Sunday, October 19, 2014

A sale in historic Mimosa Hall

Toward the end of September I saw an estate sale advertised.  It was a 3-day sale in a historic house in Roswell, Georgia.  When I realized that it was to take place in Mimosa Hall, I decided to go, just to see the house at least.  I had seen it from the street, but could not distinguish much of the house.  So this sale was a good opportunity to get a close look at the house and see more.

Roswell is a town about 15 miles (24 km) from our home and has many historic houses.  I have already mentioned Bulloch Hall which we visited at a couple of Christmas times and during their quilt shows in the spring (here is a link, and here another link on the quilts.)  Below are some pictures I took of Bulloch Hall then.

The City of Roswell purchased 3 historic homes - which they call "A Southern Trilogy."  They are the homes of three of the families who founded this town.

In addition to Bulloch Hall, we visited the exterior of Barrington Hall a couple of times, and I'll have posts on those visits.  You can see my husband, below, sitting on Barrington Hall porch last January while I was taking some pictures of the garden.

Last Friday, October 17, 2014, we visited the third antebellum house, the Archibald Smith Plantation.  I'll also have a post on it soon.

A fourth house, Mimosa Hall, was also built in the mid-1800s, but is now in private hands.  It is very close to Bulloch Hall and the Saturday of the sale, September 20, 2014, I parked in the street, just a few yards from Mimosa Hall, right in front of the gate of Bulloch Hall.  It was a very sunny and warm day but I did not see any visitors on its grounds.  It was also the annual Arts Festival on the Square in Roswell.

Since going to this sale I have found out that Mimosa Hall was built between 1839 and 1840 for John Dunwody (1786-1858) (also spelled Dunwoody) a coastal planter who had moved to Roswell from Liberty County, near Savannah, Ga.  The house was built adjacent to Bulloch Hall because John Dunwoody's wife was the sister of Major James. S. Bulloch.  The house, built of wood, burned down the night of its housewarming.  Another house made of brick covered with stucco and scored to resemble stone, was built on the same site and called Phoenix Hall.  Below is the house in 1940 and John Dunwody (courtesy Georgia Archives.)

During the Civil War the house was a hospital. In 1869 the house was sold to General Andrew J. Hansell and was renamed Mimosa Hall (because of a large number of mimosa trees on the estate.)  He sold it 30 years later but in 1947 Granger Hansell re-purchased the house for the family (he was the great-grandson of Andrew Hansell.)  Granger's son, Edward and his wife Sylvia, lived in the house until their deaths.  Their daughter Sally now owns the house.  I understood that Sally Hansen is re-decorating the house and was selling the furnishing of her father, Edward, who passed away in 2012.  It was not easy walking on the driveway which is paved with large rocks - larger than regular cobblestones.  The garden looked very inviting with its enormous century-old trees.

Entering the house, the foyer reminded me of Bulloch Hall.  I later found out that the two houses are very much alike.  I was surprised also to see that so few people were at the sale - I guess it was because of the Arts festival.  Another large event was going on also in a nearby church.


The sale had started on Friday and by Saturday, the day I went there, many of the items had been sold, but there were still many more - furniture, china, paintings, dishes, silverware, books, etc.  (Click on collage to enlarge.)

I looked more at the rooms in the house rather than what was for sale.  I could not stop going to the books though and did purchase one.  It is called "Born in Paradise" by Armine von Tempski, a first 1940 edition (for $2.)  It is the true story of the young Armine on Haleakala Ranch in Hawaii - a 60,000 acres ranch.  It describes the way the island of Maui was in the early 1900s before the real estate boom and strip malls.  I think it will be a good book to read during the cold of winter.

Upstairs was a room filled with clothes and shoes.  I did not go in.  The other room had what was left of a doll house, toys, linens, more clothes and hats.  A lovely chandelier was hanging in the hall, but I don't think it was for sale.

Then I walked up to the attic.  Just as the attic in Bulloch Hall, it was rather large.  It was filled with a great variety of items, old, quaint, cute, shabby, broken and almost new.

Walking back downstairs I stopped on several steps to look at three lovely paintings.

The late Sylvia Hansell was an an accomplished artist.  Her paintings hang in some regional art galleries and in private collections.  In addition to the stairwell her paintings were being offered for sale throughout Mimosa Hall.

As I was ready to leave one of the sales associates announced that there was now a 25% discount on all items.  In addition to the book I had already selected there were two other objects I liked - a lamp in the attic, with a long and narrow unusual lampshade and one of Ms. Hansell's paintings.  I was told she painted it in the Mimosa Hall gardens.  The colors were soft and bright at the same time, in hues of lilac, purple and blue.  So I left with my three purchases.  I was also very pleased to have had the chance to visit this historic home.

UPDATE !
June 18, 2016 - I just found out that Mimosa Hall, the family home of the Hansell family for six generations, has been placed on the market.  It is listed at $3,850.000 with 4 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, a double parlor, 6,308 interior square feet, 10 fireplaces, and heart-of-pine floors throughoutA swimming pool, a barn and century old trees are included in the 9 acres of beautiful gardens.


When I read that 21 acres of adjoining woods are also for sale it scared me.  I just hope developers are not going to turn Mimosa Hall and Bulloch Hall into the center of new condominiums.  Selling lots around these historic homes to build gaudy, fake castles or ugly ego-busting McMansions would be a disaster for elegant Roswell (apart from the $ obtained ...) - let's hope not!

