One of Milledgeville’s most famous residents, Flannery O’Connor, has several historical sites that you can visit during your visit to Milledgeville. From her residence on Andalusia Farm to her family’s place of worship, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, you can visit the places that influenced and inspired her literary masterpieces.
1. Andalusia Farm
Now part of Georgia College’s campus, Andalusia Farm was the home of Flannery O’Connor from 1951 to 1964.
First settled in 1814, Andalusia was a cotton plantation and farm until it was purchased by Flannery’s uncle Dr. Bernard Cline in 1931. During the O’Connor’s residency, the site contained 14 buildings with over 520 acres of land that was used for dairy and beef farming. Following a diagnosis of Lupus in 1951, O’Connor moved to Andalusia to live under the care of her mother Regina Cline O’Connor. During the 13 years she lived at Andalusia, she completed the bulk of her literary work, as the farm’s environment influenced the setting of many of her writings.
Today, Andalusia serves as a house museum and is open for public tours Tuesday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Tours begin on the hour and the last tour begins at 4 p.m.
2. Sacred Heart Catholic Church
One can hardly write about the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Milledgeville without acknowledging the threads of the Treanor and Cline families that are woven ever so snugly within the fabric of the early Catholic community in Baldwin County. For over a hundred and fifty years these families, the ancestors of internationally acclaimed author Flannery O’Connor, a devout, daily mass Catholic, have been instrumental in the development and growth of the Catholic Church in Milledgeville. The first Catholic resident of Milledgeville was Hugh Donnelly Treanor, Flannery O’Conner’s great-grandfather. Mr. Treanor owned and operated a gristmill located on the Oconee River just east of town. Remnants of the mill can still be seen from the Oconee River Greenway looking north.
The Sacred Heart Catholic Church sits at the corner of Hancock and Jefferson Streets. It was built in 1874 in the Gothic Revival style. Materials from the elegant Lafayette Hotel which previously occupied the sites were utilized in the main body of the church. The Gothic-arched clear glass windows are said to have been salvaged from the hotel, and were used to harmonize with the Gothic architecture of the nearby Capitol.
3. Cline-O’Connor-Florencourt House
If you’re walking on our Historical Walking Tour, you’ll pass by this gorgeous 1820 Milledgeville Federal two-story clapboard house with Victorian standing-seam terne metal roof. The Ionic columns, hand-carved from solid timbers, are original as are the major rooms in the house. The open-work brick fence is the only part of one that once encompassed the entire square. Used as the residence for Georgia’s Governor in 1838 and 1839 during the construction of the present Old Governor’s Mansion, the house is the family home of the Cline family, Flannery’s mother’s family. Flannery lived here briefly after she and her mother moved to Milledgeville from Atlanta when she was a teenager following the death of her father. The home remains in the family today and is a private residence.
4. Special Collections Library
Special Collections is a section of Georgia College’s Ina Dillard Russell Library dedicated to the curation of documents documenting Milledgeville’s past. Staff of the Ina Dillard Russell Library established the Flannery O’Connor Collection shortly after the first publication of O’Connor’s short story “The Geranium” in 1946. The early collection consisted of newspaper clippings, magazines containing the first publications of stories, the published works, and some early items from O’Connor’s student days at Peabody High School and Georgia State College for Women. While best remembered for her fiction, O’Connor was also an accomplished cartoonist; numerous examples of her artwork appear in the college newspaper, literary magazine and yearbook. Many of these publications are placed on display throughout the year.
The first manuscripts were given to the library by Regina Cline O’Connor, Flannery’s mother, in 1970. With the receipt of these manuscripts, the Collection became a significant research source for serious scholars. Since that time, additional manuscripts have been added. Over 6,000 pages of manuscripts include early drafts of Wise Blood, portions of The Violent Bear It Away and most of the short stories. The catalog of the manuscript collection, The Manuscripts of Flannery O’Connor at Georgia College (University of Georgia Press), by Stephen G. Driggers, Robert J. Dunn and Sarah E. Gordon, was published in 1989.
In addition to the manuscripts, O’Connor’s personal collection of over 700 books and journals is housed in the Library. This collection consists of theology, fiction, poetry and critical studies of some of the major literary figures of O’Connor’s era. Because many of these books were annotated by O’Connor, they are used by scholars to identify influences on her writing. Arthur F. Kinney completed the catalog of the private library, Flannery O’Connor’s Library: Resources of Being (University of Georgia Press), in 1985. Various editions and translations of O’Connor’s works as well as critical writings, photographs, tape recordings, films, letters and memorabilia are included in the Collection. Also, the O’Connor Collection maintains a vertical file which includes articles, clippings, biographical information and other material pertaining to O’Connor’s life and work.
Photo via The Snout
5. Memory Hill Cemetery
Memory Hill Cemetery is the resting place of countless influencers of Milledgeville’s past, including Flannery O’Connor’s grave. In addition to the traditional flowers or even a coin, some visitors to O’Connor’s grave leave behind other tokens such as peacock feathers, pebbles, stones, poems, small books and figurines.
In addition to these sites, many additional locations have stories associated with Flannery. She and her mother would lunch at the Stetson-Sanford House tearoom, where her favorite dessert was peppermint chiffon pie. Today the home is owned by the Old Capital Museum Society and house tours are part of the Historic Trolley Tour.
Flannery graduated from Georgia State College for Women (now Georgia College & State University). Visitors are welcome to walk the campus.