Monday, April 18, 2016

Archibald Smith Plantation Home

We arrived in Atlanta by late afternoon last Monday.  One would think we would have been happy to just sit for the one day which we planned to spend there.  My sister Linda knows us better.  As John and I had seen a lot of the attractions in Atlanta proper, she suggested that we drive a short distance out of town to Roswell, Georgia.   The town has several historic homes. 
It was wonderful to see Atlanta and the surrounding area at this time of the year.  After the past couple of days we were through with the winter scene.  The picture above was taken on the grounds of the Archibald Smith Plantation.  Originally the house did not look as it does today, the columns were not present in the old photos we saw of the house.  In 1845 it was a rather plain two story building.  At that time it sat on 400 acres of land.  The family primarily farmed cotton using slave labor.
  We chose to tour this particular historic home because it has retained many of the Smith's furnishings, clothing and personal items.  All total there is 3,000 of them, many of which we saw as we toured the plantation house.  Of particular interest is a Civil War era trunk.  It belonged to William, one of the Smith's sons who shipped it back home when he went into battle.  It remained locked shut, with the contents still inside, until the 1990s when it was discovered in the attic.  The trunk was probably quickly forgotten by the family when, in 1863, they had to immediately leave their home for the low country of Georgia because General Sherman and his army were on the march to Atlanta.  Fortunately the home remained intact through that time and the family did return to it.  Ten of the original outbuildings remain on the grounds today.  Pictured below is a section of the springhouse.  I was more interested in the beautiful azaleas surrounding the building than getting a picture of it in its entirety!  One of the oldest structures of the plantation, a slave cabin, stands close to the springhouse.
 Two of the adult sisters lived in the home until their deaths in the early 1900s.  The house was unoccupied for 25 years.  In 1940 a grandson of Archibald, Arthur Smith and his wife Mary, moved into the house after first remodeling the front part, as well as adding plumbing and electricity.  Mary wanted a plantation home like Tara in the movie Gone with the Wind.   Mary was the last to die, she died in 1981.  She had a servant and companion for her last years, Mamie Cotton, who had served the Smith family for 54 years.  She was still living in the home when tours started there in 1992, and remained there until 1994.  An interesting note here is that an African American was the last to reside in the home, a home built by slave labor!

After our tour of the Smith Plantation we drove down to Old Mill Park.  Pictured above is an old cotton mill, built in 1882.  For over 140 years the town of Roswell has had numerous mills (cotton/fabric and flour) which sat near Big Creek.  During the Civil War the cotton mills were important for supplying the Confederate Army with uniforms.  In 2004 a covered bridge was dedicated over the creek, which was another reason we wanted to see the park.  Quite an impressive waterfall rushes under the bridge!

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