Sandersville and Tennille, GA – Washington County – Last weekend I had the opportunity to go on a Tour of Homes in Washington County.  We toured part of Sandersville last year on the blog, which you can visit here.  Sandersville was named the county seat of Washington County in 1796.  Originally it was called “Saunders Crossroads” as it was at the crossing of two Indian trails.

I really liked Sandersville and the amazing volunteers at the Washington Historical Society, so when I saw the Tour of Homes, I put this on the calendar.  The tour benefited the Sandersville School, built in 1939 as a Works Progress Administration building.  Generations have attended the school when it was a High school, and later and elementary school.

Sandersville School (from Facebook page)

It’s a bit over a 2 hourdrive from Atlanta to Sandersville.  Unless you’re me, who loves the backroads – and decided that I saw a straighter route than my navigation system gave me…and I ended up on an 800 mile dirt road in Hancock County.


There’s a great Saturday farmers market in the middle of Sandersville that I wanted to stop at while in town.  That mission accomplished, I set off on the tour.  There were 12 amazing old homes on the tour, let’s take a look at a few of them.

The Albea-Boatwright-Smith House, built 1898 was originally built as a one story home.  About 3 years after it was built, the second story was added.  The contractor, M.W. Schwall was a ship builder from Germany.  He fell in love with a local girl and his family became major builders in the area.  Interestingly, he used ship building techniques when remodeling the home in 1901.

Albea-Boatwright-Smith House
Walking along Smith Street – so many great old homes!

Built in 1900, the Shelnutt-Wylly-Hodges house has a witch’s hat porch!  It’s considered Queen Anne Victorian.  Originally the house had a wood shingle roof, that was replaced in 1925 with painted metal tile.  This tile was popular throughout the 1920s and you can find it on many older homes from the era.

Shelnutt-Wylly-Hodges House

Forest Grove was built in 1844.  This home is unique – it has 4 front doors!  And it’s lived in by descendants of the original owner!  Lyle Lansdell, the homeowner, was such a gracious hostess!  I had the best time touring the home with her and learning the history of the home, and items that have been in the family for over 150 years.  I could have spent the day visiting with her, she has the gift of being able to bring history to life.  I hope to visit this home again.

Forest Grove

The Greek Revival home below was originally built in 1855.  Before the Civil War, major remodeling was completed – two rooms were added to the front of the house – so you step down from the front of the house to the original part of the house in the back.

Newman-Barja House

The Wilcher-Etheridge House was originally built around 1840.  When the Etheridges bought this home in 1979, it was in pretty rough condition.  The home was actually moved from Glascock County to it’s current location.  The house was cut into 3 parts and moved! Originally built as a 2 room log cabin, rooms were added on over the years.  One room still has the exposed logs on them.  I was amazed at all the work the homeowners tackled over the years.

Wilcher-Etheridge House

Riding through town, there are so many great old homes – loved the big wraparound porch and fall décor on this one!

Not on the tour, but liked this one!


Tennille (say it like a local….it rhymes with “fennel”) is just south of Sandersville, with a population of around 1500.  The town grew up around the railroad.  The Wrightsville & Tennille Railroad Building, designed by architect Charles E. Choate is on the National Register of Historic Places.  There are so many curves on the railroad line around here, that it was known as the “Wiggle & Twist”.  This elaborate building is considered the Beaux Arts style.  It was converted to a home at one point, I’m not sure of the current status of it.

Looking around downtown Tennille shops.

Downtown Tennille

The Kelley-McCoy house was so much fun to tour.  The 14 foot ceilings in this house are amazing in their own right.  It’s only been in 2 families throughout its 100+ year history.  Again, I was probably the slowest tourist they had here, I just enjoyed chatting with the homeowner and volunteer – learning about how the house evolved over the years.  The master bedroom has a bed with the tallest headboard I’ve ever seen, it is actually 3 separate pieces.  It looks perfect in this home with the very high ceilings.  The deep porches that wrap around this house are so inviting.

Kelley-McCoy House, circa 1900

There’s an event barn behind the house as well. I can tell you, it’s set up just perfectly to host an event!

McCoy Event Barn

The fall décor at the barn really impressed me.  So creative!

McCoy Barn

Oaklodg (there is no “e” on the end, really!) was originally built in 1873.  This house has evolved over the years!  Originally more of a Craftsman style, Thomas Cook Wylly came to Tennille in 1910 to sell his mother’s home.  He ended up staying here for almost 70 years, and the house had a major renovation in 1928.  The bottom floor of the house was raised, and another bottom floor was added.  Remodeled again in 1940, that’s when the front columns were added to this beautiful home. Eric and Jennifer Tillirson purchased the home in 2011, and are such gracious hosts.  Some people have the knack to immediately make you feel welcome in their home!


Riding around Tennille, you see many great old cottages and bungalows.  Just a couple of more photos….

Another cute house in town


Tennille Home ready for Halloween!

Big thanks to the homeowners and volunteers on this tour of homes, and for their patience with me as a slow home tourist!  Sandersville and Tennille are really interesting towns, and well worth a visit.  And I sure appreciate you reading this week’s blog post!

3 Replies to “Sandersville & Tennille – Beautiful Old Homes”

  1. Thanks for coming to Sandersville & Tennille! As owner of Deep River Outfitters in Downtown Tennille, we are working hard to breathe life back into our small town. We appreciate having visitors like you!

    We have created and produced a commerative t-shirt for the Sandersville School Authority to assist them in raising funds to preserve the Sandersville School. Check them out at

    1. I really enjoyed exploring both towns, and can’t wait to get back there! Really like the commemorative t-shirt, and I’m finding all kinds of great stuff just looking on the website. Hope to be back in town soon.

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