Abandoned Big Old House Tour

Morgan County, Georgia – Let’s go check out Nolan House, which is a big old abandoned house, vacant for about 35 years now.

Built in 1905 by James Alonzo Nolan, this was the center of a 2000 acre cotton farming operation.  Not only does the house remain, there is a crossroads that has the original store/commissary for the sharecroppers (oh wait, we say tenants now, that sounds nicer), mule barn, and sharecropper  tenant cabins.  IMG_3193

I was surprised by what good shape the interior was in, all things considered.  In the downstairs hallway, you can’t help but notice the stairs were painted sunshine yellow at one point.

Hall Stairway

Of course with the house being empty so long, some of the details aren’t there as you peer into rooms…

Interior Room Nolan House


I would love to know what was in the niches on the sides of the doorway.



And of course years of neglect made things a little rough on an addition to the house.



Of course I had to see how things looked from the upstairs balcony…

Upstairs balcony


I know it needs LOTS of work…

Porch Ceiling




This is one I look at and think “it can be saved and brought back to its former glory”.  Beautiful land around the house.


View from back of house


There are several of the crossroads buildings still standing, including the commissary and mule barn.


This one is leaning just a bit…

Leaning.....Mule Barn

Thanks for looking at this beautiful old home! Amazing to see an abandoned big old house like this. Hope you enjoyed this post!




Glen Mary Plantation

Glen Mary Front View

Hancock County, GA – Glen Mary Plantation has  “WOW” factor when you see it.  It’s currently a restoration project, and as soon as I pulled into the driveway I fell in love with this place!  What does Glen Mary stand for?  It’s “Mary’s Valley” in Scottish…named for the owner’s wife, Mary.

This is a 53 foot square house, 4 rooms up (2 parlors, 2 bedrooms) and 4 rooms down (Dining Room and bedrooms).

Wait – why isn’t the whole house painted white?  Weren’t they all?  Nope.  The raised basement was painted white for a long time, and as they restored this place, under probably 900 layers of paint they found this darker color was the original.


Built in 1848, this Greek Revival mansion was only owned by two families in a 130 year period – found some old pics of the house, amazing how far it has come along.  Currently under restoration, hope you’ll enjoy learning about this place.

It was originally built by Theophilus Jackson Smith, and named in honor of his wife, Mary Gonder Smith.  TJ Smith makes me feel so lazy – he was a banker, planter, land trader, state senator, state representative, and a judge.   He was quite the successful planter, growing it from 1,500 acres in 1850, to around 2,500 acres by 1860.  Things were rough after the Civil War, and he had to sell Glen Mary.  Old photos of the original owners below (from UGA’s site)

photo-spoils-tjsmithMary Salome Gonder Smith

After the Civil War, the house along with 850 acres was sold for $10,500 to General Ethan Allen Hitchcock.


General Hitchcock had quite a distinguished career – and in fact was one of two who guarded Lincoln’s body right after his assassination in 1865, and was also the head of the honor guard.  He was struck by a horse after the war, and while he never fully recovered, he married his nurse.

Wait a minute. Ethan Allen?  The furniture store?  Nope, Hitchcock was the grandson of the Revolutionary War patriot, Ethan Allen.  He was born in Vermont, which means he had a strange accent to the local Georgians!  Interestingly, he was quite ill when he bought the house, and put the house solely in his wife’s name so her family could live there after his death.  He died 3 years after moving in.  He was buried at Glen Mary, but was moved to West Point.

His widow and descendants lived in what was described on one site as “genteel poverty” – whatever money they had went to the upkeep of Glen Mary.  By the 1930s it was looking a little tired and had an addition to the back.


By the early 1970s, the house was in the process of restoration.  Here’s an exterior as well as one of the parlors:

Glen Mary 1974 NRHP

Parlor, 1974 NRHP

Check out your first impression in the house…

GM Website



Here’s the thing – this is an active restoration project.  Owned by Preservation America, they are restoring this house slowly as the funds allow.  These photos give you an idea of the huge scope of work (from UGA/GM site).



