The Oldest Mansion in Georgia is More Than 100 Years Old and Just as Beautiful as the Day It Was Made
The Old Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville is one of the most interesting sites in Georgia. The state is full of history and culture. From 1839 to 1868, eight governors lived in this beautiful building. It was there during some of the most difficult times in Georgia’s history, like the Civil War and Reconstruction. The house is now a museum and a National Historic Landmark. It shows how beautiful and well-built Greek Revival architecture can be.
The Building of the Mansion
It was built in 1839 based on plans made by Charles B. Cluskey, an Irish architect who was one of the most famous builders in the South before the Civil War. Cluskey was hired by the Georgia senate, which decided in 1835 to build the governor’s first official home. The house was in Milledgeville, which from 1807 to 1868 was the state capital.
It took $60,000 to build the mansion, which was a lot of money back then. The brick and stucco house had a portico with six Ionic columns, a central dome, and a floor plan that was the same on both sides. There was a grand staircase, a dining room, a drawing room, a library, and a ballroom in the house, which had 30 rooms.
It was also unusual for a house in the 1800s to have an advanced plumbing system inside. The house had expensive and fancy furniture inside, like mahogany furniture, marble mantels, crystal chandeliers, and silk curtains. The mansion had a formal garden, a carriage house, and slave rooms around the outside.
Governors who lived there
Eight governors and their families lived in the Old Governor’s Mansion from 1839 to 1868. George R. Gilmer, who was governor from 1839 to 1841, was the first person to live there. George W. Crawford, George W. Towns, Howell Cobb, Herschel V. Johnson, Joseph E. Brown, and Thomas H. Ruger came after him.
Depending on their tastes and needs, each governor added to or changed parts of the house that were already there. Like, Governor Cobb added gas lights and wallpaper, Governor Brown added a fence and a fountain, and Governor Crawford added a library and a greenhouse. A lot of important people, like President James K. Polk, General Robert E. Lee, and General William T. Sherman, stayed at the governors’ house.
The important historical events that happened there
During the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Old Governor’s Mansion was the site of some of the most important events in Georgia’s history. People argued about politics, got together with friends, and planned military operations in the house. The war also put the house at risk and caused damage. General Sherman took over Milledgeville in 1864 and stayed in the house for two days.
He kept the house from on fire, but he stole from it and damaged some of its things. Another thing he did was hold a fake legislative session in the mansion. He and his officers claimed to undo Georgia’s decision to leave the Union. After the war, the house was the office of Thomas H. Ruger, who was the federal military governor of Georgia and was in charge of rebuilding the state. Since 1868, when the state capital moved to Atlanta, he was the last governor to live in the house.
Taking care of and restoring the mansion
The Old Governor’s Mansion was sold to Georgia Military College after the state capital was moved to Atlanta. The college used it as a dorm, a classroom, and an office building. The college took care of the mansion and its grounds and stopped any big repairs or demolitions. The house was named a National Historic Landmark in 1967, and it became a museum for the public in 1973.
The museum has exhibits and events that tell the story of the mansion and its residents, as well as the original furniture and artifacts that lived there. From 2001 to 2004, the museum also did a big restoration project that brought the mansion back to how it looked and worked when it was first built. The repair project won a lot of awards for how well it was done and how accurate it was.
Milledgeville’s Old Governor’s Mansion is more than 100 years old and still looks beautiful. It shows off the Greek Revival style of architecture and tells a story about Georgia’s past and culture. It also shows what the leaders who lived there did and how their lives changed and how hard things were for them. The house is a treasure that has been kept safe and fixed up so that everyone can enjoy it and learn from it. Anyone who likes history and beauty should go see it.