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Andalusia Restoration Project Complete, Open House in March | Arts & Culture

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Andalusia Restoration Project Complete, Open House in March
Andalusia Restoration Project Complete, Open House in March

The restoration project to restore the Hill House at Andalusia has been completed.

According to a news release, the Flannery O'Connor-Andalusia Foundation hosts a public ceremony March 12 at 3 p.m.

Read the full release:

 

The Flannery O'Connor-Andalusia Foundation is proud to announce the completion of the project to restore the Hill house at Andalusia.  To mark the end of the restoration project, the Foundation will host a public ceremony on March 12 at 3:00 p.m.  The Hill house was the home of Jack and Louise Hill, an African-American couple who worked and resided at Andalusia during the time that the highly acclaimed writer Flannery O'Connor lived there and completed virtually all of her published work.  The Hills lived in this two-story house located just northwest of the main house with a boarder, Willie “Shot” Manson.  O’Connor refers to these farm workers on several occasions in her published letters, The Habit of Being.  The Foundation launched the effort to raise the restoration funds from federal, state, and private sources in early 2010.

According to Craig Amason, executive director of the Foundation, "The Hill house is most likely the oldest standing building on the property, dating back before the 1850s."  A portrait of Louise Hill is displayed on top of the bookcases in Flannery O’Connor’s bedroom in the main house.  The portrait was a gift to O'Connor, painted by her friend, Robert Hood.  When PBS filmed an adaptation of O’Connor’s short story “The Displaced Person” at Andalusia in 1976, the movie included interior and exterior scenes of the Hill house.  "This structure was an essential part of the farm complex during O'Connor's residence at Andalusia and still is today," Amason said. 

On February 1, 2011, the National Park Service awarded the Foundation a Save America's Treasures matching grant in the amount of $120,000 to restore the Hill house.  First Lady Michelle Obama stated that the Save America's Treasures grants help preserve the rich diversity of America's story and "honor the hundreds of volunteers, organizations, and communities whose energy and investment are ensuring that this national legacy endures for generations to come." 

In addition, the Foundation received $20,000 for the project from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources - Historic Preservation Division (HPD) Georgia Heritage Grant, which is supported by preservation license plate revenue.  HPD Director David Crass said “the Hill house will greatly enhance the interpretation of the farm complex for visitors to this nationally significant community landmark by giving them a unique window into the lives of the African-American farm workers at Andalusia.”  Additional funding came from the E. J. Grassmann Trust and several individual donors.  The Hill house is one of several buildings at Andalusia that the Foundation has restored, and there are still more structures requiring stabilization and repair.

Lord Aeck Sargent of Atlanta created the planning documents for the Hill house restoration and supervised the construction.  The general contractor was Garbutt Construction Company of Dublin, Georgia.  Susan Turner, the principal historic preservation architect for the project, argues that "historic buildings are very tangible reminders of our past and as such, are of great value in telling the many stories that history has to offer."  She believes that the Hill house is a vital piece of an environment that is reflected in O'Connor's writings.  "Through the architecture of this vernacular homestead, we can also learn of the many other lives that contributed to this central Georgia farm and recall many facets of well over a century of history."

For more information about Andalusia, the Hill house project, and the grand opening event, please contact the Foundation at 478-454-4029  or visit our website at www.andalusiafarm.org.

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