Macon, GA – Have I got a house for you! It’s huge, it has a secret room, missing gold, and numerous people say it’s haunted. Thought we’d head to Middle Georgia and go check out the Hay House, another property run by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. We are going on their behind the scenes tour that is offered once a month, which ends waaay up on top of the house outside that cupola. This one took 5 years to build, and is considered Italian Renaissance Style. Not your normal white columned mansion. Believe me this is one big old mansion, with around 24 rooms and it’s a total of 3 stories! Yes, really! And this house has a secret room too.
And high tech (for it’s day) – they had a very early form of central heating, a 20,000 gallon water tank in the attic that had spring water pumped into it. That means running water! In the 1850s! And let me tell you, it’s one opulent house too.
Of course it’s an unusual design for Georgia, especially at that time. Turns out the original owners of the house, William and Ann Tracy Johnston had just returned from their honeymoon in Italy in the 1850s. I’m sure however they got to Italy was more comfortable than economy seats on Delta, huh? He was in several different businesses, banking and manufacturing – then during the Civil War he was in charge of the gold depository here. It had over $15 million in gold at one point (wonder if it was in that hidden room?)
You get an idea how big this place walking up to the massive front doors. They’re several inches thick and weigh over 500 lbs each – yet they are effortless to open and close. Things aren’t built like that these days!
Luckily it was a beautiful morning when I toured this place. You get an idea of how big it is with the side view. The large stained glass window in the center is in the dining room.
So the dining room – check out that stained glass huh? It’s an enormous room, as you can tell. What surprised me in here? The rug! It’s not a rug! It’s a painted cloth. I haven’t seen that anywhere else that I’ve toured. That Eastlake dining table with 14 chairs? It’s original to the house.
The music room is 50 feet long as was recently restored. The ceiling is 30 feet high in here. Very opulent. The only thing I could relate to were the white floor fans.
Heading up the stairs another great stained glass window…and we’re really close to the secret room too! So, this thing about folks saying it’s haunted. First, really glad I didn’t read up on that until AFTER I went to the house. People say they’ve seen an elderly lady in 1800s nightclothes roaming the hallways, felt cool spots in the house, and felt something breathing on their shoulder. Had I experienced any of these, I promise y’all I would’ve run like the wind right out of this place!
Here’s where I can appreciate this is a house under restoration. Once you get upstairs you can tell there’s still much more work to be done. The bedrooms are nice enough, but a stark contrast from the fully restored first floor. I think they have spent over $8 Million restoring this house so far.
So of course I was not really thinking much about going up to the octagonal cupola. Looking down the winding staircase up there I started thinking “hey this is pretty high up here!”
But once you get to the top and walk around outside, you are treated to phenomenal views of Macon!!! Great panorama of the city.
If you happen to be anywhere near Macon, this is a really interesting tour! And an unusual style of home for the antebellum south.
Thanks so much for coming along to see the Hay House, I appreciate it!