The Georgia Trust

2006 PLACES IN PERIL: ANDALUSIA

The Story: One of the most widely respected fiction writers in American literature, Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964) found much of her inspiration at Andalusia, which was purchased by her uncle in 1930 as a dairy farm. Many of O'Connor's stories, which have been translated into more than 25 languages, are standard fare in high school and college courses, and fans flock to the property today to learn about her life and see first-hand her inspiration. The 544-acre estate consists of a 21-acre farm, which includes 13 structures—the c. 1860 Main House, barns, sheds and a water tower—along with hayfields, pasture, livestock ponds, natural wetlands and forests.

Threat: Andalusia’s threat is two-fold. The farm has not been occupied as a residence since 1964, and until the Flannery O’Connor-Andalusia Foundation acquired the property in 2001, the Plantation Plain Main House and its outbuildings had suffered weathering, vandalism and neglect from the lack of constant use. Jack and Louise Hill's house, a tenant farmer's house on the property, and other such outbuildings require emergency stabilization to prevent further damage to roofs, exterior siding, windows, doors, interior finishes and fixtures. While many of its buildings deteriorate, developers are circling. Andalusia, it seems, is prime real estate. The once secluded farm is not for sale, but it’s located adjacent to a rapidly expanding commercial district along U.S. Hwy. 441. Large-scale residential development is sprouting up to the north, a giant big-box retailer to the south, and auto dealers, motels and retailers sit directly across from the property’s entrance.

Solution: A sense of urgency lingers over the tranquil landscape. Unless the site is restored and preserved, ideally as a destination for scholars, students, tourists and readers of O'Connor's work, the farm complex will be lost forever, succumbed to the encroaching urban sprawl. The site represents scores of historic sites across Georgia that need additional funds to fulfill their mission and operate as museums. In November 2003, the foundation received a grant to develop a comprehensive plan for the farm’s restoration, and just recently started restoring the water tower thanks to a Georgia Heritage Grant. But the foundation’s work is just the beginning, and additional funding is imperative to provide stable stewardship and to operate as a museum.

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