For months, my cousin Susan and I had been talking about a day visit to Milledgeville, Georgia, where I grew up and she went to college. This past Saturday, we finally went:
here in 2009, if you would like to see a photograph of the building (then the library) where I worked after school and during summers when I was in high school and early college, until I moved away. Parked outside was this trolley, named Milly. :) Short for Milledgeville, I guess. A very nice woman inside the CVB told us the trolley tour was leaving in eight minutes if we would like to go - lead by a professor emeritus from nearby Georgia College and State University. So off we went.
"The Great American Main Street City." And indeed it is - having won that award in 2014. I always knew it was. The first stop on the trolley tour was the original state capital building for the state of Georgia from 1804 to 1868. The building is on the campus of Georgia Military College and was in use that day for a meeting of "Georgia Republican Leadership" - they were on a break, so our group got to see the room the old legislature once met in.
St. Stephens Episcopal Church, built in 1843 on the historic statehouse square. Amazing that in all the years I have loved this town, I had never been inside this church. During the Union occupation of Milledgeville during the Civil War, they reportedly burned the pews for firewood and housed their horses inside the sanctuary. It is said that you can see the imprint of horses hooves on the wooden floors (now covered with carpet.) When the nearby arsenal was blown up, the roof was blown off the building. If these walls could talk!
Brown-Stetson-Sanford house and was the last stop on the tour. It was designed by the master builder John Marlor and built in 1825. It was originally a hotel for visiting legislators, then a private home. In the 1950s, until 1966 it operated as The Sanford House Tea Room. My late father used to have lunch there sometimes. He told me that was how he became acquainted with author Flannery O'Connor, who lunched there frequently with her mother. The house was moved to its current location in the late 1960s, when the grocery store it butted up against was planning to tear it down to make room for additional parking. Thank goodness local preservationists saved the building by moving it and then restoring it.
I used to walk by this house after school, on my way to work at the library. I stood under this tree while the tour guide talked and thought about what a perfect day this was - a blue sky Saturday, with a beloved cousin, in a town I love so much.