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09 December, 2008

The Tour of Homes in Madison, Georgia...or..."America's Prettiest Small Town"

This weekend, I went to the annual Christmas Tour of Homes in Madison, Georgia. You may not be familiar with Madison, but in my neck of the woods, it is very well-known. It was voted the "Prettiest Small Town in America" by Holiday Traveler Magazine and is also called the "Town that Sherman Refused to Burn" during the Civil War. It was saved because there was an important Northern sympathizer who lived there. That was really lucky for Madison since over 100 Antebellum homes are still standing. We started our tour at Heritage Hall. It was built in 1811 by Dr. Elijah Evans Jones for his wife and five children. In 1912, the house was moved on logs by teams of horses and mules to its current location to make way for the Methodist Church. It is now owned by the Morgan County Historical Society.

When you enter the home, you are greeted by this wonderful garland on the banister. Isn't it gorgeous? I love the pheasant feathers in the arrangement! This is the only time of year that I wish I had stairs. Remember that you can click on any of the pictures to enlarge them!

This organ is located in one of the parlors. I thought it was beautiful! However, the lady in the portrait, even with the glare, looks very unhappy, doesn't she? Maybe they made her take piano lessons like I had to...hmmmmmmm.

This is, of course, the dining room. It's really hard to get a shot of an entire room with all of those pesky tourists getting in the way. Look...there are plates on the wall! You can get a little peek into the parlor, too.

Here's a close-up of the centerpiece on the table. Isn't the silver urn gorgeous? Most of the homes used fresh fruit in their arrangements. The docent told us that was typical of the period. (Here I must add that I just learned that word from Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. I am really glad I did because I then heard several of the guides answer when asked if they were the owner..."No, I am the docent." I don't know how I managed to live this long without knowing it, so I thought I would share it with you just in case.)

This is one of the bedrooms and it had quite an interesting story. They call it the Ghost Room. The doctor's daughter died here, apparently due to difficulties in childbirth, and the baby died as well. Now the room is believed to be haunted by her ghost. The docent showed me a series of cracks in the hearth which are in the shape of a woman holding a baby. It seems that several attempts to repair it have always returns. The image would not show up in my photos, but I have found an article about the ghost and her story, including an excellent photo. If you would like to read more, click on this link:

This beautiful little lamp was beside the bed in the Ghost Room. I knew I had to get a photo of it for the lamp people out there! Isn't it gorgeous?

I am so pleased that this showed up so well in the photo. It seems that there are seven windows in the house that were etched by the children. Isn't this amazing? However, if you ask me, they had waaaay too much time on their hands! They should have had a Wii or something!

This is a little bed in the children's bedroom. Isn't it cute? It's a miniature of an adult bed. I really hadn't thought about it, but we don't make tiny beds for our children.

These beautiful little dresses were also hanging in the children's room. I love all of the lace!

Next, we went to the Edmund Walker townhouse. It was built in1838 by Mr. Walker, who had extensive land holdings and resided on a plantation called "Walker Rest." Like many of the planters of that time, he built this home in town so that his wife and children could take advantage of the educational opportunities and the social life in Madison.

I loved the kitchen fireplace! The mantel is decorated with a simple string of real apples.

Here is the dining room, of course. Isn't the centerpiece gorgeous? As you may know, the pineapple is the symbol of hospitality. And...look at that wonderful collection of flow blue plates! I was salivating!

This is the master bedroom. The current owners stripped all of the paint to give a more authentic feel to the room. The docent told us that the original owner, Mr. Walker, had his coffin made before he died and kept it in the attic. He would go up on a regular basis and lie down in it to make sure that it still fit!

Isn't this an interesting piece? It's an old cabinet removed from a local hardware store. It originally had a large stand underneath with drawers and a rod down the center so that it would turn. We actually saw a complete piece in another home, but were not allowed to take pictures there. :-(

This home is called Thurleston and was built around 1800 as a plantation home. It was moved into Madison in 1818 to serve as a town house. The front portion of the house was added in 1848. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to photograph inside, but the outside was so beautiful that I wanted you to see it.

The home was surrounded by beautiful gardens. I love the way they used the teapot as a garden ornament! favorite home on the tour and you will see why! This is the Starke-Hunt-Freisen home built in 1837 by John W. Starke. Like many of the homes in Madison, it has gone through a series of owners and changes. The original home was L-shaped and had 3 rooms upstairs and 3 rooms downstairs.

