A. W. Roberts House

AWR House 1

A.W. Roberts House

The Alfred W. Roberts House is significant architecturally as one of Ball Ground’s largest houses, originally constructed in the mid-1800s and enlarged around 1900. It is a good example of an evolved house that reflects changing architectural tastes, a practice that was common in small towns in Georgia and the southeast in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is important for its unusual eclectic style which encompasses ‘plantation plain’, Victorian and Classical elements–all a reflection of the historical development of the property between 1855 and 1932.

Architecture

Important exterior architectural details include the balustraded porch with Doric columns, marble front steps, bracketed cornices, brick chimneys, and multiple gables with decorative feather-cut shingle patterns. Interior features associated with the late 19th century period include French doors, chair rail, baseboards, vertical panel tongue-and-groove wainscoting, picture rail, walls with horizontal boards, and original knobs and door locks.

Features associated with the mid-19th century plantation style “two over two” room house which are embedded in the present house include:

  • Hand-hewn sills in the cellar that are mortised and tenoned together
  • Wide boards on stairway wall to basement
  • Wide baseboards and floor boards, and a slightly crude two-panel door into a first floor bedroom
  • Wide ceiling boards, old mantel, wide baseboards, two-panel door, and low ceiling in a second story bedroom

The property has several notable out-buildings– a barn, garage, log pump house, and a well house.

 Landscaping

The Roberts House is important for its rock garden and pet cemetery, as well as [local] marble sidewalks, benches, steps, birdbaths and urns. The property is landscaped with large old red maple, Norway spruce, magnolia, oak, hemlock, Yuka, cypress, cedar and dogwood trees. In addition, the property has informally planted shrubbery, including boxwood, acuba and ivy.

 

History

It is believed that the oldest part of the structure dates from the mid-1850s, and is comprised of what is now the central portion of the house. This consists of two rooms upstairs over two rooms downstairs, (referred to architecturally as ‘two over two’), central hall and stairway, and two chimneys facing the original north and south walls. The kitchen and dining building was originally detached and located just west of the main house.

Local historical significance is measured in terms of the house’s association with the family of Alfred W. Roberts (1844-1918), a prominent merchant and charter citizen of the town of Ball Ground. Alfred W. Roberts purchased the property around 1887, and enlarged and remodeled the original ‘plantation plain’ style structure to include Victorian detailing around 1898. In the late 1910s the style of the exterior of the house was again altered with the addition of a Classical front porch.

A. W. Roberts served in the Confederate Army, and in 1879, he married Althea Georgia Ann Coggins (1861-1932). They had seven children. His marriage into the Coggins family, who were associated with early business concerns in the Canton area, enabled him to broaden his contacts in granite, banking and retailing. Ball Ground was incorporated in 1883, and A. W. Roberts was involved in most phases of the town’s early development as a banker, real estate developer, cotton broker, and creater of the Roberts Marble Company. He was one of the founders of the Bank of Ball Ground in 1906, and founded the Roberts Store which served the town for about 80 years. In addition, his sons Judson, Clyde and Paul owned and operated the family marble monument business. In an effort to provide electricity for the marble manufacturing company, as well as residents in Ball Ground, the Roberts brothers built a log dam on Long Swamp Creek creating a 65 acre lake. This facility brought the first electricity to Ball Ground and was later purchased by Georgia Power Company.

Descendants of Alfred W. Roberts live in the home today.

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