Originally created 02/19/03

Restoration will continue on historic home



The Augusta home of George Walton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, is getting a makeover.

Within the past two years, the house, known as Meadow Garden, has had part of its cracked ceiling replaced and new plaster and paint added in eight of its rooms. Now, there are plans to replace stucco in two more rooms, renovate an outhouse that was donated to the estate and spruce up a large, cracked plaster bust of Walton's head.

"This was a necessity to start doing it," said Louise Henry, the restoration chairwoman for Meadow Garden. Paint on some walls had begun to chip away and stucco now needs to be replaced in a kitchen and workroom, she said.

The late 1800s outhouse, and the bust, which Mrs. Henry said could be 50 to 100 years old, were added bonuses to the restoration efforts.

"It (the outhouse) was a gift from someone," Mrs. Henry said. It is expected to be renovated to the side of the Independence Drive house within the next few weeks. "It had been on a plantation in Burke County."

The plaster bust was a gift from the Augusta Museum of History, Mrs. Henry said. Some speculate that it might have been used in a Bicentennial celebration, she said. It is now in disrepair because it was damaged while in storage.

Mrs. Henry, who has been in charge of renovations at Meadow Garden for the past two years, said the most recent restoration efforts are the most extensive since probably the 1960s.

Within the past year, she said, much of the house's early Victorian era furniture has been restored. The house has Victorian pieces in every room and an 1820s Gibson Davis piano from New York.

Now, Mrs. Henry is looking for someone to help her repair the Walton sculpture, and she also would like to add another structure to the property.

"We'd like to have a dependency, and a dependency is what they called an outbuilding," she said. The building typically served as a kitchen or even a schoolhouse, she said. "And they might have had even a room for drying herbs in or a sewing room or weaving room."

Meadow Garden was home to Walton from 1792 to 1804. It was purchased by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1900 for restoration. Today, efforts are funded solely by the DAR, Mrs. Henry said. However, donations have been crucial to the success of the preservation effort.

"A large part of it was donated," Mrs. Henry said.

IF YOU GO

Meadow Garden is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment only on Saturday and Sunday. The home is in front of Walton Rehabilitation Hospital on Independence Drive, which is off 13th Street. For more information, call 724-4174.

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 828-3904 or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.com.