Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Shoulderbone Plantation was built in the classic antebellum style. The word “antebellum” comes from the Latin ante meaning “before” and bellum meaning “war”. In the United States it means “Pre-Civil War” for the North and “Pre-War Between the States” for the South. Southerners do not like to call this war “Civil”. This type of architecture was introduced after the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 by rich Anglo-Americans who moved to the area and built homes in the Greek revival style, with columns, grand balcony, et al. (Click on the photographs to enlarge them.)
Georgia did not have many stately plantation houses like this before the war, and after General William T. Sherman’s March to the Sea, just a few were left standing. Shoulderbone Plantation is 8 miles west of the little town of Sparta (in middle Georgia ), and escaped destruction somehow. It stands today “frozen in time.”
In 1850, Mr. William Jackson had a Greek Revival Plantation house built for his son on 1500 acres of land on the site. This land had been granted to the previous owner, Mr. Knowles, in 1796 who then sold it to Mr. Jackson in 1832. The property was sold again in the early 1900s to Jefferson Lanier, the great grandfather of the present owner, Robert Lanier.
Mr. Robert Lanier had the plantation house restored from 1982 to 1986 to its original character. Workmanship typical of the antebellum period was used, and much effort was taken to utilize original materials. The plantation house was placed on the national Registry of Historic Places in August 1984.
In addition to the plantation house, the property includes two other historical houses, a log cabin, and several original out buildings – all of them sitting now on about 2,325 acres of land.
Shoulderbone Plantation is not open to the public. This is a working plantation where Mr. Lanier breeds high quality Angus cattle. Many outings, such as hunting trips and quail shoots take place on the property as well. About a month ago we were invited to a barbecue dinner at Shoulderbone Plantation.
It was a lovely sunny afternoon, and it was a pleasure to walk along the fields covered with wild flowers and observe several handsome horses.
Then the horses came to observe us -
We strolled in the garden and it was like entering a magical place where time had stood still. Looking at a row of carriages, we imagined that we were in the Old South.
The name “Shoulderbone” came from Shoulderbone Creek near by. On 3 November, 1786, a treaty known as the “Treaty of Shoulderbone Creek” was signed between the Creek Indian Nation and the State of Georgia . It was a treaty of “Peace, commerce and amity”.
After a hardy meal we drove around the scenic countryside through peaceful meadows.
It was as though we had stepped into the past – and we had, because most of these stunning plantation houses are gone now, and as Margaret Mitchell says in her book Gone with the Wind: “Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind... “