Wrens, Georgia – The W.J. Wren House, c1900 stands prominently in the center of Wrens. I’ve passed by here many times, and finally stopped to photo this grand old home and learn more of its history. W.J. Wren led quite an amazing life, lots to learn here!
W.J. Wren owned 600 acres, and in the 1880s the Augusta, Gibson and Sandersville Railway wanted to build a new train line between Augusta and Sandersville. They also wanted to build a depot here. Mr. Wren suggested naming it “Pope” but the railroad said nope :). Instead, the railroad named it Wrens, and the city was incorporated in 1901. Mr. Wren also deeded some property for a city park he called “Kill Kare”, where the post office is today.
The more I learned about W.J. Wren, it’s amazing all he accomplished in his 61 years. A true business and civic leader. Here are some highlights:
- Established McNear-Young Oil Mill
- Owned Sawmills
- Farming – at one time owned 6,000 acres
- Mercantile Store
- Founder & President, Bank of Wrens
- Mayor of Wrens
- County Road Commissioner
- Georgia State Senator
When Mr. Wren passed away in 1919, the News and Farmer newspaper out of nearby Louisville ran a lengthy obituary. Lucky for us, it’s available online in the Digital Library of Georgia’s Historic Newspaper Archive.
W.J. Wren House Becomes “Colonial Inn”
After Mr. Wren’s death, the house became known as “Colonial Inn”. Paul Kilpatrick Wren and his wife Ammie Lou ran it for years as a hotel and boarding house. Being right on U.S. 1 this was a great location. U.S. 1 was the main North-South route, going from Maine to Florida. Remember, there were no interstates back then. Old advertisements for their Inn mention real home-cooked meals for 50 cents! A room could be had for 75 cents. They ran this for about 30 years.
Colonial Inn Becomes Norton House (1949-Today)
After Mr. Paul K Wrens’ death, the house was sold in 1949 to the Norton Family. At this time it was returned to a single family home. Interestingly, the Norton family still owns the house, 70 years later!
I hope you enjoyed learning more about the history of the W.J. Wren House…just goes to show the stories these old homes can tell us! Thanks for reading the blog today.