Dot2Dot Inn in Eatonton, Georgia

Dot2Dot Inn, formerly The Haband House, in Eatonton, Georgia

Then and Now Along Georgia's Antebellum Trail

Georgia's Antebellum Trail is full of historic, Southern treasures, one of the most well-known being classic antebellum architecture. Read here about the history of some of the sites and landmarks along the trail, and how they have changed from "Then" to "Now."

The Hay House in Macon, Georgia, during the Felton Era
The Hay House in Macon, Georgia, during the Felton Era

Hay House, Macon

The 18,000-square-foot Italian Renaissance Revival mansion was built by the William Butler Johnston family in 1859. The house was stuccoed red in 1879 when the white trim was removed. The home was later painted in a mauve color in the 1950s by the Parks Lee Hay family, the third family to own the residence.

Present day Hay House in Macon, Georgia
Present day Hay House in Macon, Georgia

Today, the Hay House exterior has largely returned to its original 19th century design. Guided tours take visitors through an hour-long experience of the antebellum mansion. Rooms have been restored to represent all three families to live in the home.

Georgia's Old Governor's Mansion, Milledgeville

Although the inscription above the front door reads "Executive Mansion 1838," construction wasn't completed until 1839. Georgia's Old Governor's Mansion served as the residence for Georgia's chief executives for more than 30 years. The mansion's history encompasses the antebellum, Civil War and early Reconstruction phases of the state's history. Such noted state leaders as George Crawford, Howell Cobb and Joseph E. Brown resided in the building and used it as a stage for speeches and also to introduce guests of national standing.

Old Governor's Mansion in Milledgeville, Georgia, 1880
Old Governor's Mansion in Milledgeville, Georgia, 1880

During the Civil War, the mansion was claimed as a "prize" in the "March to the Sea," when General William T. Sherman headquartered in the building on November 23, 1864. Following the war, Georgia's seat of government was relocated to Atlanta, and the mansion was abandoned.

Present day Old Governor's Mansion in Milledgeville, Georgia
Present day Old Governor's Mansion in Milledgeville, Georgia

Today, it remains looming over Milledgeville with its stately columns and imposing facade, and is one of the finest examples of High Greek Revival architecture in the nation. Given over to Georgia Normal & Industrial College (currently known as Georgia College) in 1889, the mansion served as the founding building of the institution and is the campus's most treasured structure. Georgia's Old Governor’s Mansion was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973 and is an accredited museum of the American Alliance of Museums. In 2015, the mansion was named an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.

The mansion is open for public tours Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and Sunday, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. with tours every hour. The mansion is fully ADA compliant and has an elevator that accesses all three levels of the house. Admission rates: $10 for adults, $7 for pre-booked adult groups, $7 senior citizens (60 years and older), $2 students, and free to children under 6 and all Georgia College faculty, staff and students.

The Haband House, Eatonton

Originally called the Reid-Griffith house, the Haband House was built in 1844 and boasts the title of Eatonton's first white-columned mansion. The original owner and builder of the house was Edmund Reed, who raised the four-over-four home half a story over a brick floored basement and anchored it with massive granite-faced walls. This was uncommon in Putnam County at the time, making the home stand out from the rest. Descendants of Edmund Reid owned the home until the 1890s when it was sold to Eatonton pharmacist Alfred Davis. Mr. Davis eventually sold the home to Dr. E.F. Griffith, a physician, and his wife, Mrs. Leila Turner Griffith, a music teacher, and they retained the house for the next 70 years.

The Haband House in Eatonton, Georgia. Photo courtesy of Downtown Eatonton Mainstreet
The Haband House in Eatonton, Georgia. Photo courtesy of Downtown Eatonton Mainstreet

In the 1980s, the house transitioned from a home into a corporate house used for guests and employees when it was purchased and fully restored after a fire by the Haband Company. Additionally, it was also used as a venue for events sponsored by Eatonton - Putnam County Historical Society, the Eatonton Literary Festival and the Eatonton-Putnam Chamber of Commerce.

Dot2Dot Inn in Eatonton, Georgia, formerly The Haband House
Dot2Dot Inn in Eatonton, Georgia, formerly The Haband House

The Haband House now functions as a bed and breakfast called the Dot2Dot Inn. Owners Karen and Richard Garrett decided to open the Inn as a way to bring people of all nationalities and backgrounds together under one roof. The name "Dot2Dot" symbolizes the possibilities that exist by meeting and connecting with others. The Inn offers three oversized luxury rooms, cozy fireplaces and gourmet breakfasts made by Cordon Bleu chef and owner, Karen Garrett. The Dot2Dot Inn has become a staple in the heart of downtown Eatonton and will surely provide you with a unique and comfortable stay!

Eagle Tavern in Watkinsville, mid-1900s. Photo courtesy of Oconee Historical Society, Facebook
Eagle Tavern in Watkinsville, Georgia, mid-1900s. Photo courtesy of Oconee Historical Society

Eagle Tavern Museum, Watkinsville

The Eagle Tavern Museum formerly served as a 16-room stagecoach stop in Watkinsville for travelers in the mid-1800s. The building, which was built circa 1801, now serves as a house museum in its original Plain-style structure. The picture above shows the Eagle Tavern in the mid-1900s before the building’s restoration.

Eagle Tavern in Watkinsville. Photo courtesy of Eagle Tavern Museum, Facebook
Eagle Tavern in Watkinsville, Georgia. Photo courtesy of Eagle Tavern Museum, Facebook

Today, you can visit the Tavern and stand on its original flooring which is more than 200-years-old!

University of Georgia Arch, Athens

Athens, named after the Greek center of learning, is a fitting name for the home of the birthplace of public higher education in America, the University of Georgia. Town and Gown have grown up together in Athens, and the thriving downtown sits just across Broad Sreet from UGA's historic North Campus, which is modeled after Yale University.

UGA Arch. Photo courtesy Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library at UGA, Athens
UGA Arch. Photo courtesy Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library at UGA, Athens

Step across Broad Sreet through the Arch onto the UGA Campus and you'll step back in time over two centuries, to the oldest buildings in Athens (UGA classes started in 1801, five years before the city of Athens was incorporated). The University of Georgia Arch is the ceremonial entrance to campus and was made around 1857 by ironworkers at the local foundry, which today is the Graduate Athens Hotel and music venue.

At the time, the piece was decidedly functional: the Arch served as a gateway to an iron fence enclosure that was erected to keep wandering livestock off the campus grounds. The Arch is modeled after the Georgia state seal, featuring the three pillars of wisdom, justice and moderation. Two doors connected the three columns, and it was known as “the gate” rather than “the Arch” until the early 20th century.

Present day UGA Arch in Athens, Georgia
Present day UGA Arch in Athens, Georgia

Today, the Arch is one of the most iconic photo spots in Athens. Watch for any length of time, and you'll notice something odd: students going out of their way to walk around the Arch, rather than through it. This novelty is thanks to a superstition dating back to 1905, when Freshman Daniel H. Redfearn was so proud of his school and its symbols that he vowed never to pass underneath the Arch until he had a diploma in hand. After about 125 years of students following Redfearn's example, the steps to either side are far more worn than those in the middle.

Published: July 2019
Written by: Emily Holt