Athens, GA – Clarke County – The Joseph Henry Lumpkin House was originally built in the 1830s. This antebellum beauty served as home to Joseph Henry Lumpkin, the first Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court.  Over the years it’s been expanded, changed the street it faces, and moved several hundred feet.

Joseph Henry Lumpkin House, July 2018

Originally built in the 1830s, Judge Lumpkin bought the house in 1842.  He altered and renovated this house – nearly doubling the size of the house, and the front of the house was changed from facing west to south.  It sat about 400 feet back from Prince Avenue.

Joseph Henry Lumpkin (from New Georgia Encyclopedia)

The First Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court

Joseph Henry Lumpkin became Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court when it was formed in 1842.  He held this position until his death in 1867.  A proponent of education, he cofounded the UGA School of Law in 1859, which was named after him at that time.

1940 Photograph (Historic American Buildings Survey)

Some years after Lumpkin passed away, the house took on a new life as Madame Sosnowski’s Female Institute.  Sophie Sosnowski (1809-1899) – born in Germany to a wealthy family, and a widow by the 1860s – established the school along with her daughters.  It was well known for it’s instruction in German, French, and music.  The school closed soon after Madame Sowsnowki’s death.

Around 1906, the house moved – literally.  It was rolled forward several hundred feet and is much closer to Prince Avenue as a result.

Later the home served for several decades as the home of the Athens Women’s Club.

The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the photos below from 1975 give a sense of the home.  This photo of the rear of the house shows how the house grew and evolved after Lumpkin added the “front” to the house.

Rear of House NRHP Photo, 1975

The parlor of the house.

Parlor, Lumpkin House – NRHP Photo, 1975

Street view of house in 1975 – and its next door neighbor, which today serves as offices for Flagpole magazine.

Lumpkin House, and Sorrells House to right (built 1907)

Really interesting house, and how much it evolved over the years!  Thanks so much for reading the blog, I appreciate it!




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