Monday, November 24, 2014

Thomasville, Georgia

After touring Monticello Saturday we decided to drive further north into Georgia.  We had read that Thomasville was also a town with many older homes.  In addition, we thought that since it was in the heart of the pecan grove farms of Georgia we might be able to purchase pecans.  Our first stop in the town was at the Mighty Oak.  A sign near it notes that it is 333 years old and 68 feet high with a spread of 164 feet.
I recently learned that it is an evergreen or live oak because this tree keeps its leaves during the winter.  After visiting the southeast now several times I can readily identify this tree because of its wide-spreading branches which curve down and then swoop  upwards.  It is possible to have your picture taken at this spot by dialing a phone number and then ordering it on-line.  In the picture above there is a group of people having that done.  I at first thought it a bit strange that they were posing for a picture and there was no one around with a camera in front of them.  I think the camera was on a pole down the street.
The rain continued to fall intermittently, so we decided not to check out the older homes of the town, of which there are roughly 75.  The downtown area with restored Victorian storefronts and many small shops was tempting, but we also passed on that and instead chose to visit Pebble Hill Plantation.  In the late 1800s the town became a winter destination for wealthy industrialists from the north.  Usually the owners lived in these homes from November to April,  Industrialist Howard Hanna bought Pebble Hill as a second home and transformed it into a sporting plantation.  He gave it to his daughter Kate in 1901.  She was responsible for construction of the main house and most of the brick outbuildings in 1936.
  Her daughter Elizabeth Poe inherited the home after Kate died.  She was an accomplished equestrienne and polo player, her trophies are still hanging in the home today.  It was her wish that upon her death the home be opened to the public as a museum.   Many of the Hana family treasures as their china and antique furniture are still there.  English and American sporting artists were guests at Pebble Hill and while they completed their commissions they were often guests at the plantation.  Lots of entertaining was done here, other guests who came for sport shooting events were Presidents Eisenhower and Carter. 
The second floor of the home is an art gallery of the many paintings which Elizabeth purchased.  Hanging on the walls of the first floor living quarters are 35 original prints done by Audubon.  Also, one of the rooms on the first floor has hand-painted wall paper.  The house also features a cantilevered staircase with a dome above it.   It was one memorable house tour for us.  The out buildings include a school house where Kate had her children tutored during the winter months.  There are also stables where Elizabeth kept vintage carriages.  The plantation still owns horses which are mainly used for weddings at the plantation.

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