Athens, GA – Clarke County – When researching old houses, I often come across people who led amazing lives.  The Scudder-Lewis House is no exception.  The more I researched, the more interesting facts I discovered about this family home on South Milledge Avenue.

Charles and Nina Scudder led extremely interesting lives.  They bought an existing 1.5 room cottage on this lot back in 1893 for $4,500.  Instead of demolishing it, they incorporated the old cottage into this Victorian house, and it became the butler’s pantry and rear entry hall of the house.  The house stayed in the family until 1963.

Charles Alexander Scudder

Mr. Scudder operated a jeweler’s shop in Athens.  His business was the longest operating business without a name change in Athens history.  Everyone in town came to his shop to set their watch to his clock, considered the most accurate around.  I was able to find an old photo of his jewelry shop, which was above University Bank.  An elder in the Presbyterian Church and Director of the Rotary Club, Mr. Scudder was well-known and respected in the community.

Charles Scudder’s Jewelry shop, before 1900
1915 Newspaper Ad (Digital Library of Georgia)

 

Knowing that Scudder was a jeweler, I couldn’t help but notice the diamond motif on his home.  While it’s hard to tell in the photo – those 3 arched windows are stained glass!

Scudder-Lewis House
Diamond motif on Scudder-Lewis House

Nina Wilkins Scudder

Nina Wilkins Scudder (1867-1943) led a fascinating life.  After rearing 4 children, she became involved in many organizations.  She was very active in the Ladies’ Garden Club (which originated in Athens, GA!), and gave lectures on how to save the state’s natural beauty.  Later she became very involved in the Social Reform Movement.  She was Director of the Bessie Mell Industrial Home – which provided shelter and work to needy girls.  Well known for tending to the needy, it may have led to her death after driving out to help during a typhoid outbreak.  Mrs. Scudder passed away while trying to recuperate at Hot Springs, Arkansas.  Her death was the lead story in Athens (sorry for the scan quality on this one, best I could get from microfilm!)

 

Daughter Nina Scudder continued to live in the house, and in the late 1940s and 50s taught art classes at her home.  She hosted regular art shows of the students – there’s a generation of Athenians who remember her art classes!

Scudder-Lewis House 1963-1981

After daughter Nina Scudder passed away, the house was eventually sold in 1963.  It became a rooming house, and then served several years as a fraternity house.  During these years the house rapidly deteriorated.  Enter the Lewis family.  In 1981, Ward and Erika Lewis bought and restored this house to its original glory!  It’s been designated an Athens local landmark.

Thanks so much for reading the blog – I really appreciate it and hope you enjoyed learning more about the family that built this home and lived here for 70 years!

 

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