Milledgeville is known for its immense history as the Georgia State Capital from 1808 to 1868, during the Civil War. The town was modeled after Savannah, Georgia and Washington D.C., and is one of few towns to be laid out especially to be a capital. After the capital moved to Atlanta, Milledgeville was known for its college for women, Georgia State College for Women, and very famously Central State Hospital. Take a look back into the history of Milledgeville and the buildings that still stand today.
Lockerly Arboretum / Rose Hill
Lockerly Arboretum is a beautiful site to see in Milledgeville. This attraction has a gorgeous mansion named Rose Hill after the Cherokee Roses that grew on the land and several acres of nature trails. It was originally built by Richard J. Nichols, a merchant and prominent citizen of Milledgeville in 1839. Today, you can tour the mansion and the 50 acres of gardens.
Constructed in 1896, Atkinson Hall, once part of Georgia Normal & Industrial College and now part of Georgia College, is one of the oldest buildings on campus. It was saved from destruction in 1977 to 1978 by alumni and community members, and restored. Now serving as the location for business and computer classes at Georgia College, Atkinson has seen a lot of students over the years, and this front porch continues to be the perfect place for young minds to relax.
Before being known as Front Campus for Georgia College, this spot was called “Penitentiary Square” and was the site of the Georgia State Penitentiary from 1818 to 1879. This campus was 22 acres and it burned down in 1864. The first picture shows an illustration of the fire that appeared in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. In 1889, this location officially became the site for the Georgia Normal & Industrial College, later known as the Georgia State College for Women.
With Milledgeville’s rich history and so many historic buildings, we often forget about the downtown history and every day life. The original photo on the left is looking down Hancock St., Milledgeville’s main downtown street, in 1935 by Walker Evans. There are several similar pictures of Mr. Evans’ time in Milledgeville. Now, in this same location downtown is alive with several local shops like SweeTreats, French Vill’Edge and Blackbird Coffee.
Elm City Park/ Georgia College Dorms
This historic location was a huge mystery for the people of Milledgeville, until a local community member uncovered the location from his own memories. “One of the forgotten places in Milledgeville is the old Elm City Park, so named by the Elm City Garden Club, an entity that was active in the city in the late 19th century,” he said. The original picture, a 1907 postcard, was uncovered, and many could not remember where it was after the pond dried up. It is now home to the Georgia College dorms and Centennial Center located on Green St.
A beloved landmark to the people who grew up in Milledgeville, the Campus Theater screened iconic films such as Gone With the Wind and The Shining. After an extensive restoration in 2010 by Georgia College, it now holds the Black Box Theatre where Theatre students perform plays, as well as the campus book store.
Now a very popular bed and breakfast, The Antebellum Inn was built in 1890 by noted architect E.T. Alling. It was designed as a house that would show the transition between Classical and Victorian periods with an asymmetrical floor plan and Greek Revival architecture. You can now rent several rooms, and enjoy their beautiful front porch, breakfast and pool.
The photo on the left is another from the collection of Walker Evans’ from 1935. It features two young women in a horse-drawn carriage with the Jordan-Calloway house in the background. You can see the columns on the front porch and the railing of this house in both pictures.
Convention and Visitor’s Bureau / Post Office
This building, located right off the Georgia College campus has been home to several different community centers throughout its time in Milledgeville. Built in 1913, it was originally a post office. The picture on the left shows the brand new construction. Since then, it was the first location of the Mary Vinson Library, and now houses the Milledgeville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
For more historic then and now buildings, read our previous blog here.