Come Join Us for a Walking Tour
We begin our tour at the Johnson County Courthouse, located on the public square in the center of downtown Wrightsville, Georgia. The historic courthouse was the first Georgia courthouse to be designed by James W. Golucke, who eventually designed twenty-five others in the state. The Romanesque Revival/Colonial Revival style courthouse with a four entrance cross-plan floor layout was constructed in 1895, remodeled in 1938, and rehabilitated for its 100th anniversary in 1996. In1938 the original central clock tower was removed and replaced with a shorter Colonial Revival version. In the 1970s, when the county government proposed demolition of the landmark public building with on-site new construction, citizens opposed the plan and the courthouse was spared. In the 1990s, citizens vehemently opposed a plan by county government to vacate the historic courthouse. Instead it underwent rehabilitation, which was completed in 1996, using $1 million in SPLOST funds. "Activity generated by the courthouse in its central location contributes to the stability of the downtown business district and promotes an awareness and appreciation of local historic resources" (from Preserving Georgia's Historic Courthouses.) The courthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. The photo below shows the west side of the square as seen from North Marcus Street (Hwy 15.) The focal point of the landscape plan is the new, enlarged plaza composed of hexagonal pavers. Traditional benches have been placed on the plaza, which is flanked by historic-styled lampposts. The project was carried out in connection with Phase I of the Transportation Enhancement Grant, which was completed in 2004.
The Death of a House
by Roy Chalker, Sr.
Have you ever watched a house die?
Sometimes they die tragically and suddenly by fire or at the hands of a wrecker's bar.
Occasionally, they are taken down lovingly as if to ease their going. Relics and mementos are saved-the mantle, the entrance door, some beloved paneling or decorative material-as if to hold on a little longer.
Have you noticed, within yourself and others, there is a quiet sadness as a house dies-however it dies.
If the house is an old friend, neighbor or part of the family, its passing is the more traumatic. There is a walking-through or by; a nostalgic touching of the remembered parts. Perhaps you are reluctant to admit there may also be tears.
All houses have a personality. Many have character. Some almost have souls.
Have you ever gone back to one you once knew well? Have you caressed it with your eyes? Have you had chill bums from its memories? Have you run your hands around the mantle or felt the once familiar brick of the hearth?
Then, there are the strange ones; the austere old places, on some country road, that have been abandoned by those they once sheltered and loved-their walls and tops turned gray. You pass them seldom and watch their slow decay. Their backs bend low, and then they fall and break a hip or lose a once-proud entranceway. Their vines and shade trees seek all the more to cling closely as if to shelter and shield their final days. Soon, you find them fallen and heaped in death's debris. And, you wonder where their mourners are.
A house that's been a home and whose roof has protected from wind and rain through generations, and whose walls have reverberated with tears and laughter, with happy sounds and hurting sounds, and which has sheltered old age and death as well, it's passing is not a small thing. It is deserving of mourning and memories and misty eyes.
The death of a house is a sad thing.
Fortunately for us, the buildings on this page have been spared the fate of being razed to make way for commercial development or death by fire or the wrecker's bar. Some of the existing homes are well cared for...some have fallen into disrepair. This "Walking Tour" of Wrightsville, Georgia's historic buildings is an attempt to highlight all.
Traveling towards Tennille, GA on Hwy 15 North (North Marcus Street) we see the First Christian Church, a fine example of Gothic Revival Architecture. The church was established in 1881 by Elder T.M. Harris and was built in 1884. It was a wooden building and was used until 1903, when a brick church was built. In 1938 it was completely destroyed by fire and replaced with the current building. The church sanctuary has lancet (pointed arch) windows, arched doors, a main lancet window with tracery over the entrance, decorative buttresses on side facades, and a multi-stage steeple with balustrade around lancet windows with contrasting keystones.
Next door to the First Christian Church is a lovely old Folk Victorian home known as the Anthony Home. It was built in the early 1900's and was first a residence, then an apartment house, and more recently has become a retirement home, The Potter's House. The gables have pediments with louvered vents and the house has a pierced hipped roof, decorative millwork and turned porch spindles.