Look at the amazing garland of natural greenery and the massive wreath! I love magnolia leaves in Christmas decorations. They add such an elegant touch.

Here is the parlor. I love the fireplace and those stockings! I bet you're beginning to think that there wasn't much that I didn't love and you'd be right! Now....hang on to your hats, because you are about to see why I love this house.....

You guessed it!!! PLATES! If you have seen my house, you know I love blue and white plates on a yellow wall. But gets better!

Here is the dining room. I'm lovin' that chandy! Kristen, Lynne, Melissa and Vanna...are you starting to see what I am going to show you??? I'm sooo excited!

You're getting a little peek. Here's the gorgeous Christmas tree as well.....and.....

Look...there are your drapes!!! Well, almost....a smaller pattern, but very similar! And look how wonderful they look with those Old Britain Castles plates! Ohhhhhh....I am keeping a secret that I will soon reveal in another post.

This is the master bedroom. Isn't it beautiful? Notice that there are more plates!

I took this shot without the flash so you could see the Christmas tree. Imagine waking up every morning in this room!

This is the Rogers house which was built by Reuben Rogers in 1809. It was the first home in Madison. He bought the lot for $100 and built the home for $400 and then sold it in 1812 for $1000...quite a profit, huh? Significant changes have been made to this house over time. It now belongs to the City of Madison.

This is the parlor. I love the fireplace. Look at the rug in front of's painted canvas.

Here is a close-up of it. It does not date from the period, but it is typical. The details are incredible!

This is the dining room. Of course, I loved the colors!

Another beautiful natural arrangement was on the sideboard.

Here's a shot for all you tablescape people!

Here is a bed dating from the period. A feather bed would have been placed on the ropes, which had to be tightened occasionally.

I loved the fireplace, but I especially loved the decorations.

Can you see? It's the little segments of a yo-yo quilt strung together and finished with little buttons! Isn't that clever?

Here is the mantel in one of the other bedrooms. Ooops...a little sideways...sorry! Notice the figurine....

I later saw it in an antique store. It's a Staffordshire piece from 1870 called "Harvest Festival." Isn't it beautiful? I makes me think of that scene at the end of Jane Austen's Emma.

And finally....yes, I know, I got carried away....this is the Rose Cottage, also owned by the City of Madison. It has an amazing history. It was built in 1891 by Adeline Rose, a lady born into slavery. She was earning her living by taking in washing at 50 cents a load. She paid $10.50 for the lumber. Imagine how many loads it must have taken for her to save up that much money! Remember, she was having to live and feed her children from that money, too.

Here is her portrait which hangs over one of the mantels. You have to admire her determination and her gumption. She lived in the house for 68 years!

Here is her ironing board. Notice that it is simply put between two chairs.

Here is the iron that she actually used. Hot coals would have been put inside to create heat. Isn't it incredible to think about the amount of work that she did for 50 cents? I think this home tugged at my heart more than any of the others.

Well...that's the end of our tour. I don't know about you, but I need a little something after all of that walking! Ohhhhhh! How about a big ol' piece of caramel cake and a mocha cappuccino? You know it's low fat and good for you, too! lol I hope you enjoyed the tour. Thanks for sticking with me 'til the end. Now if you'll excuse me....snarf, snarf, snarf....



  2. What happened to my comment? Anyway, I will write another one. If this is a duplicate, please do not post. I enjoyed the tour so much, very fascinating! I am mostly fascinated by the ghost story. This town reminds me so much of where I live, so many antebellum houses. Thanks for taking pictures and sharing them with us, Debbie! Very interesting!....Christine

  3. Hi Debbie! Oh, what a wonderful tour of homes! I loved so many of the furnishings as well as getting a few ideas for my own home!
    Be a sweetie,
    shelia ;)

  4. What a fabulous tour Debbie. I had the best time and thanks for taking me along. I loved everything, but the dining rooms were the most beautiful rooms with all the gorgeous center piececes. I really do have to learn how to do a tablescape. Hugs, Marty

  5. What a beautiful tour and great pictures Debbie. It's all gorgeous, but I have a special place for the little Rose cottage. That is my favorite style of home, and I can't imagine how she managed to save enough to build it. Quite a lady. Thanks for the tour, it was great, now I'm going to have some of that low fat cake lol. Kathy

  6. Loved the tour Debbie! Those are beautiful homes! CHEEERS! Michele

  7. Love, love, love the house with yellow walls and blue/white plates. Right up my alley! What a wonderful tour. My nearest big town used to do a historical homes tour at Christmas and it was the highlight of the season for my mom and me. For some reason it isn't held any longer which makes me sad. I love old homes and esp. decorated for Christmas!

