Bainbridge – “Steamboat House”

Bainbridge, Georgia – Decatur County  – The Callahan – Penhallegon House (built 1907), often referred to as the  “Steamboat House”, is one of the finest Neo Classical homes in Southwest Georgia.  I found several old photographs of the home and learned more about the family – and share more about this amazing home!

“Steamboat House”, built 1907

Built circa 1907, the John W. Callahan Home has been said to look like a steamboat, thus “Steamboat House”.  As I researched the house, I learned that John W. Callahan (1858 – 1926) – owned a steamboat line (among other businesses).  Bainbridge is right along the Flint River, and until around 1930 the waterways were busy with steamboats carrying passengers and freight.

John W. Callahan Steamboat, early 1900s (Florida Archives)

Callahan eventually owned 5 steamboats, which operated between Columbus, Bainbridge, and Apalachicola.  He also bought a lot of land in the area, which had plenty of longleaf pines.  These pines were used for naval stores (things used to build/maintain ships).  He made a fortune from these business ventures and this grand home reflects his status.  And he owned a wholesale complex, Callahan Grocery.  So – naval stores, a steamboat line, and a wholesale complex – what an entrepreneur!

John Calhoun, circa 1920 – inspecting corn (Vanishing Ga Archives)
Callahan House when NEW

Very little has changed outside when you look at a photo from over 100 years ago – I see an awning on one of the windows, but everything else – including the wrought iron fence, is still there.  Did you know that a lot of iron fences were taken down and melted during World War 2 to help support the war?  Really!


Wraparound porches

Not only was John Callahan an entrepreneur, he was a politician.  He served several terms as Mayor of Bainbridge, and later in the Georgia State Legislature and Senator.

Callahan House Foyer in 1973 (from NRHP)

This large home has double foyers in the front.  There are 10 fireplaces that were originally burned coal, and only 2 of them are alike.  The foyer still contains a lot of the original furnishings.

Double Parlors with hand painted murals

The 2 parlors in the front of the house have hand painted murals.  They have scenes of the Flint River, and one of his steamboats is in the mural!

Dining Room

The home stayed in the same family for many decades, at least through the late 1970s that I could find.

Side View – you get an idea how big this house is!

Fun to delve a little deeper and learn more about the family that occupied this home.  I’ll be publishing more on Bainbridge real soon – be on the lookout!

Thanks again for your time, and really appreciate you reading the blog!  If you’re on Instagram, I publish houses daily there, check out @oldgeorgiahomes there!



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