Next door to the Anthony House is the Shurling/Veal Home. It's address is 314 North Marcus Street and its design was influenced by the Craftsman Style. It has a dual pitched hipped roof with brick porch piers and was built about 1920 for the William McWhorter Shurling family. Dick (Dickey) Stribling Shurling and Francis Fielder Shurling grew up in that house. The family lived next door in the McWhorter home while the house was being built.
The McWhorter/Outler Home is located next door to the Shurling/Veal Home. It is said to be the oldest home in Wrightsville and was partially destroyed by fire about the year 2000. Its style is Folk Victorian. The house has jig sawn saw tooth eaves and brackets atop porch posts, sidelights and a transom at the central entrance.
Directly past the McWhorter Home is the Queen Anne Victorian Kent/Outler Home at 404 North Marcus Street. It was built in November of 1890 by R.L. Kent, President of the Bank of Wrightsville and constructed by W.C. Chester, Sr. The home has a hexagonal tower with stained glass windows and stained glass in the gable end. There is pierced ornamentation at the gable end and on the porch. The home was restored in the 1980s by Reverend and Mrs. Ernest Veal.
Moving up the street at 408 North Marcus Street is the Brinson Home. It is described as a Craftsman bungalow with half-timbered gable ends, a Porte cochere (forerunner of a carport), and brick porch piers. It is said that the house was foreclosed on during the depression and that is when it was purchased by Chan Brinson.
Just down from the Brinson House is the Dent/Smith Home at 412 North Marcus Street. It was built by a Dr. Dent and purchased and remodeled in 1959 by Linton Smith. Its style is described as Folk Victorian with a central dormer and porch supported by square brick columns on piers.
Next to the Dent/Smith Home is the U.R. (Ryas) Jenkins Home. Ryas Jenkins was a former Johnson County Ordinary. The house is Folk Victorian in style with turned porch posts and spindled fretwork.
Across the street is the Sanders/Jackson Home. This Folk Victorian home with hipped roof, projecting gables and turned porch posts with decorative brackets, was built for Mr. E.E. Sanders. Mr. Sanders was a former owner/operator of the Chevrolet dealership in Wrightsville. The house was later home to Mr. Sanders' daughter, Mr. & Mrs. J.W. Claxton and family. The address is 513 North Marcus Street.
Heading back towards town the next home is known as the old Bud Smith Home at 507 North Marcus Street. The Folk Victorian home has a Craftsman bungalow porch supported by square brick columns on piers (some piers are without columns.) In addition it has a porte cochere. Bud Smith was father to Linton Smith, who lived across the street.
The next home down the street is the Darrisaw Home at 405 North Marcus Street. Its style is Folk Victorian with Queen Anne Victorian decorative wood-shingled gable ends, a bungalow porch (added), with paired posts on brick piers.
Dr. Baynes Home (photo and information coming soon.)
On the corner is the Bray/Colston Home. Dr. Bray practiced medicine in Wrightsville for many years and operated the Bray Hospital in Wrightsville. The home was purchased by Alvin Colston, a former Chevrolet dealer here, for his family. It is an English Cottage style with chimney pots, a round arched entrance, bracketed eaves, and grouped vertical windows. The home is currently for sale.
Across the side street heading toward town is the old Rhoades home place at 315 North Marcus Street. It is Folk Victorian in style with stick style decorative trusses at the gable ends and Eastlake style pierced millwork and brackets. Deeds say that the home was "formerly owned by Leila Daley and also a tenant house in the rear." Rhoades relatives own the house to this day.
Next door at 311 North Marcus Street is the Claxton/Burley Home. It was built in the 1930's by C.S. Claxton for his family and remains in the family to this day. Its style is Craftsman bungalow with sloping porch posts on piers. The interior has parquet floors and the stone used in the fireplaces and porches was brought to Wrightsville from North Georgia.
Next door is the Jackson//Burley Home at 307 North Marcus. This Queen Anne Victorian home is in danger of being demolished to make way for a fast food chain. It was built in 1896 for M.F. (Moat Jackson) and has a two story porch with turned spindles, fretwork ornamentation, and decorative turned porch posts. The home belonged to the Canaday family for many years.
