Athens – Clarke County – Situated on the University of Georgia campus, I wanted to find out the story of the Cobb-Treanor House. Turns out this was built as a wedding gift in 1840, and has seen a lot in its 180 years here!
The house was built around 1840 by John & Sarah Cobb as a wedding gift to their daughter, Laura. She married William Rutherford Jr and they lived in the house nearly 20 years. Their daughter, Mildred Lewis Rutherford (“Miss Millie”) became the Director of the Lucy Cobb Institute (girls school). They had to sell the house and 25 acres back in 1857…because it was “off-campus”. The University of Georgia required professors to live on campus at that time. How much did it sell for? $2,000.
The house is considered Greek Revival – it is basically 4 rooms over 4, with a wide hallway. The columns – they’re not what I usually see on these houses. They’re considered more of a Gothic Revival style. They’re unusual, and I really like them.
After the Rutherfords moved, the house was owned by the Brittain family for about 50 years. The house changed hands a couple of times in the early 1900s.
Cobb-Treanor House – early 1900s
In 1912, A.W. Ashford of nearby Watkinsville bought the house. It was to serve as a private family dormitory for his 4 sons (along with servants) while they attended UGA. They would stay here during the week, and then go home to Watkinsville. Ashford Manor (a recently closed B&B) in Watkinsville was their full time family home. Ashford kept the house until 1929 when he finally sold it, many years after his sons were through with college.
Soon after the house was sold, Mrs. Kate McKinley Treanor (a widow) purchased the home, and moved here from nearby S. Milledge Avenue. Mrs. Treanor was from Sapelo Island, her family had farmed there for several generations. Fortunately for us, we have photos of the inside of the house from the late 1970s – the house was virtually unchanged from the time of purchase in the 1930s.
The house has a large center hallway, and a great staircase. This photo would be looking from the front door.
There are double parlors to the left, with great pocket doors separating them.
Mrs. Treanor passed away in 1946, and two of her daughters lived here until their deaths. Both of them led fascinating lives. First, let’s meet Miss Sapelo Treanor. Sapelo is an unusual name – but remember, her mother’s family was from Sapelo Island.
Sapelo Treanor studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, and taught foreign languages at both Valdosta State and LaGrange Colleges. She lived in this house full time after her retirement, and lived until 1985.
Her sister, Miss Helen Treanor lived in the house with her Mother. She is remembered fondly by generations of Athenians. Helen Treanor taught in the Athens schools for decades, as a teacher at the Childs Street School, and later as Principal of Alps Road Elementary. I saw several comments from people who spoke so highly of her – one of those elementary teachers you remember for their kindness many years later.
After the sisters passed away, the University of Georgia stepped in and made restorations to the house. There has been a tremendous amount of work done on the house over the last few years, and it stands proud within the UGA campus.
One thing that struck me as I researched the house – there’s a theme of educators living in this home. The Rutherfords back in the 1850s, to the Treanors from the 1930s and beyond. Thanks so much for reading the blog, hope you enjoyed learning a little more about the Cobb-Treanor House.