Heritage Hall

The home of the Morgan County Historical Society, known as Heritage Hall, is one of the most striking antebellum homes on Madison’s main street.

From the historical marker in front of this house:

As the county gained more plantations, Madison attracted nearby planters desiring to shop, socialize, learn, and worship. Some planters also built in-town homes. Antebellum architecture reflected the shift from the early yeoman farmer society to a slave-based plantation economy, dominated by a handful of planters whose grand homes spoke of their status.

Antebellum architecture also marked the community’s growing prosperity as well as an interest in the newly fashionable Greek Revival architecture. Stylish homes were added and older homes updated throughout the city environs, building a reputation of a progressive and cultured town.

The Johnston-Jones-Manley House (c.1811) acquired its later Greek Revival façade during the 1840-1850s and was moved 200 feet to face S. Main Street in 1908, thus allowing the construction of the Methodist Church (1914). In 1977, a Manley heir donated the home to the Morgan County Historical Society, Inc., who manages it as a heritage tourism site-Heritage Hall, a house museum with period furnishings.

Johnston-Jones-Manley House (circa 1811)
277 South Main Street
Madison, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
24mm @ f/16 – 1/80 sec – ISO 100

Madison, Georgia #antebellum #architecture #WithMyTamron Georgia’s Antebellum Trail

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Wade-Porter-Fitzpatrick-Kelly House

Another one of the beautiful antebellum homes in Madison, Georgia.  I am amazed that this home has survived with a huge front yard right on Main Street!  This beautiful Greek-revival style house really has the plantation look but is right in the middle of this gorgeous little town.

Wade-Porter-Fitzpatrick-Kelly House (circa 1852)
507 South Main
Madison, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
21mm @ f/16 – 1/80 sec – ISO 100

A town Sherman spared

As most people know, during the Civil War, General Sherman marched through the Atlanta area and burned most of the existing architecture to the ground.  One notable exception was the town of Madison, Georgia where we spent Christmas morning with my daughter and son-in-law, Megan and Ryan.

One of Madison’s leading citizens, Senator Joshua Hill, was a strong unionist who had resigned his seat in 1861 rather than join the rest of the Georgia delegation in seceding from the union. He had made a gentleman’s agreement with Sherman not to burn the city.  As a result, the town is one of the best examples of antebellum architecture in Georgia.

The image here is of the Jessup-Atkinson house, which stands directly across South Main Street from the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center. The house is sometimes called “Luhurst” in memory of Lula Hurst who travelled the country performing an act consisting of illusions of levitation and strength. She later married her promoter Paul Atkinson, who at one time owned the Battle of Atlanta cyclorama, and settled down in Madison until she died in 1949.

Jessup-Atkinson House (circa 1820)
Madison, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
10mm @ f/16 – 1/60 sec – ISO 100

Remnant of the Past

Thimble-shaped structures like this dot the island of Jamaica and most people probably see them but don’t notice or don’t know what they are.  This is the base of a windmill that was used in the production of sugar.  These mills were all over the island when Sugar Plantations fueled the growth of the British colony that thrived here.  The mills were used to grind the sugar cane to produce granulated sugar and molasses.  Molasses is what Rum is produced from and this is the other big product of the colonial era.

At one time, Jamaica was the top producer of sugar in the world.  Today, it is still a major producer of sugar and rum but tourism is the biggest source of income.  It was very neat to learn a little of the island’s history when we were on our tour going from Falmouth to Montego Bay.

Jamaican Sugar Mill ruins

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
44mm @ f/14 – 1/50 sec – ISO 200

Kukulcán the Feathered Serpent

On the great Plaza, between El Castillo the main pyramid, and the Great Ball Court, are several smaller structures. The Platform of the Eagles and Jaguars and the Temple of Venus are two very similar structures with steps on each of the four sides and a flat platform at the top. The top of each staircase is flanked by images of the winged serpent, the God Kukulcán.

Chichen Itza-082
The walls of the Eagles and Jaguars platform are carved with Eagles and Jaguars gruesomely grasping human hearts.  The story here is that there were two groups of Toltec warriors responsible for capturing sacrificial victims. Eagle Knights, who attacked the enemy using bows and arrows and Jaguar Knights fought using clubs fitted with obsidian knives.

 

The platform was likely used for religious and ceremonial purposes and may have been a sacrificial site.

The Platform of Eagles and Jaguars
Chichén Itzá, Yucatan, Mexico

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
44mm @ f/16 – 1/250 sec – ISO 200

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Ancient Observatory

It is amazing to realize how advanced the science of the Maya culture was centuries before our modern calendar even started.  One of the chief areas of scientific study was astronomy, which linked into their most famous creation – the Mayan calendar.

In order to study the stars, there was a need for a place that would be elevated above the canopy of the forest that covers the Yucatan plain where Chichen Itza is located. The observatory is built on a multi-level plateau with a cylindrical tower atop it.  The building is known as “El Caracol” (the Snail – in Spanish) which is a reference to the circular stairs that lead from the lower tower to the upper observation tower.  The upper tower has slit windows that are specially aligned to observe the planet Venus and the summer and winter solstice of the Sun.

Looking at the partially ruined tower with its domed roof, makes you think of a modern observatory with a high-powered telescope poking out.  Though the Maya did not have telescopes, they had a fantastic knowledge of the movements within the heavens and were able to calculate astronomical events with great accuracy.  Seeing these sites and thinking back on what this civilization was capable of is truly awe inspiring!

El Caracol (The Observatory)
Chichen Itza
Yucatan, Mexico

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
10mm @ f/10 – 1/2000 sec – ISO 400

Lucky number 13

In Mayan culture, the number 13 was considered to be of special significance and many of the structures at Chichen Itza feature repetitions of images in this number.  This building, the largest of the Classical Period (600 – 950 AD) architecture is known as “The Nunnery”.  The early Spanish explorers gave it this name (Las Monjas) because the building has many doorways that reminded them of monastery cells.

This structure is actually not believed to be a temple but a royal palace.  The face of the building is covered with intricate carvings with a focus on the Rain God “Chac”.  The side entrance shown in this image  includes 13 images of Chac, 8 on the bottom level, 4 on the top and the whole side is a huge face with the door representing the mouth.

Las Monjas (The Nunnery)
Chichen Itza
Yucatan, Mexico

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
11mm @ f/16 – 1/500 sec – ISO 200