Sandersville & Tennille – Beautiful Old Homes

Sandersville and Tennille, GA – Washington County – Last weekend I had the opportunity to go on a Tour of Homes in Washington County.  We toured part of Sandersville last year on the blog, which you can visit here.  Sandersville was named the county seat of Washington County in 1796.  Originally it was called “Saunders Crossroads” as it was at the crossing of two Indian trails.

I really liked Sandersville and the amazing volunteers at the Washington Historical Society, so when I saw the Tour of Homes, I put this on the calendar.  The tour benefited the Sandersville School, built in 1939 as a Works Progress Administration building.  Generations have attended the school when it was a High school, and later and elementary school.

Sandersville School (from Facebook page)

It’s a bit over a 2 hourdrive from Atlanta to Sandersville.  Unless you’re me, who loves the backroads – and decided that I saw a straighter route than my navigation system gave me…and I ended up on an 800 mile dirt road in Hancock County.


There’s a great Saturday farmers market in the middle of Sandersville that I wanted to stop at while in town.  That mission accomplished, I set off on the tour.  There were 12 amazing old homes on the tour, let’s take a look at a few of them.

The Albea-Boatwright-Smith House, built 1898 was originally built as a one story home.  About 3 years after it was built, the second story was added.  The contractor, M.W. Schwall was a ship builder from Germany.  He fell in love with a local girl and his family became major builders in the area.  Interestingly, he used ship building techniques when remodeling the home in 1901.

Albea-Boatwright-Smith House
Walking along Smith Street – so many great old homes!

Built in 1900, the Shelnutt-Wylly-Hodges house has a witch’s hat porch!  It’s considered Queen Anne Victorian.  Originally the house had a wood shingle roof, that was replaced in 1925 with painted metal tile.  This tile was popular throughout the 1920s and you can find it on many older homes from the era.

Shelnutt-Wylly-Hodges House

Forest Grove was built in 1844.  This home is unique – it has 4 front doors!  And it’s lived in by descendants of the original owner!  Lyle Lansdell, the homeowner, was such a gracious hostess!  I had the best time touring the home with her and learning the history of the home, and items that have been in the family for over 150 years.  I could have spent the day visiting with her, she has the gift of being able to bring history to life.  I hope to visit this home again.

Forest Grove

The Greek Revival home below was originally built in 1855.  Before the Civil War, major remodeling was completed – two rooms were added to the front of the house – so you step down from the front of the house to the original part of the house in the back.

Newman-Barja House

The Wilcher-Etheridge House was originally built around 1840.  When the Etheridges bought this home in 1979, it was in pretty rough condition.  The home was actually moved from Glascock County to it’s current location.  The house was cut into 3 parts and moved! Originally built as a 2 room log cabin, rooms were added on over the years.  One room still has the exposed logs on them.  I was amazed at all the work the homeowners tackled over the years.

Wilcher-Etheridge House

Riding through town, there are so many great old homes – loved the big wraparound porch and fall décor on this one!

Not on the tour, but liked this one!


Tennille (say it like a local….it rhymes with “fennel”) is just south of Sandersville, with a population of around 1500.  The town grew up around the railroad.  The Wrightsville & Tennille Railroad Building, designed by architect Charles E. Choate is on the National Register of Historic Places.  There are so many curves on the railroad line around here, that it was known as the “Wiggle & Twist”.  This elaborate building is considered the Beaux Arts style.  It was converted to a home at one point, I’m not sure of the current status of it.

Looking around downtown Tennille shops.

Downtown Tennille

The Kelley-McCoy house was so much fun to tour.  The 14 foot ceilings in this house are amazing in their own right.  It’s only been in 2 families throughout its 100+ year history.  Again, I was probably the slowest tourist they had here, I just enjoyed chatting with the homeowner and volunteer – learning about how the house evolved over the years.  The master bedroom has a bed with the tallest headboard I’ve ever seen, it is actually 3 separate pieces.  It looks perfect in this home with the very high ceilings.  The deep porches that wrap around this house are so inviting.

