The Taylor-Grady House is an historic home and museum in Athens, Georgia available for tours and event rentals. The Greek Revival mansion, built in the mid 1800’s, is named for its most famous owner, Henry Grady. Grady was the editor of Atlanta’s daily newspaper at the turn of the century, and a leader in reintegrating the south after the U.S. Civil War. The home’s first owner was General Robert Taylor, whose family built the home in the 1840’s.
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The two-story wood-frame home sits on a sizeable lot surrounded by lawn and gardens. Thirteen grand Doric columns surround the home on three sides where the roof overhangs the front porch. The interior plan follows a traditional center-hall plan. Woodwork, plaster, and fireplace mantels have been refurbished and are presented in their original design.
The home’s Boxwood Garden was designed by Hubert B. Owens, who in 1928 founded one of the United States’ earliest Landscape Architecture Programs at the University of Georgia. A boxwood garden is characterized by its trimmed stylized boxwood hedges, which form geometric shapes and formal borders throughout.
History: The home was built in the 1840’s by General Robert Taylor, as a summer residence. Robert Taylor had immigrated as a child to the United States in the late 1700’s from Ireland and settled in Savannah, Georgia. General Taylor grew up to be a wealthy cotton farmer and merchant and was commissioned a Brigadier General in the Georgia Militia. The General and his wife Eliza moved to the Athens home permanently when their three sons enrolled nearby in the University of Georgia. When General Taylor passed in 1859, his estate included more than 17,000 acres of land throughout Georgia.
In the 1860’s the house was occupied by Anne Gattrell Grady and Henry W Grady, her son. Henry lived in the home between 1865 and 1868 while he attended the University of Georgia. Although he lived there briefly, Henry had fond memories of what he referred to as his “old southern home.” Known as an impressive, nationally known orator, Henry was also the managing editor of the Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta’s daily newspaper. Under his management, the Constitution became a major regional force. His speeches stressed the need for reconciliation after the Civil War, and encouraged the north to invest in the south to promote economic development and assist the south with the transition away from an economy that previously relied on slave labor. Grady is known for coining the widely used phrase, “the New South” at a famous speech in New York City in 1886. Mr. Grady passed from pneumonia at the young age of 39.
Through the 1900’s the home passed through several owners and with that, more changes. An attached kitchen and rear sleeping porch were added in the 1890’s while the home was occupied by Mrs. Louise D. Dubose. Plumbing and electricity were added in the early 1900’s under the occupancy of Jesse Hoyt Beusse. During the stock market crash of 1929 Mr. Beusse was forced to sell the home at a loss, roughly ten years after he bought it.
In the 1950’s, the home was abandoned, vandalized and looted. Most all of the interior architectural elements were destroyed. It wasn’t until the mid 1960’s that it was sold to the Athens Junior Assembly by way of the City of Athens, who immediately went to work on its restoration. The Assembly became the official stewards of the home in 1968, and then one year later, after close to ten years of renovations, the house was opened to the public in May of 1969. Today, the restored historic home is managed by the Junior League of Athens, who utilizes it as an event space in addition to offering tours. The home achieved National Historic Landmark status in 1976.
Ongoing Programs and Education: Individual visitors to the home may opt for a self-guided tour, while group tours are available for groups of 10 or more. The Taylor-Grady House is just one stop in the popular Classic City Tours, organized by the Athens Welcome Center. These include the Museum Mile Tour and the Athens Heritage Tour, both of which make several stops at historical sites and sites of interest throughout the city of Athens.
Both the indoors and outdoors of the Taylor-Grady House are available for weddings or corporate event rentals for up to 350 guests.
634 Prince Avenue Athens, GA 30601, Phone: 706-549-8688