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Seeing peeling paint and a leaking roof was sad, but finally they were able to replace the roof on this place!  Restoring and maintaining an old home – you’re NEVER done with it!

Tybee Island Lighthouse – Head Keepers Cottage Tour



Tybee Island, GA – Since it was in the teens this morning, I thought we should head down to the coast and take a look inside the Head Keepers Cottage.  When I visited here it was perfect 75 degree weather!

This is part of the Tybee Island Lighthouse & Museum, a great stop on the north end of Tybee Island.  A lighthouse, a compound of buildings circa 1900 and a fort overlooking the water – all fun stuff to me!  Yes you can climb to the top of the lighthouse too, it is 11,123,178   oops I mean 178 steps to the top.  But today we are going inside a cottage.

The Head Keepers Cottage was built circa 1881.  The Tybee Island Historical Society did some incredible renovations between 1999-2003 to show visitors how things were in the early 1900s.

Entering by the kitchen, I loved the old refrigerator – and the sign taped to it – “I AM OLD AND CREAKY AND COMING APART” – hey, I think I need that sign on me some days!


Loved looking around the downstairs rooms and period furnishings.  I see things that remind me of my grandparents and great grandparents homes.  One thing I was curious about – why were the walls wood?  Where was the plaster?  And check out the vintage bathroom!

So why no plaster walls?  Turns out it HAD plaster walls at one point – but it is right next to the fort, which had large guns.  When they used the big guns during target practice, it cracked the plaster.  Thus the wooden walls.

Upstairs bedrooms:

Across the street in the fort is a great little museum that gives you an idea of Tybee Island throughout the years.  Really worth some time if you’re at Tybee Island, and the volunteers from the Tybee Island Historical Society show everyone some southern hospitality.



Pomegranate Hall


Pomegranate Hall, February 2015Sparta, GA – Let’s get this established first – No, Sherman did not burn this house!  Pomegranate Hall, built in the 1830s for the Sayre family survived until 2001, when it burned.

I saw this house in a book published about 50 years ago and was determined to check it out while visiting Sparta.  Did not know until I pulled up to the house that it had burned 14 years ago.

This house has quite a rich history.  When it was built, people thought of it as a “half house” since the doorway is not centered.  The walls of this house are two feet thick, and the main level is on the second floor of the home.  From all my reading on this place, quite a unique floorplan.

Originally there were several acres behind the house that included a vineyard.

This photo from the UGA archives gives an idea of Pomegranate Hall in the early 1970s.

UGA Digital Archives


Interestingly, the widow of WH Macy (you know, as in Macy’s!) purchased this home and lived here beginning in the 1960s.  I can only imagine what a change it would be from living in NYC to then to go Sparta, GA!

2001 Newspaper Article

Of course I saw this and thought to myself YES this could be brought back to its former glory, but can only imagine how much work it would take!

Pomegranate Hall Feb 15 Pic 2




Walking Through the Burwell-Goss House


Sparta, GA – This house is a big one, about 6100 SF.  Wow, glad I don’t have to Swiffer this place.  Built around 1906, this is a handsome house that sat vacant for quite some time.  Fortunately it was recently sold and a new owner is undertaking the renovations in this house.

According to some folks, a Georgia State Senator was the original one to start construction of this house, and he went bankrupt in the process.  Others say this was built for Judge Burwell.  This is the fun of researching old houses.

Old Postcard of the house in its younger days

Old Postcard of the house in its younger days

Walking through this house, you get a sense of the scale of the rooms and wallpaper. So. Much. Wallpaper.  What’s funny though, while wallpaper in a 1980s house makes my eye twitch, it is not unexpected looking at these older homes.  It gives you an idea of the decor during earlier days.

With this house being empty, have to use your imagination to think how it might have been furnished.


This one is truly a beauty, and can’t wait to see how the renovations progress!