Decatur, GA – Founded in 1823, Decatur is just six miles east of downtown Atlanta. I was excited to tour Swanton House, which is part of the DeKalb History Center – it’s practically in my back yard and I’d never been there. Last Saturday, this 190 year old home was open for tours, and as I walked up I saw a guide in 1860s period costume. This house was moved from it’s original location nearly 50 years ago – but it’s on land that was owned by the Swanton Family. I was technically challenged on this tour, and my camera was misbehaving – sorry about that. But this house has such a history, you’ll wanna go and see it yourself. So get this – this house was originally a log cabin! It was built around 1825-ish. Can’t say for sure because the courthouse burned in 1842 (and I think the next couple of courthouses burned too). It started as a 2 room dogtrot cabin. There were a couple of owners ahead of Benjamin Swanton, who bought the house in 1852. It was expanded, clapboard added and made into a Georgian style cottage. Going in you are in a good sized reception hall, with the front parlor on the right. The painting over the fireplace is of Mr. Swanton.
Bejnamin Swanton made his money in the Dahlonega Gold Rush – not as a miner, but by selling supplies to the miners. He also had several different businesses in Decatur, including brick making, tannery, etc.
They call this a 1 1/2 story house and there are 2 bedrooms upstairs. Get this – the Swanton family left and went to Maine during the Civil War, so they had Ms. Johnson stay there. I was like “OK, so?”. Well she had 10 children in here. 10! And they actually captured a Union soldier in the house (then again, 10 kids is like an army, huh??).
Here’s an early Jenny Lind rope bed – and a period appropriate mattress. Now y’all know I love history, but this mattress didn’t look so comfortable. No Temperpedic mattress here!
There’s also what is called a child’s bed – I was glad to find this out, because at first glance I thought it was a huge doll bed, but it just seemed too big for that!
Outside of the house there are a couple of cabins that have been moved here, and I’ll have them in an upcoming post. Here’s a look at the back of the house:
So now you’ve seen some of the oldest house in Decatur! Hope you enjoyed this quick look at the house, and promise I’ll have my camera behaving next time! Thanks so much for reading the blog – I love getting to share these old homes with y’all!