May 27, 2015


The Divine Miss M and I have been wanting to visit Madison, Georgia for a few years now. This last visit was the perfect time to drive about one and a half hours from Atlanta and tour this historic southern town one Sunday afternoon.

Madison has a large share of antebellum homes that were spared from burning during the Civil War. Many businesses were destroyed during Sherman's army march, but he agreed to keep these beautiful homes in tact. This was mainly due to the fact that Georgia Senator, Joshua Hill, who was known as a Unionist and made a "gentleman's agreement" with General Sherman. The Union army marched through the town of Madison, after burning all of Atlanta in November, 1864.

The Welcome Center did not open until 1:30 PM, so we toured the historic downtown on our own.

We decided to eat lunch before spending the afternoon touring homes and the walking tour.
We selected Perk Avenue Cafe and Coffee House.
The food was fresh, delicious and it appeared to be a local favorite! 

I want to mention that the parking is free even though most all parking spaces state 2 hour parking.
This is only for local residents during weekdays.
We began our tour at the Welcome center.
This building served as the City Hall and Fire Station until the mid-1930's.
It also features the original fire bell up in the cupola. 

This is the Madison county courthouse. It is an outstanding example of Beaux Arts design. 
It is listed on the National Register of Historic places and was renovated in 2005. 

A large portion of Madison's homes were completed between 1830 and 1860.
Madison was known as 
"the most cultured and aristocratic town on the stagecoach
route from Charleston to New Orleans."

Cotton was king!

Madison hosts a Spring Tour of Homes, the Holiday Tour of Homes,
the Cotton Gin Festival, a Taste of Madison and the Firefly Festival.

We missed the Spring Tour by a few weeks, so if you visit Madison, there are only three homes open to the public for either a self-guided tour, or you will be with a tour guide to offer history facts as you walk through the home.

We began our tour at Rogers House and Rose Cottage.

The Rogers House was considered to be "middle-class." 
The home was completed in 1810.
The house is a fine example of Piedmont Plain-style architecture
 seen throughout the rural Southern United States.
 Designed as a two-over-two style, the back shed portion most likely was added around 1820 when census records showed that 18 people lived in the house. 

The house pre-dates the Morgan County Courthouse by almost 100 years. 
It has been restored using photographs and records from the 
City of Madison archives and looks as it probably appeared in 1873. 

Over the years, the house has had 17 owners.
 Furnishings are representative of the mid-19th century.

We competed our tour of Rogers House, and walked next door to Rose Cottage.

This is a little four room cottage that was built and owned by former slave,
Adeline Rose in 1891
There are some amazing original photographs of Rose and her son.
The story goes she was left by her husband after having two children.
The man who built the cottage, then  moved in with her. 

Little is known of her before October 1891 when she earned her living by taking in 
washing and ironing at 50 cents a load. 
Most of her early work was done for the boarders of the Hardy House, 
which was owned by the mother of the famous comedian Oliver Hardy. 

Adeline Rose died in 1959 after living in the house for 68 years. 
In 1966, the City of Madison moved the Rose Cottage to its present location.
 It was felt that it was very important to save this little house built out of the labor of love of a woman who was born into slavery.

This was an interesting fact...
there are some hand made quilts in her little cottage.
Across, the quilt on her bed, she stitched fabric letters saying
"Jesus Saved" and one "S" is backwards,
showing the "imperfection" of our lives. 

The third home tour was the grandest of all!
This home is stunning!

Heritage Hall was built by Dr. Elijah E. Jones,
who served as a physician during the Civil War
for the Confederate army. 
It is Greek Revival architecture
built in 1811.

Now, listen.....when I tour historic homes
I want to know EVERYTHING about the home....everything!
I have a million questions.

We rang the doorbell and waited to be ushered inside.
We were somewhat surprised when a 
sixteen year old boy opened the door.

I suppose we both expected a woman who perhaps was a member of the
 DAR or Junior Auxiliary to conduct the tour. 
An enthusiastic senior who knows her history and her antiques! 

I would recommend to 
The Morgan County Historical Society
change the tour guide! 

I felt like I was the grandmother teaching this kid his Civil War History! 

Nonetheless, the house and the furnishings were just fascinating! 

The home, also known as the Jones-Turnell-Manley House, 
was constructed 200 feet from its current location and moved in 1909 
when the owner at the time, Mr. Stephen Turnell, 
sold a portion of the home's acreage for the construction of a new Methodist church. 
The entire home was lifted, placed on logs, and 
pulled by horses and mules to its current site. 
In 1923, Mr. Turnell transformed the home into Traveler's Inn.

Heritage Hall  was a private residence until 1977. 
The last private owner was Mrs. Sue Reid Walton Manley,
 known as "Madison's First Lady"
 for her gracious financial support of churches, education, 
the city, and numerous weddings, receptions, and parties hosted at the home...

Now, I know this magnificent doorway led to the home's kitchen, 
but you were not allowed to see this room.
 I would assume it looks like a kitchen from the 1970's and 
does not reflect the period of time.
 I certainly would have loved to see it however!

This is an original photograph of the first family. 
See the table......

This is the table in the photograph. 

I asked the tour guide if he knew what this little tool was....he had no idea....
Honey Child, this is a button hook....
children would hook together the little buttons on their shoes with this, 
rather than laces....
my mother wore shoes like this as a little girl. 
Now, you know.......
Oy Vey! 

This room is referred to as The Ghost Room.
A woman died after giving birth in this room...
in that very bed and the baby died two days later.
In the marble of the fireplace, people have seen a 
ghostly image of a woman's form  holding a baby.

The potty chair....
Luke found this fascinating. 

We loved the tour and it left us wanting more....
Come back to visit for our self-guided walking tour! 


  1. I love old houses! All three of these seem interesting and worth a tour! Lucky you!


    1. It is a lovely little southern town Deanna! Glad you enjoyed the tour part one!

  2. I enjoyed this tour of this pretty town and it's beautiful homes. Such an interesting history. Have a great day!

    1. I am very happy you enjoyed the tour Pamela....it has such an interesting old South history! I so appreciate your visit today!

  3. Wonderful tour! Why would they have had a sixteen-year-old guide? Guess you taught him some things! I am struck by how much I love classic white moldings seeing that last home.

    1. There are some stunning historic homes here Vee. The moldings are incredible, I so agree. Hope you enjoyed the tour....more to come!

  4. I would like to tour this town and these homes. Thanks for giving us the tour.


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