Wednesday, June 01, 2011

My parents' home

Since I was sharing some of the history of the Village yesterday (even if it's part of my history more than village history), I thought I'd share the history of the house that I grew up in.

The house itself was built by my maternal great-great-grandfather, George Riley Wells, between 1867 and 1875 (just after General Sherman marched through Atlanta). It was actually built as a rental property (it is currently available for rent). Until my parents moved into the house when my sister and I were little, no Wells had ever lived in it.

As to the house itself, the walls are approximately 18 inches thick in the original part of the house. The outside of the walls are Georgia red clay, granite and a 'Savannah pink' mortar. They are filled with horse hair for insulation. The floors are heart of pine. The original fireplaces are now filled in, but there were two, each of which heated 2 rooms. The ceilings are 12-14 feet.

It's no longer there, but there was a staircase that spiraled up to the attic. At some point it was decided that an indoor bathroom would be good, so the staircase was sacrificed. Some of the stairs are still there, but you have to access them through a small elevated opening that also gives you access to the attic.

I will admit that my parents made a few alterations to the house. First, they added heat, a necessity when it comes to Georgia winters. After I was at college, they added air conditioning. So, I had no clue how to handle the "cold" indoors for a long time after I moved out. The nice thing about it, though, was that growing up all you needed was a fan to circulate air. The house itself took care of most of the rest itself. When they got ready to move out, they added tile to the front entry way. At some point (about Kindergarten/1st grade for me) they added on a bedroom/bathroom at the back of the house. They converted the screened in porch for my paternal grandfather.

Now, what's cool to know is that the George Riley Wells also built the Wells-Brown house in Stone Mountain. This is a home that was donated to the Stone Mountain Historic Society (it passed out of my family ages ago). You can find more information about this home here: http://www.stonemountainhistoricsociety.org

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