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Two-story home with columns and paver stone walkway to front porch. Karon Warren

Exploring the architectural gems along Georgia’s Antebellum Trail

Reaching from Athens to Macon, within a couple hours of Atlanta, the trail offers remarkable homes and sites for architecture aficionados and history buffs

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Despite Sherman’s infamous March to the Sea, which resulted in almost total destruction from Atlanta to Savannah, some of Georgia’s small towns escaped the torches of Union soldiers.

The Peach State, in fact, is fortunate to retain some of its most notable antebellum structures, which architecture fans can tour as part of Georgia’s Antebellum Trail.

The trail runs 100 miles through seven historic communities: Athens, Watkinsville, Madison, Eatonton, Milledgeville, Old Clinton, and Macon.

Along the way, you’ll see many fine examples of Greek Revival and other antebellum structures, from modest cottages to lofty estates. Several homes and sites are museums you can tour; others are available to admire from a distance.

To fully enjoy these architectural gems, schedule a few days for exploring their respective towns. It actually makes no difference where you start, but to help you plan, check out these proposed itineraries.

The Georgia’s Antebellum Trail website also provides plenty of information on museum hours, annual pilgrimages, and special events that take place along the trail.

For an idea of what the trail offers, check out this mapped preview of notable homes and sites.

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Church-Waddel-Brumby House

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Believed to be Athens’ oldest surviving residence, this home was built in 1820 for Alonzo Church, a former president of the University of Georgia. A restored Federal-period house, the home now serves as the Athens Welcome Center, where you can find more information on touring the city’s four antebellum house museums. 

TRR Cobb House

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Built circa 1842 in Athens, the T.R.R. Cobb House stands apart from traditional antebellum architecture thanks to the octagonal wings that flank the main structure. One of those wings served as the office of T.R.R. Cobb, a lawyer who cofounded the UGA law school and principal author of the Confederate Constitution. 

Two-story home with salmon-colored exterior and green shutters. Cara Pastore

Taylor-Grady House

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A fabulous example of Greek Revival architecture, the Taylor-Grady House in Athens was constructed circa 1844 and served as the home of Henry Grady, noted editor of The Atlanta Constitution and namesake of UGA’s journalism school. The home’s 13 columns represent the original American colonies. 

Two-story house with columns and large tree out front. Karon Warren

Ware-Lyndon House 

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An Italianate mansion built circa 1850 by Edward R. Ware, the Ware-Lyndon House in Athens showcases some of the most notable interior design features of the era. These include the 19th-century faux graining and murals on the walls, the shell in the decorative cornice plaster work, and the matching set of furniture in the front parlor. 

Formal parlor with table and chairs in foreground and elaborate fireplace in background. Karon Warren

Eagle Tavern Museum

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Located in the heart of Watkinsville, the Eagle Tavern Museum was built in the late 1700s, becoming a stagecoach stop and tavern in 1801. Situated across the street from the county courthouse, it welcomed many local residents as well as visitors. 

While in Watkinsville, check out the Elder Mill Covered Bridge. Although it wasn’t built until 1897, covered bridges are always worth a visit. 

Exterior view of two-story gray building with “Eagle Tavern Museum” sign out front. Karon Warren

Heritage Hall

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Built in 1811 in Madison by Dr. William Johnston, Heritage Hall contains 14-foot ceilings, pocket doors separating the parlors (the back parlor is outfitted as the formal dining room), and, in the girl’s bedroom, a unique motif carved into the mantel.

Speaking of carvings, be sure to check out the many carvings in the window panes. (Apparently, the women in the house wanted to verify their diamonds were real.)

Those who experience otherworldly presences may have an ethereal encounter in the Ghost Bedroom, too.  

Two-story home with columns and paver stone walkway to front porch. Karon Warren

Rogers House Museum

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Exhibiting Piedmont Plain-style architecture, Rogers House was constructed in 1809 by Reuben Rogers in Madison. Designed as a two-over-two structure, the home also has a back shed addition thought to have been added around 1820. The house is depictive of middle-class living during the 1800s. 

Rose Cottage

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Next door to Rogers House, Rose Cottage was the home of Adeline Rose, who built the home in 1891 for $100. Born into slavery, Rose at some point bought or received her freedom, and went on to earn a living by taking in washing and ironing at 50 cents a load. Not much is known of her life, but the home does include some of her personal possessions, including a quilt on the bed. 

Panola Hall (Sylvia’s House)

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Constructed in 1854 in Eatonton, Panola Hall originally served as a town home for Henry Trippe, who owned a plantation. Doric columns and pilasters line the front of the Greek Revival house, which claims to have its own ghost.

The story goes that a woman, Sylvia, jumped off the balcony after learning of her fiancé’s death in the Civil War. However, she only seems to reveal her presence to those she believes to be her social equal. 

