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Lumpkin, Joseph Henry, House - Athens, GA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ChapterhouseInc
N 33° 57.629 W 083° 22.971
17S E 279823 N 3760332
Quick Description: One of the first judges on the Georgia Supeme Court lived here.
Location: Georgia, United States
Date Posted: 3/12/2009 8:02:42 PM
Waymark Code: WM60MP
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 1

Long Description:

Joseph Henry Lumpkin, born in Oglethorpe County, Georgia, Dec. 23, 1799, entered the University of Georgia at fifteen, completing his college education at Princeton, New Jersey, in 1819. Lumpkin passed the bar in 1820 and began practicing law in Lexington, Georgia. He served in the State Legislature, 1824 and 1825, and helped frame the Georgia Penal Code, 1833. When the Georgia Supreme Court was formed in 1845, the General Assembly elected Lumpkin, Hiram Warner, and Eugenius Nisbit to the bench. His colleagues chose Lumpkin Chief Justice, and he held that position until his death, June 4, 1867. When the University added a school of law, it was given Lumpkin's name, and he lectured there until the outbreak of the Civil War. The eloquent opinions of Georgia's first Chief Justice, who revered the spirit as well as the letter of the law, were of inestimable importance in firmly establishing the Supreme Court as part of the State's legal system. Lumpkin's beautiful Greek Revival Home was built in 1842. After his death in 1867, the house was used by Madame Sophie Sosnowski as her "Home School" for young ladies. It is now the home of the Athens Woman's Club.


This two-story frame building on the north side of Prince Avenue represents the Greek Revival Style. A two-story portico with Greek Doric columns and a modified entablature dominates the facade and wraps around the building's sides. Although the main roof is hipped, the entablature forms a parapet around the facade and sides. Pilasters with entablatures frame the full length first-floor windows and the entrance door with its transom and sidelights. A balcony with a wood lattice railing shelters the entrance doorway. The back wing, a two-over-two room, central hall structure built on an eight post frame, was the original house, long since moved and turned sideways to the street. The two-over-two room, central-hall front addition, with its Greek Revival colonnade and detailing, more than doubled the size of the original, which has been enlarged further by several additions to the rear.

Charles H. McKinley, credited with building the house on its original hilltop site four hundred feet back from the street, sold the property to Jesse Robinson in 1837. In 1842 John B. Lamar of Bibb County purchased the property, and Joseph H. Lumpkin bought it the next year from Andrew J. Lamar. Lumpkin, one of the three founders of the University of Georgia School of Law, served in the Georgia legislature and framed the state penal code. When the Georgia Supreme Court was established in 1845, he became one of its three initial judges and was elected the first Chief Justice. Around 1850 Lumpkin extensively remodeled and enlarged the house. He had the original house turned to face west, and where its south end then faced Prince Avenue, he added to the south elevation the two-over-two room, central-hall addition with an adjoining porch and colonnade, the present facade.

After his death in 1867, Madame Sophie and Miss Callie Sosnowski rented the house for nearly thirteen years, operating the Home School for young ladies. When A. K. Childs bought the property in 1876, it had landscaped terraces extending down the sloping front yard to the street. In 1906 the house was moved forward down the slope to its present location. In 1919 the Athens Woman's Club purchased it from Childs's descendants, alternately leasing it as a furniture store, a fraternity, offices, and apartments before the club eventually donated it to the Joseph Henry Lumpkin Foundation in 1975. The Foundation, with matching grants from the Department of the Interior, restored the house, the exterior in 1981 and the interior in 1985, to be used for small meetings and seminars by the University of Georgia School of Law and state and local bar associations, and as a place available to the public for entertaining.

The Joseph Henry Lumpkin House was documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey (GA-1115), is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (June 27, 1975), and has been recognized by the Georgia Historical Marker Program (029-12).


Street address:
248 Prince Ave
Athens, GA usa

County / Borough / Parish: Clarke

Year listed: 1975

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Person, Architecture/Engineering

Periods of significance: 1825-1849, 1850-1874, 1900-1924

Historic function: Domestic: Single Dwelling

Current function: Social: Civic

Privately owned?: yes

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
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Lat34North visited Lumpkin, Joseph Henry, House - Athens, GA 6/20/2009 Lat34North visited it
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