The Eatonton-Putnam County Historical Society (Society) was organized in 1974 and incorporated as an IRS recognized non-profit corporation in 1975. Charter members numbered 250 and the membership has grown continually since. Successful and profitable tours of homes in 1975 and 1976 within the historic district led to the creation of the Eatonton National Register Historic District in 1976 and continued to add impetus to the organization. The District includes all the historic neighborhoods and the downtown commercial buildings - over 250 properties.
The gift of the historic 1817 Bledsoe-Greene House by The Farmers & Merchants Bank in 1977 provided a highly visible restoration project and a focus for the members to become active in tangible historic preservation projects. A restoration grant was received from the U.S. Department of the Interior and this leveraged additional funding at the local level to see the restoration through to completion. That property continues to be a contributing element in the preservation of the historic character of downtown Eatonton. Creation of a Society Archive containing invaluable data on the history of Eatonton and Putnam County was initiated and today contains data on all aspects of local historical and cultural life over the 200 + years of this early county. Hundreds of family history questions are answered annually by the Society with data pulled from these archives. The Archive continues to grow steadily with input from members and friends from across the United States and abroad. In 1983 the local Town & Country Garden Club and The Garden Club of Georgia deeded the historic 1811 Tompkins Inn property in the northern part of the county to the Society to maintain as an historic site. Many events celebrating Georgia and local history, including The Georgia Furniture Show, which showcased furniture and household items made prior to the War Between the States, was one heavily attended event held at the inn. Tompkins Inn is currently leased to Rock Eagle 4-H Conference Center. For information, contact the Director of Environmental Education at 706-484-2862.
Interest in the Society continued to grow and in the fall of 1985 the Society purchased the historic Andrew Reid mansion house on North Madison Avenue - now known as "The Bronson House" - from the estate of the late Mrs. Eunice Bronson Stubbs. Members rolled up their sleeves and renovated the entire first floor and furnished it in appropriate antiques in time for a December 1985 grand opening thanking the donors who had made the purchse possible. The house serves as the headquarters and meeting place for the Society as well as a venue for small weddings, large wedding receptions, birthday and retirement parties and as a setting for luncheon and dinner parties sponsored by the Society and members. The house is open to the public during the annual Ante-bellum Trail Heritage Tour in the springtime and for special private tours throughout the year. The house contains an extensive collection of historic furniture and accessories highlighting the major decorative arts periods ranging from 1815 through the present day. An early decision by the Board of Directors to set the restoration objective as "a home which has been lived in by generations of one family over its nearly 200 year history" has produced a warm and inviting atmosphere in the house. Please join the Society and help us continue its mission as a catalyst for education on our collective community history and on the preservation of our historic resources. Contact us through this web site for more detailed information about availability and costs of guided tours of the historic district and the historic properties.
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