Reid-Greene-Lawrence-Sichveland House

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Built over the course of seven years, the Reid-Greene-Lawrence-Sichveland House is an 1855 three-story Greek Revival home featuring hand-carved Corinthian capitols, plaster medallions, wood graining, and marbleizing.

While Eatonton has no house museums, visitors can take in the antebellum architecture courtesy of the Historical Walking Tour. Stop by The Plaza Arts Center, where you can pick up a walking tour brochure at the Welcome Center. And, although not antebellum in nature, be sure to visit the Uncle Remus Museum. 

Andalusia: The Home of Flannery O'Connor

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Famous as the home of author Flannery O’Connor from 1951 to 1964, Andalusia Farm in Milledgeville had been constructed a hundred years earlier in 1850. Today, the home is outfitted to reflect the era’s décor and setup during O’Connor’s time here.

Since Georgia College and State University took over the property, a concerted effort to bolster the house as a museum received a boost when many of O’Connor’s original possessions were found in storage and are now on display. 

Rose Hill at Lockerly Arboretum

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Built in Milledgeville in 1852 by plantation owner Daniel Reece Tucker, Rose Hill epitomizes the Greek Revival style of architecture. It landed a spot on the Natural Register of Historic Places in 2017 because it embodies almost all of the architectural style’s identifying features. Think prominent columns, stucco-clad exterior, symmetrical front façade, low-pitched hipped roof, and double-hung six-over windows. The interior also is reminiscent of the Georgian house style.

Rose Hill sits on the grounds of Lockerly Arboretum, a 50-acre garden open to the public. 

Georgia's Old Governor's Mansion

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A prime example of High Greek Revival architecture, the Old Governor’s Mansion served as the home of Georgia’s governors from 1838 to 1868 during Milledgeville’s tenure as the state capital. During his March to the Sea, Sherman occupied the building on November 23, 1864, claiming it as a “prize.” 

Johnston–Felton–Hay House

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Also known as the Hay House, this Greek Revival home was completed in 1859 on Georgia Avenue overlooking downtown Macon. The elaborate exterior is complemented by equally impressive luxury inside, with indoor plumbing, an elevator, and, for the time, a state-of-the-art ventilation system. 

Elaborate multi-story orange house with white trim and covered porch. Courtesy of Visit Macon

The Cannonball House

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Built in 1853, this Greek Revival home in Macon actually was not struck by a cannonball during the Civil War as first thought. Decades later, it was determined the home was actually hit by a Hotchkiss shell during Stoneman’s Raid in 1864. However, “The Shell House” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

In addition to the home, visitors can see the original brick kitchen around back. 

Two-story house with white columns and black wrought-iron fence out front. Courtesy of Visit Macon

Sidney Lanier Cottage

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A Victorian cottage built circa 1840 in Macon, this home is well-known as the birthplace of poet, musician, Civil War soldier, mathematician, and linguist Sidney Clopton Lanier. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the home includes a historic formal garden and lovely patio. 

White cottage with covered front porch and peaked roof. Courtesy of Visit Macon

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Church-Waddel-Brumby House

Believed to be Athens’ oldest surviving residence, this home was built in 1820 for Alonzo Church, a former president of the University of Georgia. A restored Federal-period house, the home now serves as the Athens Welcome Center, where you can find more information on touring the city’s four antebellum house museums. 

TRR Cobb House

Two-story home with salmon-colored exterior and green shutters. Cara Pastore

Built circa 1842 in Athens, the T.R.R. Cobb House stands apart from traditional antebellum architecture thanks to the octagonal wings that flank the main structure. One of those wings served as the office of T.R.R. Cobb, a lawyer who cofounded the UGA law school and principal author of the Confederate Constitution. 

Two-story home with salmon-colored exterior and green shutters. Cara Pastore

Taylor-Grady House

Two-story house with columns and large tree out front. Karon Warren

A fabulous example of Greek Revival architecture, the Taylor-Grady House in Athens was constructed circa 1844 and served as the home of Henry Grady, noted editor of The Atlanta Constitution and namesake of UGA’s journalism school. The home’s 13 columns represent the original American colonies. 

Two-story house with columns and large tree out front. Karon Warren

Ware-Lyndon House 

Formal parlor with table and chairs in foreground and elaborate fireplace in background. Karon Warren

An Italianate mansion built circa 1850 by Edward R. Ware, the Ware-Lyndon House in Athens showcases some of the most notable interior design features of the era. These include the 19th-century faux graining and murals on the walls, the shell in the decorative cornice plaster work, and the matching set of furniture in the front parlor. 

Formal parlor with table and chairs in foreground and elaborate fireplace in background. Karon Warren

Eagle Tavern Museum

Exterior view of two-story gray building with “Eagle Tavern Museum” sign out front. Karon Warren

Located in the heart of Watkinsville, the Eagle Tavern Museum was built in the late 1700s, becoming a stagecoach stop and tavern in 1801. Situated across the street from the county courthouse, it welcomed many local residents as well as visitors. 

