The Georgia Trust


The Story: While the popular image of a rural antebellum South revolves around sprawling Tara-like plantations, in reality, the majority of Georgia’s pre-Civil War farms had fewer than 500 acres. The Cowen Farmstead, built between 1854 and 1855 by Stephen D. Cowen in Acworth, was one such property. While much of the area was torched by Sherman’s troops, the Plantation Plain house survived. Still, through the years, the farmstead was reduced from 479 acres at its peak to 3 acres by 1959. For more than 140 years, the house continued as a private owner-occupied residence until the mid-1990s. Slated for demolition to make way for townhomes, the house was saved by Acworth preservationists, who encouraged the developer to deed the house and 1/3-acre of land to the Acworth Society for Historic Preservation in 1998.

Threat: The building has suffered damage through the years: the front porch has been lost to time and the window sashes destroyed by vandals. While listed on the National Register, the farmstead’s owners could no longer maintain the property, and the city is being pushed to condemn the land. The property is just one of several significant historic properties throughout the rapidly developing metro Atlanta that were formerly in rural areas but are now threatened by impending development and sprawl.

Solution: The Georgia Trust was approached to receive donation of the property, and took ownership in October 2005 as part of the Trust’s Revolving Fund, In coming months, the Trust will be seeking cash and in-kind donations to initiate exterior restoration work, including the foundation, roof and window repair and painting, and the house will be resold. Located between I-75 and downtown Acworth, the house could be rehabilitated for office use, with the purchaser completing the remaining interior restoration work.






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