By all means, plan a visit to Cartersville, Georgia. And, while you're there, take time to schedule a tour of Rose Lawn Museum. The restored Victorian mansion is lovely to see, but the stories you'll hear about Samuel Porter Jones, his family and his tutor Rebecca Latimer Felton, who became the first woman to serve in the United States Senate, will inspire you. I promise.
If Jane Drew, Director of Rose Lawn Museum, leads your tour, I can guarantee you'll be entertained. She actually lived for a number of years on the same street as Rose Lawn and personally watched it go from the disrepair and neglect of the 1970's to its present immaculate condition. She has been particularly instrumental in restoring the rose gardens surrounding the home and schedules the many events held on the grounds.
A fact that will completely amaze you is that what you now see as the second story of the home was once the first floor. When it was first built in the 1860's, it was a small cottage. In 1872, the attic was converted into bedrooms, and in 1885, Sam Jones and his family bought the home and moved in. Ten years later, the astonishing project began of lifting up the present house and putting a new first floor with a basement underneath. That architectural feat cost a whopping $110.
The ceilings, stained glass windows, lace curtains and arrangement of rooms all tell a story, and it is easy to imagine all of the guests who came through the front door since the Joneses were frequent hosts. According to records, the famous Billy Sunday was once in the home.
I loved seeing Sam Jones' daughter's wedding dress on display. It was simpler than normal for the day, because her wedding was a year after her father's death, and they were still observing a period of mourning.
Sam Jones began his professional life as a brilliant attorney, but alcoholism came very close to ruining him. I mentioned "eternal significance" in the title of this post because Jones got saved in 1872 and became a powerful and effective evangelist. Be sure to read my post on Friday to learn more about that period of his life.
The Carriage House in the back of the property was said to be Sam Jones' favorite spot at Rose Lawn. It is now a very popular venue for parties, receptions and even weddings.
Currently, tours are conducted Tuesdays through Fridays by appointment only. Call (770) 387-5162 to schedule your visit.