Going west from the courthouse on West Elm Street (Hwy. 319) is the Bryan Home, which once served as the sanctuary of the Methodist Church and later its parsonage. It was built in 1880 in the Folk Victorian style with a Craftsman influenced porch with square brick supports, multi panel door with small lights across the top. The parsonage was the retirement residence of Rev. R.B. Bryan, Sr., the first president of Warthen College and pastor of the Wrightsville Methodist Church from 1888-1890. The home has remained in the Bryan family ever since.
Up the street just past the BellSouth Building is the Johnson//Bolden Home at 310 West Elm Street. Its design is Folk Victorian with exposed gable end, pierced fretwork, decorative gable end, dormer and turned porch posts. Former residents of this home include the Dr. Johnson family, the Oswald Thompkins family, the Gannon family, the George W. East family, and Mr. & Mrs. John Clements.
Two doors up at 314 West Elm Street is a Queen Anne Victorian Cottage: the Johnson/Wilkes/Wright Home. It has a main hipped roof, irregular massing, multiple gables, and gable end applied ornamentation of triangular design. Its posts have decorative brackets. Rev. and Mrs. Charles Moore were the first to live in the home and later their daughter, Mary Moore Johnson and family made their home there.
Two doors up is the Hatcher/Brinson with the address of 318 West Elm Street. It is an English Cottage style home with a prominent brick exterior chimney at the front of a projecting gable. The brickwork on the chimney front has decorative brick design work including a blind arch. The home was built for Judge A.L. Hatcher's daughter, Pauline Hatcher Lovett.
Next door, the Folk Victorian Hatcher/Norris Home at 320 West Elm Street, was a single story home built in the early 1900's and converted to a two story home a few years later by Judge A.L. Hatcher, Sr. After his death, his daughter, FloRene and her husband, James E. Boswell, lived there with their family. One of the earliest occupants was the D.B. Maddox family. The Herbert Hicks family resided there for many years until 1985. The home has Neoclassical ornamentation and its paired gable ends have decorative wood shingles and Palladian windows. The gazebo-type conical roofed porch ends have finials. The porch is supported by Ionic columns and the entrance has a transom and sidelights.
Across the street is the Queen Anne Victorian Daley/Stephenson Home. It was built around 1893 by Judge A.F. Daley, Sr. for his family and the C.H. Moore Family lived there for many years. Later the Fluker Tarbutton family lived there and the home is still in the family. The gable end has a multi-pane rectangular window with quarter round circle windows, decorative wood shingles, and elaborate fretwork ornaments at the top. There are decorative brackets beneath the small projecting gable. The porch, supported by a brick foundation and classical columns, curves around both sides of the building. Timber used in the construction of this home was cut from the property.
The Daley/Tyson Home with a gable end dormer is located just across Lee Street at 331 West Elm Street. Mr. Elmer Daley, President of the Exchange Bank of Wrightsville, had this Craftsman bungalow built for his family, and his grandson now owns the home.
Hollis Home (photo and information coming soon.)
Next to the Hollis Home is the Thompson/Thomas Home at 321 West Elm Street. The house was built for the Thompson family in the English Cottage style and was completely remodeled and enlarged in the 1990's for the Thomas Family . Its facade shows an elaborate round, arched, gabled entry roof with returns, an elaborate entry porch with elliptical transom, English cottage wood/multi-light paneled door and sidelights, and classical columns. The projecting gable has returns and an oculus window. The elongated arched window with an upper window sash has three vertical lights and three horizontal rectangular lights. The house also has a porte cochere.
Next door heading toward the downtown is a Craftsman Bungalow style home at 307 West Elm Street: the Sinquefield/Dominy home. It has paired posts on battered piers and served as home to the E.A. Dominy Family for many years.
Continuing down the street is the Cook/McCary Home at 305 West Elm Street. It is an English Cottage style home having a hipped dormer with paired diamond pane windows. The gable end has returns and there are decorative chimney pots atop the brick chimneys. The porch is a later brick Craftsman type porch with squared pillars joined by curved support walls. It was the home of the J. Monroe Cook family for many years and before that was owned by a Pounds family. It is in the process of being remodeled by the McCarys.