While in Watkinsville, check out the Elder Mill Covered Bridge. Although it wasn’t built until 1897, covered bridges are always worth a visit. 

Exterior view of two-story gray building with “Eagle Tavern Museum” sign out front. Karon Warren

Heritage Hall

Two-story home with columns and paver stone walkway to front porch. Karon Warren

Built in 1811 in Madison by Dr. William Johnston, Heritage Hall contains 14-foot ceilings, pocket doors separating the parlors (the back parlor is outfitted as the formal dining room), and, in the girl’s bedroom, a unique motif carved into the mantel.

Speaking of carvings, be sure to check out the many carvings in the window panes. (Apparently, the women in the house wanted to verify their diamonds were real.)

Those who experience otherworldly presences may have an ethereal encounter in the Ghost Bedroom, too.  

Two-story home with columns and paver stone walkway to front porch. Karon Warren

Rogers House Museum

Exhibiting Piedmont Plain-style architecture, Rogers House was constructed in 1809 by Reuben Rogers in Madison. Designed as a two-over-two structure, the home also has a back shed addition thought to have been added around 1820. The house is depictive of middle-class living during the 1800s. 

Rose Cottage

Next door to Rogers House, Rose Cottage was the home of Adeline Rose, who built the home in 1891 for $100. Born into slavery, Rose at some point bought or received her freedom, and went on to earn a living by taking in washing and ironing at 50 cents a load. Not much is known of her life, but the home does include some of her personal possessions, including a quilt on the bed. 

Panola Hall (Sylvia’s House)

Constructed in 1854 in Eatonton, Panola Hall originally served as a town home for Henry Trippe, who owned a plantation. Doric columns and pilasters line the front of the Greek Revival house, which claims to have its own ghost.

The story goes that a woman, Sylvia, jumped off the balcony after learning of her fiancé’s death in the Civil War. However, she only seems to reveal her presence to those she believes to be her social equal. 

Reid-Greene-Lawrence-Sichveland House

Built over the course of seven years, the Reid-Greene-Lawrence-Sichveland House is an 1855 three-story Greek Revival home featuring hand-carved Corinthian capitols, plaster medallions, wood graining, and marbleizing.

While Eatonton has no house museums, visitors can take in the antebellum architecture courtesy of the Historical Walking Tour. Stop by The Plaza Arts Center, where you can pick up a walking tour brochure at the Welcome Center. And, although not antebellum in nature, be sure to visit the Uncle Remus Museum. 

Andalusia: The Home of Flannery O'Connor

Famous as the home of author Flannery O’Connor from 1951 to 1964, Andalusia Farm in Milledgeville had been constructed a hundred years earlier in 1850. Today, the home is outfitted to reflect the era’s décor and setup during O’Connor’s time here.

Since Georgia College and State University took over the property, a concerted effort to bolster the house as a museum received a boost when many of O’Connor’s original possessions were found in storage and are now on display. 

Rose Hill at Lockerly Arboretum

Built in Milledgeville in 1852 by plantation owner Daniel Reece Tucker, Rose Hill epitomizes the Greek Revival style of architecture. It landed a spot on the Natural Register of Historic Places in 2017 because it embodies almost all of the architectural style’s identifying features. Think prominent columns, stucco-clad exterior, symmetrical front façade, low-pitched hipped roof, and double-hung six-over windows. The interior also is reminiscent of the Georgian house style.

Rose Hill sits on the grounds of Lockerly Arboretum, a 50-acre garden open to the public. 

Georgia's Old Governor's Mansion

A prime example of High Greek Revival architecture, the Old Governor’s Mansion served as the home of Georgia’s governors from 1838 to 1868 during Milledgeville’s tenure as the state capital. During his March to the Sea, Sherman occupied the building on November 23, 1864, claiming it as a “prize.” 

Johnston–Felton–Hay House

Elaborate multi-story orange house with white trim and covered porch. Courtesy of Visit Macon

Also known as the Hay House, this Greek Revival home was completed in 1859 on Georgia Avenue overlooking downtown Macon. The elaborate exterior is complemented by equally impressive luxury inside, with indoor plumbing, an elevator, and, for the time, a state-of-the-art ventilation system. 

Elaborate multi-story orange house with white trim and covered porch. Courtesy of Visit Macon

The Cannonball House

Two-story house with white columns and black wrought-iron fence out front. Courtesy of Visit Macon

Built in 1853, this Greek Revival home in Macon actually was not struck by a cannonball during the Civil War as first thought. Decades later, it was determined the home was actually hit by a Hotchkiss shell during Stoneman’s Raid in 1864. However, “The Shell House” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

In addition to the home, visitors can see the original brick kitchen around back. 

Two-story house with white columns and black wrought-iron fence out front. Courtesy of Visit Macon

Sidney Lanier Cottage