Sunday, February 28, 2016

Whitehall Village House, c.1935, Clarke County, GA

Whitehall Road, photographer facing north
This old home is located just east of the bridge on Whitehall Road, that spans the Oconee River, and across from the main entrance to the Whitehall Mill Lofts complex. Though wearing a fresh looking coat of white paint, all of the doors and windows in the home have been boarded. Overall, the house seems to be maintained very well in spite of the obvious lack of residents.

A quick search of the tax records revealed that the property was sold in 1999 to the State of Georgia, along with a few other adjoining properties that all have access to the Oconee River. It appears that the properties have been secured as part of an effort to lock up river front property for the future expansion of the Greenway. Though this two-acre property doesn't have river frontage, it was sold along with an adjacent thirty-one acre property by the same group to the state.

Current Whitehall Mill Lofts
As mentioned above, across the road is the entrance to the Whitehall Mill complex, formally known as the Athens Manufacturing Company. The original mill and mill race was constructed in 1830, and replaced in 1854 by a turbine mill. The turbine mill burned in 1892 and was rebuilt in 1893 with the mill that still stands, and was in operation until 1988.  The mill complex was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

The surrounding community that built up around the mill was named Whitehall, and includes many examples of  mill town style homes. The abandoned home was surely connected somehow to the mill, though it would have been one of the more grand homes in the area. The White family purchased the mill in 1848, beginning three generations of mill ownership, thus being the origin of the name Whitehall. Their family home, White Hall, c.1892 is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and can be learned about  here.

At one time Whitehall was an incorporated city within Clarke County. In recent years, many of the smaller mill houses have been purchased and renovated, being located in a part of the county that has seen an explosion of growth in the past 15 years.

Hopefully, the old house is being maintained with a plan to incorporate it somehow into the expansion of the Greenway; perhaps as an interpretive center of some kind. Time will tell.

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