Athens, GA – Clarke County- This Greek Revival mansion located on Prince Avenue has an interesting story of prominent families over the years. For simplicity, we are calling it Upon House (instead of Franklin-Gazaway-Long-Upson House). It was even turned into a bank – read through the history of this home and see some old interior photographs.
The mansion was built in 1847 by Dr. Marcus A. Franklin, who moved to Macon a year later and sold the home. An eventual owner was James Long, father of Crawford W. Long, the physician who first used ether as an anesthetic!
Stephen Upson bought the house in 1885, a January 1886 newspaper states Mr Upson, a retired capitalist, “will occupy the Mitchell property on Prince Avenue”. He moved from nearby Lexington (there’s another Upson House there we will feature one day).
Mr Upson and his wife Matilda had 6 children. Upon buying the house, they updated the house quite a bit – they had the kitchen building (remember how these were separate from the house in the old days, particularly because of risk of fire) rolled on logs and attached to the back of the house.
The Upson family also had silver doorknobs installed, as well as parquet floors. updated fireplaces, etc. Stephen Upson died in 1914, at age 91
The house stayed in the family until 1974. The NRHP black and white pictures here were taken the last year that the family owned the house.
In 1974, The First National Bank of Athens (which later became Trust Company, then SunTrust Bank) took over the property and converted the house to a bank. The bank was sensitive and kept the original house – adding some offices and a vault to the back, as well as drive thru in the back of the house. Looking at the house from the front, you’d never know it was a bank – still has the large circular driveway out front.
SunTrust closed the branch, and now this property is vacant and for sale. When visiting this property, I was amazed as the size of this house – it’s hard to tell as it sits back from the road – it’s an enormous house. The future of this historic home is uncertain, hopefully someone will purchase and save this beautiful home! Thanks so much for reading the blog, I sure do appreciate it!