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More than 100 Years Old, Georgia’s Oldest Mansion Is Still as Beautiful as the Day It Was Made!


One of the most interesting places in Georgia is the Old Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville. The state has a lot of history and culture. This beautiful building was home to eight governors from 1839 to 1868. While Georgia was going through some of its worst times, like the Civil War and Reconstruction, it was there. A museum and a National Historic Landmark, the house is now open to the public. This building shows how beautiful and well-made the Greek Revival style can be.

The Building of the Mansion

It was built in 1839 using plans made by Charles B. Cluskey, an Irish architect who was one of the most well-known builders in the South before the Civil War. Cluskey was hired by the Georgia Senate, which chose in 1835 to build the first official home for the governor. Milledgeville was the state capital from 1807 to 1868, and that’s where the house was.

Back then, $60,000 was a lot of money. This house was made of brick and stucco. It had a portico with six Ionic columns, a dome in the middle, and the same floor plan on both sides. The 30-room house had a grand staircase, a dining room, a drawing room, a library, and a hall.

More than 100 Years Old, Georgia's Oldest Mansion Is Still Beautiful as the Day It Was Made!

Also, In the 1800s, it was rare for a house to have a very advanced water system. A lot of expensive and beautiful furniture was inside the house. There was mahogany furniture, marble mantels, crystal chandeliers, and silk curtains. Out front of the house were a formal yard, a carriage house, and rooms for slaves.

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Governors Who Lived There

From 1839 to 1868, eight governors and their families lived in the Old Governor’s Mansion. The first person to live there was George R. Gilmer, who was governor from 1839 to 1841. After him came George W. Crawford, George W. Towns, Howell Cobb, Herschel V. Johnson, Joseph E. Brown, and Thomas H. Ruger.

Each governor changed or added to parts of the house that were already there based on their own likes and needs. Gov. Cobb put up gas lights and wallpaper, Gov. Brown put up a fence and a pond, and Gov. Crawford put up a library and a greenhouse. A lot of important people stayed at the governors’ house, such as President James K. Polk, General Robert E. Lee, and General William T. Sherman.

The Historic Events That Took Place There

More than 100 Years Old, Georgia's Oldest Mansion Is Still Beautiful as the Day It Was Made!

During the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Old Governor’s Mansion was the site of some of the most important events in Georgia’s history. People argued about politics, got together with friends, and planned military operations in the house. The war also put the house at risk and caused damage.

General Sherman took over Milledgeville in 1864 and stayed in the house for two days. He kept the house from being on fire, but he stole from it and damaged some of its things. Another thing he did was hold a fake legislative session in the mansion.

He and his officers claimed to undo Georgia’s decision to leave the Union. After the war, the house was the office of Thomas H. Ruger, who was the federal military governor of Georgia and was in charge of rebuilding the state. Since 1868, when the state capital moved to Atlanta, he was the last governor to live in the house.

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The Preservation and Restoration of the Mansion

The Old Governor’s Mansion was sold to Georgia Military College after the state capital was moved to Atlanta. The college used it as a dorm, a classroom, and an office building. The college took care of the mansion and its grounds and stopped any big repairs or demolitions.

More than 100 Years Old, Georgia's Oldest Mansion Is Still Beautiful as the Day It Was Made!

The house was named a National Historic Landmark in 1967, and it became a museum for the public in 1973. The museum has exhibits and events that tell the story of the mansion and its residents, as well as the original furniture and artifacts that lived there.

From 2001 to 2004, the museum also did a big restoration project that brought the mansion back to how it looked and worked when it was first built. The repair project won a lot of awards for how well it was done and how accurate it was.

The Conclusion

Milledgeville’s Old Governor’s Mansion is more than 100 years old and still looks beautiful. It shows off the Greek Revival style of architecture and tells a story about Georgia’s past and culture. It also shows what the leaders who lived there did how their lives changed and how hard things were for them. The house is a treasure that has been kept safe and fixed up so that everyone can enjoy it and learn from it. Anyone who likes history and beauty should go see it.

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