Visiting Thomasville, in southwestern Georgia, to help judge the 2004 Chrysalis remodeling awards (announced June 11, 2004 in Atlanta, during the Southern Building Show), I was pleased to discover a diverse and venerable built environment.
From severely humble, vernacular T-plan houses, to ornate Victorian "winter cottages," to the polychrome brick First United Methodist Church, to the abstract engineering sculpture of the microwave horn towers on the phone company building, Thomasville shows many authentic faces, each with stories to tell.
One story goes with the Melhana Plantation, which hosted editors from Better Homes and Gardens, Southern Living, Sunset, Woman's Day, and ArchitectureWeek, convened by awards organizer Ken Kanline for the judging process.
Over the last ten years, this comfortably posh, traditional plantation has been converted and updated to a leisure destination by the Charles and Fran Lewis family and their genuinely friendly staff. The main building, shown above, is believed to have evolved to its present substantial formality, over the past 175 years, from a weather-boarded dog-trot log cabin originally built in the 1820s.
Main street in downtown Thomasville is still a focus of the community, with a graceful coherence built in local brick, supported by a local preservation incentives program. It was recognized in 1998 with a National Main Street Award.
On the road in Georgia,