Next door to the McCary home is the Dunlap/Milligan Home at 303 West Elm Street. The original building was Folk Victorian in style and has a louvered and pedimented gable end vent, jig sawn pierced brackets at the porch posts and turned porch balusters. Former residents include the Earl McDaris Family, Melrose Jordan, and the Greg Jordan Family.
Take a jog heading toward town and turn left on Carolina Avenue. On the left you will see the Hicks/Rowland Home at 105 Carolina Avenue. It is Folk Victorian in style, without ornamentation. The entrance features sidelights and a transom and its gable ends are steeply pitched. The entrance porch is in the Craftsman bungalow style, with a squared post on brick pier and may have been added later.
The next street on the walking tour (West College Street) is one block south of West Elm Street right behind the library. It was named College Street for the former Nannie Lou Warthen Institute that was located there. There are many older homes on this peaceful, quiet street that may qualify as historic-we will show a few. The first is the Daley/Skinner Home at 301 West College Street. It was built for Mr. Pat Hicks and his family with materials left over from the Daley/Stephenson Home. The wood was cut on the property behind the Daley/Stephenson home for use in the construction of this Georgian Cottage style home. It has a hipped roof, a Craftsman porch with battered supports, and a transom over the entry door. Mr.& Mrs. Daley purchased it on November 1, 1920, from Mr. Rob Bryan. The house will soon be for sale.
The next house heading West is the Brantley/Decell Home at 303 West College Street. The home was built in 1937 for Dr. J.G. Brantley and his family and stood idle for many years after his death. The house has had only two owners. The Decells remodeled it in 1988.
Heading towards town on West College Street, the first intersection is South Myrtle Street. On the corner is the Butterly/Waters home at 202 South Myrtle, which was built circa 1899. The original owner was J.J. Butterly and it was later sold to C.D. Roundtree, an editor of the Wrightsville Headlight. Later it was sold to Roy Jordan then to Chap McMichael, who rehabilitated it inside and out: 1998-2001.The home is typically Victorian in style with a delightful porch featuring a gazebo-like roof. The entry has sidelights and a transom, and there are brackets atop the porch posts.
Walking down the street away from town, the next historic home on the west side of the street is the Flanders/Parker home located at 302 South Myrtle. It is Folk Victorian in style having a pyramidal roof and classical columns. A previous owner was the father of Dr. Flint Flanders.
On down the street is the Hall/Gresham Home at 310 South Myrtle Street. Its style is Folk Victorian with turned porch posts, brackets, sawtooth fretwork, sidelights and transom door with surrounds. Mr. Slim Hall and his family lived here for many years.
Next door going South is the W.C. Chester Home. The Folk Victorian structure with later Craftsman brick porch supports, appears to have an Eastlake Victorian door (applied ornamentation), sidelights and transom.
Next door is the Queen Anne Victorian Burns/Blount House at 320 South Myrtle Street. It has a shed porch with turned balusters and there is a Palladian window in the gable end. Former residents include Gaynor Burns, Wick Dent and G.P. Lovett and his wife, Dolly. It was purchased in the 1930s by Buford "Slim" Blount and his wife, Golos.
Next door is the Hall/Hoover Home at 324 South Myrtle Street. It is Folk Victorian in style with Queen Anne decorative wood shingles on paired gable ends and turned posts and spindle fretwork ornament on the porch. Its entrance has a transom and sidelight door surrounds. It was constructed for Jim Hall (the other partner in Hall Brothers Dry Goods Store) by W.C. Chester.
On down the street on the curve at 108 Georgia Avenue is the Hitchcock/Martin Home. It is Folk Victorian in style having a louvered vent with returns within the gable end. The battered posts on brick piers supporting the porch are later Craftsman in style.
