Your Hometown Stories: Liberty Hall

 

 

Crawfordville, Ga. Home to about 534 residents and has been the set for 13 movies over the years including Sweet Home Alabama in 2009.

But Crawfordville is probably not known for Liberty Hall, a historic house museum that was home to Alexander Stephens.

John Lynn has more in this week’s Your Hometown Stories.

Crawfordville, Georgia, the county seat of Taliaferro County, and home to Liberty Hall, a beautiful museum which is part of A. H. Stephens Historic Park.

It was the home of Alexander H. Stephens, a prominent Georgia political figure, Born in Crawfordville in 1812. Later, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Vice President of the Confederate States of America, and after the end of the American Civil War, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives again, and governor of Georgia.

The house was also known as Bachelor’s Hall in 1859. The home was Stephens’ “isolated haven,” situated twenty miles away from Washington, Georgia.

Stephens was born two miles north in a log cabin on his father’s farm; he was orphaned at the age of fourteen. He later purchased the estate in 1845 from the Williamson Byrd family, a relative of his stepmother. From 1872 to 1875, Stephens tore down the old house, except for two rear rooms, and erected the current structure, which is restored to its original appearance. The home is a simple two-story white frame house, The first floor includes Stephens’ bedroom, including original walnut furniture, a round table at which Stephens wrote, Stephens’ wheelchair, a repaired original flowered ingrain carpet, and wallpaper with blue and gold stripes. The dining room includes “massive chairs” replicated from a single remaining original chair. To the rear is the library, where Stephens wrote from 1868 to 1870 his Constitutional View of the Late War between the States, and at the home’s rear are restored outbuildings: Free slave quarters, a wine cellar, smokehouse, woodhouse, washhouse, and chicken house.

It was in this very house that Stephens was captured by Union Army forces from a detachment of the 4th Iowa Cavalry, after which Stephens formally surrendered and was imprisoned.

After Stephens’ death in office in 1883, his sitting room was preserved as he left it and the hall passed to his surviving relatives. It served as a boardinghouse until 1932, when it was donated to the State of Georgia.

Today, the house is renovated to its 1875 appearance. The home was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 13, 1970 and was designated a National Historic Landmark on May 4, 1983. The museum holds a lot of History and is just a short trip away. For your hometown stories, I’m John Lynn, WJBF News Channel 6.

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