Georgia Must-Sees: Antebellum Architecture

Georgia's surviving antebellum homes tell stories of life before the Civil War.

Eagle Tavern Museum in Watkinsville

The Eagle Tavern Museum has been converted into a historic museum showing what life was like 200-years-ago in Oconee County.

Contrary to popular opinion, plenty of fine examples of antebellum architecture survived General Sherman’s March to the Sea. From plantation homes and farmhouses to taverns and more, the styles are quite diverse with some dating back to the very founding of the colony. 
Here’s a Top 10 list:
  • Hay House, a property of The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, Macon – This 1855 Italian Renaissance Revival masterpiece is expertly preserved by the Georgia Trust. 
    934 Georgia Ave. – Mon.-Sat. 10 4 p.m., Sun. 1 to 4 p.m. – 478-742-8155
  • University of Georgia's Historic North Campus, Athens – With some buildings as old as 1806, the historic portion of the state’s flagship university is a great place for a peaceful stroll. Download your own self-guided tour
    Broad Street and College Avenue
  • Eagle Tavern Museum, Watkinsville – A short drive outside Athens is this late 1700s meeting house and stagecoach stop, now a museum. 
    26 N. Main St. – Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – 706-769-5197
  • Old Governor's Mansion Milledgeville – This grand structure, the living quarters of Georgia’s chief executives from 1839-1868, has benefited from a recent renovation. 
    120 S. Clark St. – Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sun. 2 to 4 p.m. – 478-445-4545
  • Robert Toombs House Historic Site, Washington – Built in 1797, this Greek Revival gem was home to the Confederate Secretary of State. 
    216 E. Robert Toombs Ave. – Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – 706-678-2226
  • The Twelve Oaks Bed & Breakfast, Covington – This gorgeous 1836 home, now a sumptuous B&B, inspired Twelve Oaks Plantation in the movie “Gone With the Wind.” 
    2176 Monticello St. – open as B&B and event rental facility – 770-385-4005
  • Madison Walking Tour – Go to the Madison Welcome Center for a free walking tour guide to the antebellum portions of this charming little town. Don’t miss the grand Heritage Hall on Main Street.
    115 E. Jefferson St. – 706-342-4454
  • Owens-Thomas House, Savannah – The finest example of Regency architecture in the country, this 1816 residence was cutting-edge for its time. 
    124 Abercorn St. – Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun.-Mon. noon to 5 p.m. – 912-790-8889
  • Wormsloe State Historic Site, Savannah – Noble Jones came over from England in 1733 with Georgia founder James Oglethorpe, and his plantation offers some of the state’s most iconic scenes. 
    7601 Skidaway Rd. – Tue.-Sun. 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. – 912-353-3023
  • Tullie Smith House, Atlanta – This humble 1840 farmhouse is the only surviving antebellum structure in Atlanta. It’s now at the Atlanta History Center
    130 W. Paces Ferry Rd. – Mon.-Sat. 11. a.m. to 4 p.m., Sun. 1 to 4 p.m. – 404-814-4000 
Published: November 2014