  8. Debbie, I felt like I was on the tour with you. We would both have been exclaiming about the same things, since the "Stark..." home was also my favorite! Loved everything about the decor in that home. All of the homes had such pretty floral arrangements. I'm going to try to stick some feathers in something now! That banister arrangement was gorgeous! Thanks so much for this tour.

  9. Oh Debbie.. I had the best time. You made me feel like I was right there with you.. all except for the snack..and girl you got a bit on the greedy side and didn't save me It's amazing how closely the drapes resemble mine huh? I'm loving all the plates on the wall girl... I'm going to "have" to bring all of mine back out once again.. and those feathers..oh my goodness... I've used feathers in alot of different things for the last 2 years and love the effect they have..Again... Debbie thanks so much for the tour.. I'm going back through again, can't get enough...hugs ~lynne~

  10. Hi Debbie...thank you so much for taking us on this tour...I love seeing grand old homes, but surprisingly I liked the Rose Cottage best I guess because of how hard the lady had to work to build her house...oh, that iron! This was a fun post! ;-) Bo

  11. Hi Debbie, I loved the tour. It's so amazing to see a bit of the way people lived so long ago. ☺ Diane

  12. Debbie I've just had a wonderful time! Is this your little town? What a beutiful place. Loved all of these gorgeous historical home but I am with you loved the home with the plates! I am also with you with major banister envy this time of year, all of the floral were exceptional.. So glad to have a chance to visit with you here in your lovely part of the country. Cindy

  13. LOL Oh I bet you had a hard time leaving! What an utterly fantastic time you must have had...I cannot even begin to say which images I adore, for I feel the spirits of Christmases past in all of them. I think I am drawn in by the writing on the glass!
    Gosh Thanks for all the hard work in this blog!!! I feel as I were there!!!

  14. Hi Cindy...No, I wish this were my town, but it is not too far away! Thanks so much for the visit!Please come by anytime!...Debbie

  15. Hi Debbie,

    These homes are all beyond amazing and gorgeous. I would absolutly enjoy going on this tour. So glad you brought us along tonight. You are a sweetheart to post so many photos and so much history.
    I am going to read that ghost story. So sad. But the stories always intrigue me...

    Thanks stopping by tonight and your kindness as always is so appreciated.

    Chestnut says Hi. He's staring and lounging at the front window at all the twinkling Christmas lights. He adores that window seat.

    ~Warmly, Melissa :)

  16. Debbie,
    The homes you featured on your post today are so beautiful! I love historical homes! Thanks for sharing your fun day with us.

  17. Oh Debbie!! I have sooo been looking foreward to your tour!! I wish I coulda been there! Your favorite was my favorite too! *winks* And I'm feelin' even better about my drapery choice! And the plates!!!....Girl I love those plates!! I'm going to put some up in my powder room. I don't care if people think it's silly! I don't have any wall space left....and I NEED my plates! (I know you of all people will understand *winks*) And I don't know why those silly people would try to get rid of the outline of Virginia and her baby! Shame on them!! And good for Virginia for not letting them! I've always wanted to have a house that I'd love to haunt! Lol!! And girlfriend did you send me some cake too? Cause it would be awfully MEAN if you didn't....So I'll just keep checking my mail......Hehe! Vanna

  18. I used to live in a former funeral home, and I dearly love old houses. Thanks so much for this lovely tour and commentary. I loved the plates!! :-)

  19. Hi Debbie...

    Ohhh my...what a wonderful tour of some fabulous homes! I just loved all of the greenery...wreaths...etc. that they used to decorate the exteriors! The interiors were so beautiful...loved seeing all the furniture!

    Hehe...I was intriqued by the "ghost room" and took a little side trip to read about it on the link you interesting!!!

    Well my friend, thank you so much for sharing your tour with us...I loved it!!!

