Columbus, Ga – Muscogee County – Recently took a daytrip to Columbus, and found many historic homes….so many that I’m splitting this into a couple of posts. This week we are checking out antebellum homes in Columbus.
First we have to check out “St Elmo”. The house was begun in 1828 and completed in 1833. And all the materials for this house (except marble and mahogany) are from the property itself. Two U.S. Presidents have been entertained here – President Millard Fillmore, and President James K. Polk. The house is the inspiration for the celebrated novel “St. Elmo”, and the name was changed in 1878 to honor the novel it inspired.
The Illges House above is one that stops you in your tracks! Built in 1850, this Greek Revival/Italianate home was updated in 1877 with the ironwork, including the fence. The Illges Family owned the home until 1946. Interestingly, it was purchased by James Waldo Woodruff in 1958 for his wife, the former Ethel Illges.
Oldest House in Columbus
The Walker-Peters-Langdon house is the oldest house in Columbus, built in 1828. It’s actually considered a prefabricated home! Homes were built to be easily moved as Columbus was first established. The home stayed in the Langdon family for 118 years, until 1967.
Richard Rose Goetchius built this beautiful home in 1839 for his wife. The ironwork is reminiscent of New Orleans homes. The house was nearly demolished to create a parking lot – fortunately the Woodruff family stepped in, moved the house and restored it in the late 1960s.
Dinglewood is still standing; however, it’s on a large lot and not viewable from the street. I found this old photo to include. This home was built without any thought of expense. Originally the home of Joel Early Hurt, his only child, the legendary Julia Hurt was a famous Georgia beauty. In fact while she was in Paris, the attracted the attention of Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte, great-nephew of the Emperor Napoleon! That romance went nowhere, and she eventually married Lee Jordon of Macon, who is said to have been the wealthiest man in Georgia.
The Folly – it’s unusual to find an octagon house, so I was excited to see this one! An earlier home is behind the octagonal addition (completed in the 1860s).
Lion House (originally known as the Hoxey-Cargill House), built in the 1840s is named for the 2 Nubian Lions in front of the house – one awake, and one asleep. This one hides behind trees – so many interesting stories about this house. There’s a tunnel under the house that goes to the nearby Chattahoochee River. And the history of this house is fascinating. During the Civil War, the family hid their mules and provisions in the basement, and hams were hung in the upstairs rooms. A few years after the war, a hoard of gold coins was discovered in a window casing of the house! The house was moved about 300 feet to its present location.
The Georgia Legislature founded Columbus in 1828
The Wynn House was built by Colonel William Wynn – one of the earliest and most prominent residents of Columbus. This is another house that has moved…about 300 feet – by mule power. Originally 100 acres, this home was sold in 1855 for $14,000!
The imposing Swift House was built in 1848. It came into the Swift family around 1917. It sits way back from the road – and was recently for sale. There’s a neat video of the property you can see here
The Joseph House is considered an early Greek Revival Cottage. The Joseph family owned the home for over 100 years. Tropical fern vines were brought upriver from Apalachicola, Florida – easy to do, as Mr. Joseph owned the steamboat line. A rose garden behind the home was one of the prettiest in town.
The Elms may have been my favorite stop during the tour of Columbus. The central part of the house dates back to 1844. The Bowers family purchased the house in the 1860s and added the two hexagonal wings…and they laid out a formal butterfly shaped garden. The house stayed in the Bowers family for 100 years. It had a for sale sign when I was there – it’s listed for $365,000!
Our next Columbus visit will focus on Victorian homes. Thanks so much for reading the blog – I sure do appreciate it!