lemon and his parents are buried in Mars Hill Cemetery.

A little closer to the street in the bushes is a definite headstone. I thought I could feel a date of 1909 but can't say that for sure. This one is so worn it needs the foil treatment to try to read the letters.

It is old because it is just a simple flat stone stuck directly in the ground. (Somehow these old stones seems to withstand time better than the fancier stones.)

Who is the person? My imagination has run wild and decided that this is James Lile Lemon and the fancy headstone in Mars Hill is just a cenotaph.

Anyway, a mystery for me to solve.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Pink Pig, Rich's and the Great Tree

Last Sunday night, even amid all sorts of horrible terrorist threats, Macy's had the lighting of the Great Tree. Now it is just called the Great Tree, but is used to be Rich's Great Tree.


This announcement made me reminisce about Rich's and about the Pink Pig.

The bright Pink Pig  - complete with a pig tail on the end car - took you on a small rail trip up and over the toy department where you could gaze down at all the toys. and boy, were there toys! Sparkling lights, and decorations made the whole experience very exciting.

Then you could visit Santa and tell him what you wanted for Christmas.

After that, you could go to the Secret Santa room where you picked out presents for your parents and they were wrapped (in secret, of course) and you parents paid for them, using what was called then, the charge plate.

The Great Tree was on the crystal bridge that joined the two Rich's buildings. And since it spanded Forsyth Street you could drive down the street and view the tree.

The lighting of the Great Tree was featured on the cover of the Dec 15, 1961 Time magazine.

No one tells the story of the lighting of the Rich's Great Tree better than Celestine Sibley in her book, Dear Store, An affectionate Portrait of Rich's.

But Patricia Walston wrote this beautiful account. And yes, they read the Bible.

The crowds would begin gathering long before the performance time. You would see people from all walks of life – the young, the old, the babies in carriages, toddlers sitting atop their father’s shoulders, the crippled in their wheelchairs; and even the blind being led around by family. They would all be waiting with great expectations, faces lifted upward, for the first words to be spoken.
There would be a hush beginning across the crowd at the voice of Bob Van Camp – a longtime organist for WSB who was also a radio announcer.
And he would begin…..
“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus….
Then as he read the Christmas Story from the Bible, the first voices heard in response would be the voices of the children from the lowest bridge. And then he would read more Scripture and the next choir would sing on the second level. It would continue until the end of the Christmas Story; and by then the music would have traveled from the lowest to the topmost choir on the 5th floor.
And then the moment that everyone waited for – when the last words of the Scripture was read, a switch was thrown to the glory of the night sky and God, and the choirs would begin singing, “Silent Night, Holy Night – all is calm – all is bright – and the crowd below would chime in with their voices – 150,000 voices singing of that first Christmas night.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Book Signing in Waverly, Alabama

Last weekend I attended a book signing/reception for a new book by Marian Carcache held in a beautiful home in Waverly, Alabama, owned by my friend Nadya.

Southern homes are unique entities in the old house world. Each one has a history and distinctive style that is just not found anywhere else.

I wanted to share some pictures of this lovely house with you I snagged during just before the reception.

The porch is a perfect place to sit and just relax.

Living Room

Dining Room

Antique Needlepoint Fireplace Screen

A Bed Room

One of the Bath Rooms

Back Bed Room


A gorgeous old re-purposed hutch.

Local flowers to be used for table decorations.

See how perfect they are?

Beautiful chandy in what I call the Little Back Room

And I can't leave out the star of the show, Marian signing books on the porch.


Friday, September 18, 2015

African American Masonic Hall

African Americans were Masons? 
Did you know that? 
I didn't.

In doing a little local history searching, I ran across this tidbit, 
The Beulah Grove Lodge, No. 371, Free and Accepted York Masons.  

Here is the article written by Lynn Speno, Survey and Register Specialist. 
She explains it so much better than I could.

"What do a church, a cemetery, a lodge meeting hall, and a school have in common?   They are all part of a small, rural, historic African American community in Douglas County.  In this community of Pleasant Grove, a church and Masonic lodge were founded around 1881 and a church building was constructed.  About 20 years later, around 1910, a dual-purpose lodge/school building was constructed, at which time classes for children began. This lodge/school building, the Beulah Grove Lodge No.372, Free and Accepted York Masons/Pleasant Grove School, was recently listed in the National Register of Historic Places for the role it played in the education and social history of the community. 

Masonic lodges played an important role in African American communities. They provided venues for social gatherings.  Masons were commonly the community leaders, such as preachers, teachers, and businessmen. Many of the lodges were small independent organizations that functioned largely as mutual aid societies and originated in churches.  Their headquarters were generally two-story frame structures, unpainted, without a ceiling, and with unfinished interior walls.  If the Masons had no building, they met in churches, other lodges, or abandoned buildings. Women’s groups such as the Order of the Eastern Star often used the lodge building for their meetings.

Many African American Masonic lodges also used their buildings for classroom space on the first floor, while they met on the second floor.  From the end of the Civil War until the 1930s, most of the African-American children in the South attended a church or lodge-affiliated school constructed by volunteer labor and maintained by the local African American community.  By 1915, less than 40 percent of buildings used for the education of African American children were publicly owned in Georgia. 

These historic lodge buildings can be found throughout the state and are important for the role they played in African American life.  The Historic Preservation Division has identified some of these resources in surveys or in National Register-listed historic districts including those in Claxton, Vidalia, Waynesboro, Chickamauga, Eulonia, Rochelle, Lincolnton, Dalton, Jeffersonville, Atlanta, Carrollton, Sapelo Island, Alapaha, Douglasville, and Columbus."

Sometime soon, I am going to go out and check out this interesting building. 

Perhaps you know of others in your community? 


Friday, September 4, 2015

Life Outside Atlanta?

If you live in the Atlanta area, you know there are two type of people -- the ITPs and OTPs. 

Translation: Inside the Perimeter and Outside the Perimeter

And basically neither the twain shall meet.
Or at least without geographical prejudice. But that is another story...

But today I wanted to share something I have discovered OTP -- in fact wayyyyy  OTP.

A Lavendar Farm in Georgia

Yes, out in Eatonton.....Eatonton? Well, that is SE of Atlanta in Putnan County.

The farm’s name is Ooh La La Lavender Farm. I haven't been but I have read about them on several blogs. 

There is a Lavender Festival that they have in June. I am going in to check it out next year. A blogger,, posted these beautiful pictures on her blog:

I just love the smell of Lavender. I will definitely be stocking up on these:

A few pictures from their FB page: 

I can't wait until next year. I will be there. 
Y'all consider visiting as well to help promote this Georgia -grown small business.