As we celebrate the Georgia Trust’s 50th anniversary, we take great pride in reflecting on the remarkable projects that have defined our commitment to preserving Georgia’s heritage. One such project that stands as a testament to our mission is the saving and subsequent rehabilitation of the McLeroy House in Madison, Georgia. This historic gem, built circa 1890, beautifully blends elements of the Italianate and Queen Anne architectural styles, and its journey from near demolition to receiving an Excellence in Rehabilitation Award in 2015 is nothing short of inspiring.
Joseph M. McLeroy built this house around 1890 in an up-and-coming area of Madison near the Georgia Railroad and the newly arrived Covington & Macon Railroad (later part of the Central of Georgia Railroad). The structure is a Folk Victorian center hall Cottage with Italianate and East Lake-influenced elements decorating the gables, eaves, and porch. The house was home to many Madison families over the years but had become rental property by the end of the twentieth century.
The historic house had, unfortunately, fallen into a state of disrepair and neglect over time. In 2009, thanks to the Madison Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) a demolition request was denied. Soon after, the Georgia Trust stepped in and acquired the home through its Revolving Fund.
The Georgia Trust ensured the house was stabilized and secured with the addition of a new roof, and hosted a volunteer workday to mothball the property. Joe Smith of Hall Smith_Architecture prepared pro bono rehabilitation plans for the Trust to serve as a marketing tool and guide for a future owner. In the spring of 2011, the Trust sold the property to a preservation-minded buyer, Sandy Sanford, with the agreement it would be rehabilitated. A labor of love, Sandy performed much of the work himself.
Due to direct contact with the soil, the foundation and sills of the kitchen were completely deteriorated. The structure was raised and propped on steel beams while the support structure below was reconstructed. The site was re-graded in order to correct water flow and eliminate wood-to-soil contact. The crowning achievement was ultimately the restoration of the front porch. The porch had been lost for almost a decade but had been recorded in several photos over the years. The architectural plans created by Hall Smith_Architecture, including the designs for the intricate sawn and turned decorative elements for the porch, were used and Mr. Sanford milled these elements himself, recreating the former glory of the house’s facade.
In 2015, the culmination of years of dedication and hard work was met with a resounding triumph. The McLeroy House was awarded for Excellence in Rehabilitation by the Georgia Trust.
The restoration of the McLeroy House serves as a shining example of what can be achieved when a community comes together to protect its heritage. It is a reminder that even in the face of adversity, with dedication, expertise, and a shared vision, we can save our past for the benefit of our future.
As we celebrate the triumphant restoration of the McLeroy House and the Georgia Trust’s 50th anniversary, we invite you to join us in continuing our journey of preservation at the upcoming Fall Ramble in Madison, Georgia. This event offers a unique opportunity to step inside magnificent homes and explore fascinating historic sites, all while experiencing the rich history and charm of Madison. It’s a chance to connect with the heritage we work tirelessly to protect. Don’t miss this extraordinary experience! Join us in celebrating the past, present, and future of preservation in Madison.
Learn more and secure your tickets today by visiting our Fall Ramble webpage.
Support the work of the Georgia Trust and programs like our Revolving Fund by Becoming a Member today!
See more about the history of the Georgia Trust on our 50th Anniversary blog Celebrating 50.