March 13, 2018


One of the things to love about Atlanta is all the history
and stories it holds within her beautiful landscape.
Today, I thought y'all may enjoy seeing
two pre-civil war homes that are still standing
and have been lovingly restored.
These historic homes absolutely fascinate me
and I love exploring every garden, nook and cranny.

This home is known as Barrington Hall. 
It is a Greek Revival design, built in 1839 by Architect Willis Ball.
 Many homes built in the south prior to the Civil War were Greek Revival 
and after the war, home designs changed to Antebellum. 
Barrington Hall sits on seven acres of land in Roswell, Georgia.
This view was taken standing in the very front entry of the home.

In 1842, the house was finally completed
and the owner Barrington King moved in with his wife, Catherine.
The Kings had nine children, eight sons and one daughter.
Barrington King died in 1866.

The Kings only daughter, Eva, moved back to the home with her husband,
Rev. William Baker in 1883, to care for her mother, Catherine.

The Baker family lived at Barrington Hall until Eva’s death in 1923.
 William Baker had died several years before in 1906.
 After Eva’s death, the house and property was left to Evelyn Simpson, 
Eva Baker’s favorite granddaughter, and Eva’s seven children.

 The other heirs wanted to sell the house, but Evelyn was determined to keep it in the family.
 With the help of her mother Kate Baker Simpson and other family members, 
Evelyn raised enough money to purchase the house from the other Baker siblings.
 With limited money and the help of her sister Katharine,
 Evelyn Simpson preserved Barrington Hall until her death in 1960.

We were waiting for our tour to begin and were ushered
into the front parlor, which was an interactive room,
where you were allowed to touch and play a bit!

I thought their accessories in this room were so very interesting!

It was very unusual to have the master bedroom
right off the front parlor. 
There was much history in this room.
Two photos were placed on either side of the bed,
one which you can see from this photo on the right
and were of the two sons which were killed during 
the Civil War.
Both photos were draped with black ribbons.

Notice, the green rocking chair at the foot
of the bed.
Both Barrington King and a baby granddaughter
died in this rocker.

Upon Evelyn’s death, her sister Katharine Simpson
 became the owner of Barrington Hall. 
She left her teaching job in Atlanta and 
moved to Barrington Hall to manage it on a full-time basis. 

In 1970 Katharine met a woman named Lois Carson; 
they became good friends and Katharine adopted her,
 so that she would inherit Barrington Hall after Katharine’s death. 
Katharine died in 1995, just before her 100th birthday.
 Lois Carson continued to live at Barrington Hall until her death in 2003.
 Before Carson died, she entrusted Barrington Hall to her friend Sarah Winner.

The new owner, Sarah Winner, spent two years restoring the property. 
She had all of the original furnishings and paintings restored. 
Craftsmen also painstakingly restored the horse-hair plaster walls, 
ceilings, heart-of-pine floors, and moldings.
 Her efforts won the 
Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s Outstanding Restoration Award.
In 2005 she sold the property to the City of Roswell, 
with legal agreements designed to ensure the home 
would be permanently protected 
and open to the public for historic, educational, and cultural purposes.

I found it so interesting, that the person who ended up loving and
caring for this home's preservation was not a family member.
None of the sons wanted to move back or care for the home
their father built.

This home, known as Smith Plantation, was built in 1845. 
The home was built by one of Roswell's founders, Archibald Smith,
 and housed three generations of his family. 
The home was restored by the third generation,
 Arthur and Mary Smith, in 1940. 

The original home prior to the remodel ordered 
by Arthur Smith.

Archibald and Anne raised four children in their Roswell home: Elizabeth, William, Helen, and Archibald Jr. Both of their sons fought in the Confederate Army, and Willie, the eldest, enlisted with the Signal Corps at the outbreak of the war.

 The family’s letters from the Civil War period were collected into a book in 1988, by Dr. Lister Skinner and Arthur Skinner, entitled "The Death of a Confederate." Willie’s life was lost to disease not a month after the Confederate surrender. The war also had tragic consequences for the mill town of Roswell. Although the homes were not destroyed, Sherman’s Army occupied the town. The Smiths along with the other founding families fled to other points in Georgia, not to return until after the war.

The Smiths also hired a cook, Mamie Cotton who spent 54 years of her life working for the Smith family. Mamie also raised two of her grandchildren in this home. After Arthur’s death in 1960, Mamie Cotton moved into the Smith’s home to take care of an ailing Mary, who became ill in her last years. Mary died on New Year’s Day 1981, and the Smith estate was entrusted to Josephine Skinner, niece of Mary Norvell Smith. 

 When the Smith property was sold to the city of Roswell in 1985, one of the stipulations of the sale was that Mamie Cotton be allowed to live the rest of her life in the house.  Mamie passed away in 1994. 

The Smith Plantation grounds also include
a guest house, slave quarters, cookhouse, carriage house, barn,
spring house and water well. 
There are 300 acres which originally
were all planted with cotton. 

The slave quarters

In 1985 the Skinner family sold the house and grounds 
to the City of Roswell in order for the home to become a house museum. 
The City also used the Smith property to construct a new municipal complex.


  1. I love historic houses. Thanks for sharing these photos and the stories of the homes and families who lived in them!

  2. Thank you Betsy for this wonderful post. I love history. Those beautiful old homes being restored and allowing tours is the best thing that could possibly happen to them. It helps keep the history going. You and your daughter are gorgeous. :) Blessings, xoxo, Susie

  3. Betsy - This post is so interesting. Thank you for the history lesson. I love seeing old homes restored to their original state. And that hat of yours - you're looking quite sassy! Love it!

  4. Historic homes are fascinating! It is wonderful that these beautiful antebellum homes have been preserved. The interactive room in the first home is such a cool idea.

  5. This is a great blog post! I love visiting historic homes!

  6. Enjoyed the tour! Like the idea of an interactive room. I wish that would catch on to historic homes I've toured.

  7. Betsy... I just sent your link to my daughter who lives in Atlanta with a note saying "this is where I want to go on my next visit." She usually takes me to Target!! Have a great week!!

    1. You will so enjoy this trilogy tour Katie...we still have one more house to tour which we will do on our next was marvelous!

  8. So glad you were able to enjoy our little corner of the world. Have you had a chance to visit Bulloch Hall? My husband and I were married in 1986 and had our reception there. So beautiful, and filled with history. Such a pretty place.

    1. Bulloch Hall is on our list for the next visit Mechelle. We adore Atlanta and the surrounding areas...I loved that you shared this today...I am sure your wedding reception was just gorgeous!


I so love receiving your thoughts and comments. I also hope you found something that made you smile.