The Collier Mansions of Barnesville, Georgia
By 1918, at the age of only a couple of years past 50, J C Collier had already made two fortunes of a lifetime – the first as a dry goods merchant (see Jan. 2, 2017 post), the second in agriculture (see Sept. 17, 2016 post). He was about to make his third in textile manufacturing (see Feb. 24, 2017 post). Oxford Knitting Mills (started by J C and his father, I C Collier, in 1898) was doing well. D C Collier, J C’s son, had joined the company in 1911, having completed a degree in textile engineering at Georgia Tech. Financially, the future looked very promising.
The two decided to have homes that were appropriate for their wealth and position in the community. For their new residences, J C and D C bought adjacent properties on Thomaston Street in Barnesville, Georgia. Their planning was greeted with some excitement in the town as evidenced by this article from the local newspaper.
When constructed, the two homes shared a common carriage house or garage of the same construction as the houses. The homes were celebrated in two postcards of the time, one black & white and the other in color.
J C Collier House in the Right Foreground, D C Collier Home on the Left, Carriage House Between the Two.
When J C Collier was elected State Senator in 1924, a picture of his home appeared in the Atlanta Journal.
D C Collier was a detailed manager. Here is a spreadsheet he created showing the various categories and the cost to build his home. The total cost in 1919 was $26,538.00.20141115133405_00041
D C also kept a detailed ledger where he tracked all individual payments. It can be viewed by clicking on the following link.
And, finally, he also kept EVERY INVOICE. These were found in a wooden file box. CHF presented them to the current owner of the home.
J C and D C undertook extensive landscaping of their properties. Here are the landscaping plans with the locations and proper names of various plants. The cost for landscaping was over $1,000 in 1919.Landscaping plans reduced rotated
D C Collier’s home was electric throughout. There was an intercom inside at the front door where one could page each room in the house. There was a music room and a French room (where the children were taught French). The upstairs bath had what I will describe as a full length, wrap-around shower. The house had a built-in, in-the-wall vacuum system, of which D C was very proud. One family anecdote was that the system never worked, but no one told D C. When he left, the housekeeper got out the broom and dustpan.
A small alley ran perpendicular to Thomaston Street and beside J C’s property. Called “Collier Alley”, it was marked until recently by a concrete marker. I observed this summer the marker had been replaced by a typical street sign.
Here are some more pictures of the two homes.
Here is a great portrait of the Collier family taken next to the home of J C Collier (seated).
Also see the June 10, 2016 post about the homes being featured in the Georgia Trust Barnesville Expedition Tour of Homes.