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Architectural Landmarks

May 15, 2024
Uncover the architectural landmarks that grace each community, each weaving tales of history, innovation, and cultural importance.


Constructed in 1839, the Old Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville is a remarkable example of High Greek Revival architecture, designed by Charles Cluskey and built by Timothy Porter. Over thirty years, it housed Georgia’s leaders like George Crawford and Howell Cobb, playing a vital role in the state’s history during the antebellum, Civil War, and early Reconstruction periods, addressing complex social issues such as slavery, societal dynamics, and gender roles. It served as the headquarters claimed as a prize during General William T. Sherman’s “March to the Sea” in 1864. Later becoming Georgia College’s founding building in 1889, the Mansion is now a National Historic Landmark and a Smithsonian Institution affiliate, welcoming the public for ADA-compliant tours with varying admission rates.


In the city of Macon, the landscape whispers secrets of ancient civilizations, and at its heart lies the awe-inspiring Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park—an architectural marvel that transcends time. This sacred site, cradled by the Ocmulgee River, bears witness to the profound cultural significance of the indigenous people who once called these lands home. The region along the Ocmulgee River once flourished with around 60 villages, forming the vibrant Muscogee (Creek) Nation in the 18th century. However, the passage of the Indian Removal Act in 1830 led to the forced relocation of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation to Oklahoma in 1836. Today the city of Macon, and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation are working together to tell the history and culture of the area accurately and respectfully.

Visitors can traverse 8 miles of trails that wind through lush forests, wetlands, and wildlife habitats, offering a serene communion with nature. Delve into the park’s visitor center, where the cultural tapestry of the region unfolds through exhibits and artifacts recovered from millennia past. In every step through Ocmulgee Mounds, you are not just exploring a historical site; you are walking in the footsteps of ancient civilizations, learning from their stories, and witnessing a unique collaboration between history and the present moment.

Oconee County

Eagle Tavern, a charming relic of the past, stands as a testament to Oconee County’s rich history and hospitality. Originally constructed in 1801, this venerable establishment once served as a stagecoach stop, welcoming weary travelers on their journey through the heart of Georgia. The tavern’s colonial architecture and quaint charm transport visitors to a bygone era, allowing them to imagine the lively comings and goings of the early 19th century.

The William Daniell House, standing as one of Oconee County’s oldest architectural treasures, bears witness to both its historical significance and its deep-rooted ties to the region’s agricultural heritage. Constructed in 1814, this two-story, wood-framed house served as the focal point of an active agricultural property, embodying the plantation plain architectural style prevalent during that era. With a side-gabled roof, exterior end chimneys, and a rear one-story shed, the house exudes the charm of early 19th-century rural architecture. In 1949, Colonial Revival detailing was artfully added to its main facade, enhancing its architectural allure. William Daniell, the visionary behind this timeless structure, laid the foundation for a legacy that endures in the heart of Oconee County.


With a National Register Historic District renowned for its significant collection of architectural styles spanning the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Madison’s architectural heritage continues to capture the imagination of travelers. Among the small town’s multitude of architectural masterpieces, The Hunter House has been popularly touted as the most photographed home in Georgia. 

A splendid showcase of the High Victorian style, The Hunter House was crafted in 1885 by John Hudson Hunter as a romantic gesture for his bride. The home still bears the initials “H.H.” within each delicately crafted porch arch. The Victorian charm extends to the intricate “gingerbread” trim adorning the porch, balcony, and interior stair railing—a masterpiece crafted locally at the Atkinson Variety Works. The Hunter House graces the cover of “The Mystery of the Gingerbread House” by Wyle Folk St. John, cementing its place not just in architectural history but also in the whimsical narratives of children’s literature.

While noticeably most of the surviving houses in the Madison Historic District were built for a white population that flourished alongside the local cotton economy reaching new highs starting in the 1840s, just as integral to understanding the town’s story is viewing the few remaining, modest residences that served as homes to the Black enslaved population and, later, to sharecroppers and tenant farmers. Living quarters for enslaved people would have been located behind some of the older houses in town, of which only a couple still exist as most were likely wooden shacks with dirt floors that were prone to decay. The John Wesley Moore house, now the Morgan County African-American Museum, offers a chance to step into one of the few remaining examples of a tenant farmer’s home. Moore, an African American born in the last years of slavery, lived in the house with his wife and four children. The home features the popular Folk Victorian architectural style but with a Gable-ell design – intersecting gables creating an “L” shape.


Explore the historic birthplace of public higher education in the United States on the University of Georgia’s North Campus. Dating back to 1801, five years before the city of Athens itself was chartered, this campus is a living testament to the roots of academia. As you stroll through the traditional entrance, marked by the iconic Arch inspired by Georgia’s state seal, you’ll witness the vibrant campus life. Avoiding a walk beneath the Arch is a student tradition, believed to ensure graduation. The Old College building, dating back to 1801, served as the original hub for students and faculty. A Greek Revival masterpiece, the Chapel houses George Cook’s monumental painting of St. Peter’s Cathedral, a significant piece in the university’s rich heritage. Don’t miss the Chapel Bell, rung joyously to celebrate athletic victories and academic milestones. Herty Field, now graced by a fountain, echoes the earliest days of UGA football. Explore this historic campus through guided tours offered by the UGA Visitors Center or embark on a self-guided journey.

The Taylor-Grady House stands as a Greek Revival architectural masterpiece with a rich historical legacy. Constructed in the 1840s by General Robert Taylor as a family summer home, it later became the collegiate residence of renowned newspaper editor Henry W. Grady. Credited with shaping the perspective of the New South after the Civil War, the Taylor-Grady House is rightfully designated as a National Historic Landmark.


Eatonton boasts two ancient Native American effigies, each offering a glimpse into the cultural richness of the Middle Woodland period. The Rock Hawk Effigy, a striking bird-shaped arrangement of stones spanning approximately 100 feet, served ceremonial and symbolic functions within indigenous communities. Adjacent Rock Hawk Trails provide an immersive experience, blending natural beauty with cultural significance.

On the other hand, the iconic Rock Eagle Effigy stands as one of the oldest and best-preserved effigy mounds in the Southeastern United States. Created between 1 AD and 1000 AD, it spans approximately 120 feet across, offering valuable insights into prehistoric Native American societies. This effigy serves as a crucial architectural landmark, bridging the past and present, and inviting contemplation and appreciation for the diverse cultural heritage that shaped the region.