Panola Hall has shaped Georgia’s social, business, and cultural life for centuries. Built in 1854, this sterling example of Antebellum Greek Revival architecture offers the best in relaxed Southern living lifestyle.
The current owners bought Panola Hall in 2006 and at the time the home was covered with invasive wisteria, grape vine, honeysuckle, palmettos, and palm trees. An absent back porch hazarded a 10 foot free fall from the central hall door. The shutters were tilted and broken windows allowed birds and other animals the ability to enter the structure.
Despite some of the issues stated above the remarkably stable structure of the house remained with massive hand cut and hand fitted granite blocks faced with hand-chased mock-limestone formed a stabile foundation. The stalwart beams, hand-hewn from heart pine and joined with mortise and dowel, formed strong “bones.” Early builders knew that timber cut from the heart of mature pine trees strengthens with age and possesses a sap unappealing to termites and other pests, contributing to the long lifecycle of this structure. The interior woodwork of the home also remained in superb condition. And despite the home’s post World War II use as a boarding house, little of the historic structure had been adulterated.
In cooperation with the Georgia Department of Historic Preservation, the property underwent a comprehensive restoration. The tangled jungle growth is now tamed to reveal original garden elements. The magnificent heart of pine floors gleam again. The brick carriage path is excavated, the pond repaired and populated with fish, custom shutters and hardware replaced, and the house painted. The result is a preserved high example of the American Greek Revival architectural legacy of the American South.
Panola Hall is located on North Madison Avenue, which is the crown jewel of the Eatonton Historic District – stately homes and massive trees dot the landscape, along with many of the oldest churches. The historic Carnegie Library, built in 1916 with support from Panola Hall owner Dr Benjamin Hunt, sits directly across from the home. The Plaza Arts Center also faces the home and hosts a range of cultural events.
Downtown Eatonton is minutes away from two of Georgia’s largest recreational lakes – Oconee and Sinclair. You find easy access to championship golf, excellent health care, and a variety of locally owned restaurants. Georgia’s Lake Country is known for historic preservation and commitment to supporting arts and culture, with the Plaza Arts Center, Oconee Arts Foundation, and Madison-Morgan Cultural Center. The Lake Country is centrally located – midway between Atlanta and Augusta, Athens and Macon, and about 90 minutes from Atlanta’s International Airport.
Featured prominently in books on Southern life, the home boasts twelve fireplaces, large twenty-foot wide rooms with full length heart pine floorboards, and soaring ceilings – 12ft on the main and 14ft upstairs. The home has been beautifully updated in a manner respectful of the original form. On the main level you’ll find two parlors and a dining room with triple panel pocket doors, plus a 12ft wide center hall that runs the length of the home. The beautifully appointed kitchen with large center island and granite countertops will make entertaining a delight. A laundry room with half bath is located nearby.
Upstairs is the personal quarters – each of the three bedrooms has been carefully outfitted with bath facilities without interfering with the architectural integrity of the large rooms. The master bedroom has an attached sitting room which is perfect for morning yoga, reading room, or home office space. The large center hallway has a screen door leading to the balcony where one can enjoy the cool seasonal breezes. The lower level was originally quarters for the household staff, and has 9 foot ceilings and both interior and exterior entrances. You’ll find 2200sf of living space here, with four large rooms, each with a fireplace and windows, plus a kitchen and center hall. The private bricked grotto below the front porch gives the space an international flair.
For three centuries, occupants of Panola Hall have reported encounters with beautiful Sylvia, the spirit presence of a refined Southern belle, possibly a former resident. When Sylvia appears, she is gay, her voice is sweet, she is dressed in white, a red rose typically adorns her dark upswept hair, and her appearance is often accompanied by the fragrance of roses. The .62 acre corner lot is fully fenced with vintage landscaping details including a brick carriage path, Grecian domed well house, circular fish pond, and plantings, including a Hunt fig tree. There’s plenty of space to add a pool and carriage house. With a 10’x53′ foot porch spanning the front of the home, and a large deck with double stairway on the rear – this home is well suited to outdoor entertaining and events.
Panola Hall is a classic example of southern Antebellum Greek Revival architecture. The three story square homestead features a raised English-style basement with elegant symmetric exterior and evenly spaced windows. Four two story fluted Doric columns support a grand covered front portico approached by a wide central staircase. Currently for sale, Panola Hall is awaiting its next owners to come and enjoy what the current owners have lovingly done to restore this property while leaving plenty of opportunities for the new owners’ to leave their stamp.