In my last post, I told you about the indoor exhibits at the Atlanta History Center. After seeing them, I then headed outside to check out the historic homes. There are three historic homes, from two different periods in Georgia history on the site.
The homes there are amazing. When you head outside, first you come upon the Robert Smith Family Farm, which was an antebellum hog farm, built in the 1840s. The family was well off for the times, owning about 800 acres, and up to 13 slaves. They raised six children in their small home. They had sheep, goats and a house cat on site at the history center, but no pigs. Pigs are probably harder to deal with on a museum farm… You can tour the cabin, and see an old slave quarters, which is original but was not originally on the Smith Farm. You can also look at the goats and sheep and even see cotton growing.
Next I went over to the Swan House, which was built in 1928 by Edward and Emily Inman. Edward was a very successful businessman, and Emily was known for her work for charitable and civic causes, including women’s suffrage. The house has period docents, in character, playing the parts of Edward and Emily, their maids, and the home’s architect, Philip Trammell Shutze. You can wander the house at your leisure and ask questions of the docents.
The home is very nice; it was acquired by the Atlanta Historical Society in 1966 with almost all of the family’s original furnishings. It has all the bells and whistles, including an intercom system, and my favorite, historic toilets! This is the first time I have seen a wicker toilet.
Downstairs in the Swan House is an exhibit on the collections of Philip Trammell Shutze, the architect. He had quite a fascination with Chinese culture and collected furniture, ceramics and other artwork, and had an extensive variety of items. It was neat to see, and nice that they explained the connection to the Swan House, because otherwise it would have seemed out of place.
The last building on site at the Atlanta History Center is the Wood Family Cabin. The cabin was built in the 1840s, and was originally located in Piedmont, Georgia, before being moved to the site. Even the Elias Wood family was considered fairly well off, at least well off enough to own a slave; they farmed and hunted. I was unable to find out any more about the cabin though. It is located off in the woods of the history center, and I didn’t see anyone else on my walk there.
I really enjoyed these historic homes at the Center!