To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition, to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
One of the things to love about Atlanta is all the history
and stories it holds within her beautiful landscape.
Today, I thought y'all may enjoy seeing
two pre-civil war homes that are still standing
and have been lovingly restored.
These historic homes absolutely fascinate me
and I love exploring every garden, nook and cranny.
This home is known as
It is a Greek Revival design, built in 1839 by Architect Willis
Many homes built in the south prior to the Civil War were Greek Revival
and after the war, home designs changed to Antebellum.
Barrington Hall sits on
seven acres of land in Roswell, Georgia.
This view was taken standing in the very front entry of the home.
In 1842, the house was finally completed
and the owner Barrington King moved in with his wife, Catherine.
The Kings had nine children, eight sons and one daughter.
Barrington King died in 1866.
The Kings only daughter, Eva, moved back to the home with her husband,
Rev. William Baker in 1883, to care for her mother, Catherine.
The Baker family lived at Barrington Hall until Eva’s death in 1923.
William Baker had died several years before in 1906.
After Eva’s death, the house and property was left to Evelyn Simpson,
Eva Baker’s favorite granddaughter, and Eva’s seven children.
The other heirs wanted to sell the
house, but Evelyn was determined to keep it in the family.
With the help of her
mother Kate Baker Simpson and other family members,
Evelyn raised enough money
to purchase the house from the other Baker siblings.
With limited money and the
help of her sister Katharine,
Evelyn Simpson preserved Barrington Hall until
her death in 1960.
We were waiting for our tour to begin and were ushered
into the front parlor, which was an interactive room,
where you were allowed to touch and play a bit!
I thought their accessories in this room were so very interesting!
It was very unusual to have the master bedroom
right off the front parlor.
There was much history in this room.
Two photos were placed on either side of the bed,
one which you can see from this photo on the right
and were of the two sons which were killed during
the Civil War.
Both photos were draped with black ribbons.
Notice, the green rocking chair at the foot
of the bed.
Both Barrington King and a baby granddaughter
died in this rocker.
Evelyn’s death, her sister Katharine Simpson
became the owner of Barrington
She left her teaching job in Atlanta and
moved to Barrington Hall to
manage it on a full-time basis.
In 1970 Katharine met a woman named Lois Carson;
they became good friends and Katharine adopted her,
so that she would inherit Barrington Hall after Katharine’s death.
Katharine died in 1995, just before her 100th birthday.
Lois Carson continued to live at Barrington Hall until her death in 2003.
Before Carson died, she entrusted Barrington Hall to her friend Sarah Winner.
new owner, Sarah Winner, spent two years restoring the property.
She had all of
the original furnishings and paintings restored.
Craftsmen also painstakingly
restored the horse-hair plaster walls,
ceilings, heart-of-pine floors, and
Her efforts won the
Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s
Outstanding Restoration Award.
In 2005 she sold the property to the City of
with legal agreements designed to ensure the home
would be permanently
and open to the public for historic, educational, and cultural
I found it so interesting, that the person who ended up loving and caring for this home's preservation was not a family member. None of the sons wanted to move back or care for the home their father built.
This home, known as Smith Plantation, was built in 1845.
The home was built by one of Roswell's founders, Archibald
and housed three generations of his family.
The home was restored by the
Arthur and Mary Smith, in 1940.
The original home prior to the remodel ordered
by Arthur Smith.
Archibald and Anne raised four children in
their Roswell home: Elizabeth, William, Helen, and Archibald Jr. Both of their
sons fought in the Confederate Army, and Willie, the eldest, enlisted with the
Signal Corps at the outbreak of the war.
The family’s letters from the
Civil War period were collected into a book in 1988, by Dr. Lister Skinner and
Arthur Skinner, entitled "The Death of a Confederate." Willie’s life
was lost to disease not a month after the Confederate surrender. The war also
had tragic consequences for the mill town of Roswell. Although the homes were
not destroyed, Sherman’s Army occupied the town. The Smiths along with the
other founding families fled to other points in Georgia, not to return until
after the war.
The Smiths also hired a cook, Mamie Cotton who spent 54 years of her
life working for the Smith family. Mamie also raised two of her grandchildren in this home. After Arthur’s death in 1960, Mamie Cotton
moved into the Smith’s home to take care of an ailing Mary, who became ill in
her last years. Mary died on New Year’s Day 1981, and the Smith estate was
entrusted to Josephine Skinner, niece of Mary Norvell Smith.
When the Smith property was sold to the city of Roswell in 1985, one of the stipulations of the sale was that Mamie Cotton be allowed to live
the rest of her life in the house. Mamie passed away in 1994.
The Smith Plantation grounds also include
a guest house, slave quarters, cookhouse, carriage house, barn,
spring house and water well.
There are 300 acres which originally
were all planted with cotton.
The slave quarters
In 1985 the Skinner family sold the house and grounds
to the City of Roswell in order for the home to become a house museum.
The City also used the Smith property to construct a new municipal complex.