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Henry Grady House - Athens, GA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ChapterhouseInc
N 33° 57.683 W 083° 23.299
17S E 279320 N 3760444
Quick Description: Large mansion along Prince Ave, available for party rentals.
Location: Georgia, United States
Date Posted: 9/7/2009 5:38:18 PM
Waymark Code: WM7663
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Hikenutty
Views: 0

Long Description:

"The Henry Grady House (private), 634 Prince Ave, was built about 1845 and later was occupied by Henry W Grady (see Atlanta), whose magnetic personality and equable, progressive attitude did much to reconcile the South with its northern conquerors. Thirteen monumental Doric columns, representing the original colonies, enclose its Greek Revival portick on three sides of the house. Heavily linteled windows extending to the floor are flanked by paneled pilasters."

--Georgia: A Guide to its Cities and Countryside, 1940

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One of many historic homes in the area that are available for private functions. The text for the Georgia Historic Marker and a historic telling of the home os below.

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General Robert Taylor (1787-1859), a planter and cotton merchant, built this Greek Revival home as a summer residence in 1839. Shortly thereafter he moved his family here permanently from Savannah in order for his sons to attend the University of Georgia. Henry Woodfin Grady (1850-1889) lived in this house from 1865 to 1868 while a student as the University. His father, William S. Grady, bought th house in 1863 and it remained in the family's possession until 1872. Henry Grady often referred to this house as "an old Southern home with its lofty pillars, and its white pigeons fluttering down through the golden air." The 13 Doric columns are said to represent the 13 original states. As managing editor of the Atlanta Constitution, Henry W. Grady became the spokesman of the New South. An impressive orator, he stressed the importance of reconciliation between North and South after the Civil War. The South today, with an economy balanced between industry and diversified agriculture, has made a reality of Grady's dream for his native region.

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Robert Taylor, born in Ireland in 1787, as a child immigrated with his family to Savannah, GA, in the 1790's. Taylor grew up to become a wealthy cotton merchant and planter, and his family would often spend summers at their plantation in Morgan County. Around 1844, he built this Greek revival mansion as a summer home in Athens. When his three sons entered the University of Georgia, the Taylors became permanent residents of Athens. Taylor was commissioned a Brigadier General in the Georgia Militia, and although he resigned his commission in 1845, he was always addressed as "General" Taylor. He died in 1859, the owner of over 17,000 acres throughout Georgia, and his estate was valued at more than $450,000.

Henry W. Grady was born in Athens in 1850. His father, Major William S. Grady, bought this house from the Taylor family in 1863 while on furlough from the Confederate Army. Because renters were living in the house at the time, Major Grady went back to the war without moving his family and was later killed at the Battle of Petersburg in Virginia. Henry Grady lived here from 1865, while he attended the University of Georgia, until 1868 when he graduated. He once referred to the house as "an old southern home, with its lofty pillars, and its white pigeons fluttering down through the golden air." Grady eventually became managing editor of the Atlanta Constitution and was known as an impressive orator. In December, 1886, he delivered his "New South" speech at the New England Club in New York City, whose members included prominent financial figures J. P. Morgan and Charles Tiffany. He began his speech with a quote from fellow Georgian, Benjamin H. Hill, "There was a South of slavery and secession; that South is dead . . . a South of union and freedom; that South, thank God, is living, breathing, growing every hour," and his listeners responded with wild applause. He became a national figure overnight, stressing in his speeches and writings the need for reconciliation and economic development. At the age of 39, Henry Grady died of pneumonia in Atlanta.

After exchanging hands many times, the house belonged to an estate in the 1950s' and 60's and was left vacant for thirteen years. The house fell into disrepair during that time but was saved in 1966 when the city of Athens purchased the house, and the Athens Junior Assembly (now called the Junior League of Athens) coordinated its first restoration, receiving many donations of goods and services from local businesses and citizens. In 2004, the house closed again for a year-long, $1.7 million renovation, funded by a special local sales tax program. The purpose of this renovation was to restore the house to historical accuracy in regard to its period of significance, when it was home to Henry Grady. Because it is Grady's only home that still stands, the house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976. The restoration of the house to historical accuracy involved in-depth color studies on all interior walls and landscaping changes to be reminiscent of the wooded front yard the house once had. As the house is now intended for public use, the bathrooms, closets, and modern kitchen were left in place. Originally, the house had no bathrooms or closets as they were considered rooms that could be taxed. The renovation also included many modern updates, such as a fire sprinkler safety system, new electrical wiring, and a new climate control system.

Today, the Junior League of Athens keeps the house open to the public for rentals and tours. For more information or to schedule a tour, please contact us by email at jlathens@aol.com or by phone at (706) 549-8688.

link

Book: Georgia

Page Number(s) of Excerpt: 157

Year Originally Published: 1940

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