    Warmest wishes...Chari (Happytodesign)

  20. I hadn't realized how challenged I was when it came to geography, until DH and I had a discussion about Madison, Georgia. I had it, in my mind, North of Atlanta. DH straightened me out. He says we can get there without getting involved in Atlanta traffic. I definitely would like to go on their next tour. Do you know when it is? You have whetted my appetite for more. The pictures were first rate and your docent style descriptions were perfect. I had a wonderful tour through you, but can hardly wait to see it in the flesh. Thank you for this wonderful post.

  21. Hey Debbie,
    I love Madison, Ga. I am from Savannh and I went to wedding in Madison..probably about 15 years ago. I swear I went to a party or a luncheon in one of those houses. It really is so familiar. I wish I could remember. You inspired me today. I was trying to think what to post and I read how you like blue and white plates on a yellow my post today. It will be dedicated to you today. Thanks!!!

  22. Hi Debbie,
    I am dedicating my blog to you today because you inspired me today!

  23. Hi Glenda...Thanks for dropping by! Madison always hosts a Christmas tour the first weekend in December and a Spring tour the first weekend in May. I believe that will be May 1,2 and 3. They also have night tours during that time with additional homes that you can't see during the day. Ohhhh... it's so worth the trip! And such a charming little town! There are also some nice antique shops and good restaurants. Tell me before you go, and I'll give you the heads-up on those places. Thanks for the visit!...Debbie

  24. Hi Debbie Thanks for the beautiful tour of your town of Madison Georgia.You are so fortunate to live there with all that history. The homes are gorgeous. I loved the way they decorated them with apples and fruits. Just simple things yet so pretty.Lovely photo"s!!

  25. Hi Debbie! Oh, I hope Santie will bring you your dreams! I've looked back thru these gorgeous homes and I just love the one with all the yellow and blue and of course - the plates all over the walls!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia :)

  26. I'm one of those "tablescape people" so the placesetting literally jumped out at me! LOL

    Thanks for sharing the home tours w/ us!

  27. Well at first I was going to take note of my favorite things..then it got to be most everything. What a tour. Thank you so much for taking the time to share all these gorgeous rooms. I do especially love that little swag hanging over the child's bed. It was all wonderful. Great post, Deb.

  28. Debbie, Your Madison posts is amazing. I haven't had a chance to come by and really read it yet due to working all day and preparing for the party all evening...but I will come back. I wanted to are invited to the cookie party if you can come. The two neighbors who are co hosting with me told me to invite friends. I've been too busy to do that but if you'd like to come, let me know. It's the kind where you back 5 dozen for some cookie and then swap and take a bunch of different kinds of cookies home. Plus, bring an ornament wrapped...we do a quick little fun ornament exchange. You can skip the cookie thing if you don't have time. Love to meet you! Susan

  29. Hi Debbie, I laughed at your kitty xmas tree antics! At least you can put a tree skirt under the tree for the kitties to lay on. I don't dare put anything under the tree! ☺ Diane

  30. Oh Debbie you know I am doing my Happy dance girl !!! Oh I just love all the homes you showed and that little youth bed is just SCREAMING my name...I had a robe bed and sold it years ago when I got out of the Prim look..and that hardware cabinet I just sold one like that 3 years ago..still have a barn full of stuff to sell..But I got robbed 7 years ago and lost alot of things to drug robber who needed there drugs more than I needed my stuff..great post Debbie I really enjoyed the tour..the South is always so great with all their beautiful old homes..all we have here our Victorian ones..thanks so much for sharing and for coming by today to see me!! hugs and smiles Gloria

  31. Thanks for taking us on a tour with you! The
    Starke-Hunt-Freisen house was my absolute favorite. Interesting how it's so old but so similar to how some of us decorate. That actually looked very similar to my taste.

    We went on a tour of historic homes last weekend too. People live in them though so I didn't have the nerve to take pictures. I'm so glad you did. :)

  32. Hi Debbie,
    I finally got my post up today and it features blue and white on yellow walls! It is one of my favs also. So from one old school teacher to another...Merry Christmas thanks for being my muse!

  33. What a fantastic tour!! Thank you so much! We modern ladies are so blessed with all the comforts and conveniences that are afforded to us!
    God Bless you!!

  34. It was wonderful...especially with the falling snow effect! :) You are awesome! Meme


Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I appreciate my wonderful readers!... Debbie