Touring Milledgeville: Antebellum Home

The last stop on our morning trolley tour was the Brown Stetson Sanford House — all of these antebellum homes seem to have several names. “Antebellum” refers to homes built before the Civil War. The are lovingly restored, many still lived in, and as you can imagine, money pits to maintain.

This house clearly belonged to a wealthy family: there was an early version of a recliner, some stunning ceramic plates, and the child’s room had a fully fitted-out dollhouse. The phrase “sleep tight” had to do with the stringing on the beds, which predated coil springs and was covered not by a thick mattress but something more resembling a duvet or coverlet. Must have been uncomfortable. The homes were originally heated with fireplaces, which worked better here in Georgia than they did the farm homes of my father’s rural Iowa. The home’s residents used chamber pots at night, which must have been stinky in the summer heat.

These really old houses have a musty smell, no matter how restored they are, which plays havoc with my allergies. I could never be a docent, no matter how interesting the history, much less live in a home like this, because I couldn’t spend so many hours inside.

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