Yesterday, June 17, 2016, I published a post and at the end of it I and explained the differences between the commonly known mimosa tree in the Southern US states and the mimosa tree in the Provence area of France, with pictures.  Please click here to read it.

30 comments:

rosaria williams said...

I'd spend the whole day, and the next, just rambling through the place, savoring each decor, appreciating the small and big things that spoke of a past life. It's a bit like walking through a museum.

Helen said...

My son lived in Roswell quite close to the downtown historic area for fifteen years ~~ I enjoyed touring all ot the lovely homes during visits. He lives in the Denver area now, a completely different kind of visit but just as delightful! Happy Sundsy.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

What an interesting history this house has....! As always, you make a place come alive with your pictures and commentary.
That is such an unusual Lamp Shade---I don't think I have ever seen one like it, or even close to it! You made three great purchases, my dear!

David said...

Vagabonde, Now that's what I call a house sale! Some very nice things for sale... I'm glad we didn't live close to this home or I might have been in trouble re: my wife purchasing a few items... Roswell was quite forward thinking when it purchased those beautiful homes! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Marie-Anne said...

Quelle chance de pouvoir visiter une aussi belle maison historique et de pouvoir acheter quelques objets par la meme occasion!
Bises et bonne semaine!!!!!

The Broad said...

My goodness what a lot to look at perchance to buy!Congratulations on your purchases -- you chose very well.

bayou said...

Hello Vagabonde, what a great house to visit and items to look at! Exactly my cup of tea :-). Sad, that the date was not so well chosen to have more visitors. How odd to read that the house burned down on the 'housewarming' evening :-O - totally ironic, must have been dreadful to be a guest and watch that drama. I love the dolls house and do perfectly understand that you loved this painting. It reminds me very much of french impressionists. Beautiful colours as well!

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

What a wonderful and interesting estate sale that was. Just being able to go in and walk around the history of the place must have been a thrill.

Nadezda said...

Vagabonde, you made a great choice: this painting is awesome, something of impressionists, I think it cost a lot of money. I also would buy plate, toys and books. I liked the front garden of Mimosa hall, with old trees.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

I love your great finds! Thank you for sharing these amazing buidings!

Al said...

That is a beautiful, elegant home.

Carola Bartz said...

Why was I thinking of "Gone with the Wind" all the time? Hm, I wonder...
That one painting - the one to last, bottom right - looks like a rock formation in Arches National Park.

Ginnie said...

You tickle me to death, Vagabonde, with all the things you see and buy, especially the books. I can just imagine what YOUR estate sale will look like if you ever have one! Speaking of which, will you have one before you move to Nashville????

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Vagabonde ... what a treasure trove of a visit - fascinating to see the house and its contents. I'd have loved to have gone .. like you mostly to view and check out the house .. but all those goodies ..

Wonderful purchases you made ... three interesting choices - cheers Hilary

Sweet Posy Dreams said...

What wonderful houses. Mimosa Hall is really lovely. The painting you got is fabulous, very Impressionist! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm so enjoying poking around on yours. The chalk art from earlier post is amazing.

Down by the sea said...

How wonderful it must have been to visit this lovely old building and also come away with some items too. I love the colours in the painting. Sarah x

Sallie (fulltime-life) said...

I love the painting you purchased. Neat to get to visit this private home in addition to the ones that are always open to the public. I wonder how the owners will decorate it now.

Jono said...

It's always fun to see how the other half lives. I love going to estate sales and possibly finding a small treasure or an item I cannot live without.

Shammickite said...

I would have loved to be at that sale with you, especially after the announcemant of the 25% discount!! I really like the paintings that were offered for sale, and the one you bought is very nice indeed. Good choice!

Valerie said...

Some pretty impressive buildings and artwork there - thank you for sharing (and visiting)

Mae Travels said...

I find it strange that someone would sell all of her parents' possessions just like that! Your descriptions were fascinating, along with the historic information.

Amanda Summer said...

I love tooling around old houses and the south has some of the best.

claude said...

Hello !
Magnifique cette maison de maître !
Elle a une petit côté "Autant en emporte le vent".
Les peintes sont très belle et j'aime beaucoup la petite pendule.
J'en ai une semblable mais beaucoup moins travaillée.
Bises

Glenda C. Beall said...

My sister lives in Roswell and I go there often. Wish I had been there for this estate sale although I don't need to buy things. I need to sell some of my own. Thanks for showing us through this beautiful house with all those items for sale. So glad you found some things you will enjoy. I love your blog posts. Your photography is exquisite.

Hilary said...

What a great way to spend some time and make some fine purchases. You've documented it so well. And I quite like the painting you selected. It's got vivid colours and a feel of Impressionist art. And that's a very cool lame. Good selections!

Pat said...

How splendid to have these fascinating houses within reach.
I would have been sorely tempted to spend all my spare cash on the goodies on show.
Setting the house on fire is rather overdoing a housewarming I think:)

Roger Gauthier said...

Quel endroit magnifique. Je te l'ai déjà dit, tout ce travail que tu mets dans tes messages, comme ici pour nous faire visiter les lieux et découvrir la maison comme si nous y étions !

Le responsable savait ce qu'il faisait en annonçant une réduction de 25%. Ça a fonctionné… :-)

Magic Love Crow said...

What an amazing home and what an amazing sale! Love your three purchases ;o)

This is Belgium said...

happy Halloween, Vagabonde!

Perpetua said...

I love the history of this elegant house, which from your lovely photos is still very obviously a home full of fascinating objects. I'm not surprised you were tempted to buy those three items. I would have found it hard to stop at three. :-)

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