Heading back towards town at 405 South Myrtle Street is the old Prescott Home. It is Folk Victorian with single gable pierces, a later metal roof, and Craftsman porch posts (battered on brick piers). The home was built for the George L. Prescott family and later owned by Mr. & Mrs. Roy Frost and Mrs. Wade Colson.
On up the street is the Folk Victorian Renfroe/Prince home on the corner of South Myrtle and East Deer Streets. A Mr. Renfroe, who was postmaster, lived there and later it became the home of the Bo Blount Family. The house has been added on to numerous times and has a steep gable roof with a projecting central gable. It has wood siding, an interior chimney, turned porch posts and balusters, and replacement French doors.
Continue on up South Myrtle Street and you will come to the Folk Victorian Blount/Parker Home at 213 South Myrtle Street. The home has a hipped roof with paired gables, spindle fretwork, turned porch posts and balusters. Formerly it was the home of Judge Blount and later his widow rented out rooms.
At the corner of South Myrtle and West College Streets turn right and then right again onto South Marcus Street. The Queen Anne Victorian Lovett/Roberson Home is on the east side of the street at 201 South Marcus. It was built in 1904 for the E.A. Lovett Family and has decorative wood shingles and stained glass in the gable ends, jigsawn millwork, gazebo-like projection with conical roof, classical Ionic column supports and a balustrade railing. Lena Parker Lovett lived here many years after her husband's death. From 1994-96 the home was used to house courthouse offices when the courthouse was rehabilitated. It has been a restaurant and is now a residence.
Next door at 307 South Marcus Street is the Spanish Eclectic Johnson/Jones Home. It has a cross gabled tile roof with finials at the ridge ends, round arched entry porch hood on slender columns, vertical lights over single pane sash in tripartite windows and a porte cochere at the right end. Another feature is its exposed rafter ends (or tails). The home was built for Lila Lovett Johnson and her husband, Herbert Johnson, a banker with the Bank of Wrightsville.
Next door at 309 South Marcus Street is the Queen Anne Victorian John Duff House. It has decorative wood shingles, jigsawn millwork with a dormer window piercing the hipped roof. There are conical roofed porch ends with finials and stained glass gable end dormer windows. The original porch columns have been replaced with metal posts. The house was sold by the Duffs to Jacob Kaplan, a local business owner. The building now houses Stanley Funeral Home.
Going now to the intersection of North Myrtle and West Court Streets we go west on Court. The first historic home on the right is the Gay/Whatley Home at 212 West Court Street. It was built in the mid-1800s in the Folk Victorian Style by the great-grandparents of Lucy Gay McCrary Chamlee. It has bracketed porch posts, turned balusters, a transom with sidelights and a decorative concrete block wall. The house stayed in the McCrary/Chamlee family through five generations and was sold in 1991.
Just down the street on the right at 316 West Court Street is the Hayes/Mixon/Odom Home. Its style is Folk Victorian with elaborate Queen Anne ornamentation, including entrance sidelights, wood shingles, sawtooth trim, turned posts with brackets, and balusters. One of the earliest remembered families to live in this lovely home was the Elmo Hayes Family. Mr. Hayes owned a dry goods store in downtown Wrightsville. Miss Pansy Mixon purchased the home from Mr. Hayes and it has remained in the Mixon Family ever since.
At 410 West Court Street we see the Ledford/Hobby home. It is a Craftsman bungalow with gable returns, paired windows in the gable, a transom and tri-part porch supports. The horizontal lights in the gable are not original. W.D. Crawford, the soil conservationist, lived here in the 1930s. His daughter, Eunice Ledford, inherited the home.
The Wrightsville Online Walking Tour is an on-going project of Wrightsville's Better Hometown Program. Homes are added weekly. Special thanks to Robin Nail, Senior Planner/Historic Preservation, Heart of Georgia Altamaha Regional Development Center, whose patience and diligence in describing the architectural details of the homes, made this Online tour possible; and to local citizens Joe W. Rowland, June Daley, Margery M. Hutcheson, and Wesley Chester, whose knowledge of Wrightsville's historic homes and their owners has helped us make this tour more interesting. Thanks also to Suzana Rowland of Clickfire.com, whose expertise continues to guide us.