Roswell, Georgia, has all of the characteristic elements of a Southern village — a picturesque town square, a lush green park with a white bandstand and a historic river mill. But Roswell also has something that most of the other small towns around Atlanta don’t — a trio of antebellum homes.
‘Roswell has three antebellum homest ath are open for tour three days a week,’ said Marsha Saum, tourism sales manager at the Historic Roswell Convention and Visitors Bureau. ‘We call them the Southern Trilogy.’
Civil War buffs know that Atlanta and much of the surrounding area were largely destroyed by Sherman and his troops in 1864. But Roswell escaped the path of Sherman’s destruction, and today the Southern Trilogy gives visitors perhaps the best look into what the lifestyle of the Atlanta-area elites would have been like in the time before the Civil War.
During the short time I had to tour Roswell, Marsha and I made stops at all of the homes. The first, Bulloch Hall, is a temple-style Greek Revival mansion built in 1839. The family that lived there were influential members of the area — Margaret Mitchell once wrote about them in a newspaper article — and ancestors of president Theodore Roosevelt. The home has furnishings from the period, along with the stories of both family members and slaves that spent time at the estate.
The second member of the trilogy, Barrington Hall, is another classical Southern mansion. The most notable aspect of this home is its antebellum garden — curators and local gardeners have gone to great lengths to re-create the garden that the home’s original owners planted in the back yard. The garden features historic heirloom botanicals, planted in the same arrangements that the property’s first gardener created.
An estate called Smith Plantation rounds out the trilogy. Smith Plantation features 100 percen original furnishings, so groups visiting today will see a home interior that looks just the way it did when the Smith family lived there. The home also has 10 intact outbuildings, including slave’s quarters, an ice house, corn crib, guest cabins and a covered well.
On a perfectly sunny spring day, these beautiful homes and the flowers blooming around them made Roswell seem as picturesque as possible.
Barrington Hall’s antebellum garden
Dogwoods blooming on the grounds of Smith Plantation