For three savvy investors, saving this abandoned 19th-century home was a labor of love. The amazing home, which was previously a decaying remnant of the past, has undergone extensive restoration and is now again recognized as a local icon in Milledgeville, Georgia. You won't believe the mind-blowing transformation of this abandoned mansion, captured by Leland Kent before and after its renovation. (Before and After photos at the end of article.)
When Rockwell House was shown here in 2017, it was tucked away behind overgrown vegetation and secured by ominous wrought-iron gates. Colonel Samuel Rockwell, a soldier, lawyer, and slave owner, had the enigmatic abandoned home built for him in 1838. Its steep stairs and huge Ionic columns are reminiscent of a large ancient Greek temple. It was designed by architect Joseph Lane in the Federal style with Greek Revival characteristics.
After Colonel Rockwell passed away in 1841, the house eventually went to Georgia's governor-elect, Herschel Vespasian Johnson, of the Democratic Party. The home was owned by a number of different businessmen after Johnson went away. The home was first acquired by insurance salesman Marshall Bland in 1904, after which it was handed on to his cousin Oscar Ennis, who stayed there with his family until 1962.
Rockwell House had been abandoned for 70 years and had fallen into a terrible state of disrepair. Three young investors took on the task of bringing the dilapidated southern beauty back to her former splendor after seeing the possibilities of this interesting ancient property.
In 2019, there were three local investors in Georgia who loved old homes: Jacob Hawkins, Will Walker, and Ross Sheppard, who was the realtor. (Also specialized in the"historic home preservation.") purchased the property for a low price of $350,000 (£254k).
During the restoration, Kyle Campbell, a property conservation specialist with Preservation South, assisted the team as well. It took a lot of work to give the abandoned home new life, but the benefits were great. During the renovation, members of the Ennis family, including Buddy Ennis, who spent his first 15 years of life there, paid a visit to their former home. Fortunately, Buddy assisted in revealing his little son's footprint that had been embedded in the back stairs' concrete.
This image was taken in February 2021, and the renovated home looks gorgeous. With remnants of the shade visible on the structure under more recent coats of paint, the cheerful yellow color remains authentic to the building's original appearance. The color of ochre, a naturally occurring pigment made of iron oxide, clay, and sand, may vary from yellow to a rich orange or brown. The investors created this lovely, unique shade for the home using paint analysis and historical information.
There is no denying that the renovation of this old house was a spectacular triumph. You may now stay in a great old piece of Deep South history for a single night, as well as for weddings and celebrations, by renting it via Airbnb. Visit the mansion's website and follow the restoration process on Facebook to learn more about this gorgeously restored relic.