Kelley-McCoy House, circa 1900

There’s an event barn behind the house as well. I can tell you, it’s set up just perfectly to host an event!

McCoy Event Barn

The fall décor at the barn really impressed me.  So creative!

McCoy Barn

Oaklodg (there is no “e” on the end, really!) was originally built in 1873.  This house has evolved over the years!  Originally more of a Craftsman style, Thomas Cook Wylly came to Tennille in 1910 to sell his mother’s home.  He ended up staying here for almost 70 years, and the house had a major renovation in 1928.  The bottom floor of the house was raised, and another bottom floor was added.  Remodeled again in 1940, that’s when the front columns were added to this beautiful home. Eric and Jennifer Tillirson purchased the home in 2011, and are such gracious hosts.  Some people have the knack to immediately make you feel welcome in their home!


Riding around Tennille, you see many great old cottages and bungalows.  Just a couple of more photos….

Another cute house in town


Tennille Home ready for Halloween!

Big thanks to the homeowners and volunteers on this tour of homes, and for their patience with me as a slow home tourist!  Sandersville and Tennille are really interesting towns, and well worth a visit.  And I sure appreciate you reading this week’s blog post!

Sandersville – A Few Favorite Old Homes

Sandersville, GA – Washington County – As with so many old towns, there are more great homes than I can include in one post!  I concentrated my visit this time on the North Harris Street district of Sandersville. aka Silk Stocking Street.  More about Silk Stocking Street below.   Sandersville has been the county seat of Washington County since 1796, and has a population of around 6,100.  Home to a one time governor, prominent architect, and many other interesting folks, there’s a great history here.

My first stop in Sandersville was The Brown House Museum, operated by the Washington County Historical Society.  Interesting house with so much history, I posted a separate inside tour of the house here.  This house was built around 1850, and if you’re ever in the area it’s a great house tour.

Brown House Front
The Brown House

The Washington County Courthouse was built in 1869, on the site of the former courthouse that was burned in 1864.  The Farmers Market was just wrapping up as I arrived here.

Washington County Courthouse

The Paris House, below, has an interesting history.  This is where author Rachel Theresa Paris grew up.  She wrote the book Silk Stocking Street, published in 1970.  This book was her recollection of stories growing up on here.  It’s called Silk Stocking Street because people in this wealthy area were able to buy silk stockings to wear to church on Sundays.

Paris House


The Paris House above is one of several that are attributed to a well-known architect, Charles E Choate.  He was active throughout many towns in Georgia, with a large concentration here.  Interestingly, his niece was one of the first female architects and practiced in Macon.

Charles E Choate, architect. Photo from Wikipedia.
Charles E Choate, architect. Photo from Wikipedia.

The Holt-Sullivan house below is considered a Beaux Arts house and was built around 1916 for banker Lewis Holt.  The round porch is one of only a couple I’ve seen in my travels so far.  The upstairs balcony is a reverse circle.

Holt-Sullivan House

The Mark Newman House below predates the Civil War, built around 1855.  It’s actually a 2 level house – there are a foyer and two large rooms, and then a step down to four original rooms.

Mark Newman House

I always love the folk cottages that I see in so many towns, and the example below caught my eye.


The house below, the Cohen-Tarbutton House, has quite an interesting history.  Built around 1904 it is a design of Charles E. Choate.  There have been several owners to this house, including Thomas W. Hardwick, who was at one time Governor of Georgia.

20160507_165524239_iOS (2)
Cohen-Tarbutton House

I did a bit of reading on Governor Hardwick, and his many years in politics.  He was the Prosecutor of Washington County for a while, before going to the state House of Representatives, then to the U.S. House of Representatives, then to the U.S. Senate, then to Governor of Georgia (1921-23).

Thomas Hardwick, from Wikipedia
Thomas Hardwick, photo from Wikipedia

As Governor, he appointed Georgia’s only female U.S. Senator in 1922!  Rebecca Ann Latimer Felton was sworn in as the first female U.S. Senator in November 1922.  Oh, and even more impressive, she was 87 years old at that time and thus not only first female senator, but oldest freshman senator until that time.  Politics is politics, even back in 1922 and there had been a special election, so she only served for 24 hours.

