Yesterday I went on a day trip to Madison, Georgia - the town General Sherman is said to have found "too lovely to burn." It is filled with antebellum mansions, post-Civil War homes, and a lovely courthouse (it is the county seat of Morgan County) and downtown.
We left at an ungodly hour (7:30) and first arrived in Social Circle, Georgia, for an early lunch at the Blue Willow Inn.
The front entrance of the Blue Willow Inn.
It was sunny, but chilly (about 60F - I am a delicate Southern flower), and very windy. They have a large and elaborate buffet lunch.
About noon we arrived in Madison, which is southeast of Atlanta. Our first stop was Heritage Hall, which was built by the town's first doctor in 1811.
Heritage Hall, alias the Jones-Turnell-Manly House.
Dr. Jones moved to this brand new frontier town at 22, with his mother and wife and ten slaves, and after one year of medical school. He obviously prospered! There was a scary display of amputation instruments which his son, another Dr. Jones, used during the Civil War.
We then visited the Rogers House, built at about the same time, but by people not nearly as rich. At one time 18 people were living in its then 4 rooms.
The Rogers House.
We also visited a couple of other homes which are now public museums, and visited the lovely downtown, which has a beautiful courthouse from the 1890s.
Morgan County courthouse.
The names of the town inhabitants who have served in the armed forces are on bricks in the pavement, with the war noted, surrounding the courthouse.
Most of the downtown was rebuilt after 1870, and in brick, after a devastating fire in 1869.
One of Madison's downtown streets. We had a glass of wine at a cafe here in this stretch.
Not all of the homes date from before the Civil War - others were built afterwards.
The Hunter House, alias the "Gingerbread House," from the 1880s. Reportedly it has a ghost.
A couple were listed as "for sale," so if you've got a million or so to spare, you too could own one.
Now, the legend has it that General Sherman thought Madison was "too lovely to burn." This is not the case - for one thing, Sherman was never in Madison. He was leading the other half of the army, en route to the state capital at Milledgeville. The real story is that General Slocum, who was in command of the army who came through, found little that was of military interest there, so didn't burn much. (The union army destroyed the tracks of the Georgia Railroad in town and the train depot - both used to transport troops - as well as some bales of cotton and a factory which made shoes for the Confederate army. But they mostly left the houses alone.)
We got home about 7:30 at night, totally exhausted. But it was a lovely day.