Governor Hardwick, his Sandersville house above, appointed the first female U.S. Senator in 1922!

Rebecca Latimer Felton, photo from Wikipedia
Rebecca Latimer Felton, photo from Wikipedia

Researching these old homes digs up so many interesting stories, huh?  The Holt -Slade House below is also attributed to Charles E. Choate.  The original owner, Lake B. Holt was a banker and businessman. Joe Slade who later lived here was a former mayor.

Holt-Slade House


The house above, I don’t have any information on it – but look at how fantastic it is!  Hope to learn more about this one soon.  It stopped me in my tracks as soon as I saw it.

Now below is a Victorian sheriff’s home which is combined with the county jail!  Built circa 1891, this housed the sheriff’s family in the front, and you can see on the very back the jail cells.  This was in use until 1975.  It’s now a museum and genealogy center.  I didn’t have a chance to go inside, but I heard it’s rumored to be haunted by the spirit of “Essie”.  I’ll have to go back and check this place out too!


Sandersville is one amazing town – so much history, and a great downtown square to check out.  The farmer’s market on Saturday mornings is fantastic.  As always, appreciate you taking the time to read the blog!  Thank you!

Touring The Brown House, Sandersville

The Brown House, Sandersville, GA

Sandersville, Georgia – The Brown House (originally called Woodlawn Terrace), circa 1850, is operated as a house museum by the Washington County Historical Society.  I visited Washington County a couple of weeks ago and took a tour of the Brown House.  This is one of those houses that has a lot of history!  OK, I will mention now that the chimney recently collapsed at this home back when we were having all that rain around the holidays.  Then again, at 165 years old, these things happen.  This house stayed in the Brown Family for 125 years, which is just amazing.

I read about this house quite some time ago in on of my favorite old books, White Columns in Georgia, by Medora Field Perkerson.  Published in 1952, she wrote the history of many antebellum homes throughout Georgia, and how General Sherman stayed here and used this as his headquarters on his march to the sea in 1864.

William Gainer Brown was a merchant and planter.  He and his wife, Miriah Mitchell Brown had their portraits painted in the 1850s.  These have recently been restored and hang in the entrance hall of the Brown House.


The view below is looking towards the front door.  This is a large house, big rooms, and a very high ceiling.  It’s been altered throughout the years and has a couple of Victorian renovations still present.

Brown House Center Hall

The large front parlor makes quite a first impression on guests to the home.  The desk on the left of the room is very similar to one that was in the home and used by General Sherman when this was his HQ.

Brown House Front ParlorThe house has changed quite a bit throughout the years.  The two sketches below show the house with two different looks.  The lower sketch shows the house as it appeared when built.  The upper sketch shows the house as it appears today, with a couple of Victorian additions including bay windows on the side.


See the plates below?  I learned that these are the official Georgia historical plates, first produced in 1933 to celebrate Georgia’s bicentennial.  The more I learn about Sandersville, I’m just amazed by all the history here!  Interesting story about the plates, I’ve attached their website here.


The silver below is significant.  It was hidden during the Civil War and not found for many years.  The story about it is great, but I don’t want to give a spoiler alert before you visit the Brown House.  Buried silver, found many many years later.


Now as I mentioned, this was Sherman’s HQ in Sandersville  for a night.  There are almost as many Sherman slept here places as George Washington slept here places!  They slept a lot? Just kidding. This home really did host him in 1864, no question.


This is the couch that he slept on when he was here, of course it’s been recovered since then!  In the photo above there’s a painting of him resting in here.


The upstairs was closed on my visit due to all the work going on with the chimneys, but I look forward to coming back here and visiting the Brown House again!

The Brown House in Sandersville, circa 1850

20160507_130952_HDRThanks for taking a look at this house tour, I appreciate you reading the blog!