UPDATE: A family has purchased the Boonybrae-Bedgood House and will rehabilitate it as a single-family home, its original use. Rehabilitation is well-underway.
Known by many family names, the Greek Revival house at 1073 Georgia Avenue was built between 1838 and 1839 by James Goddard of Athol, Massachusetts. Goddard sold the house only a couple years later to another Massachusetts native, George Newhall. In 1846, Isaac Scott, president of the Macon and Western Railroad as well as the Upson County Railroad, purchased the house. Railroads were a very important part of Macon’s industrial success in the nineteenth century, and Scott played a prominent role in that business during the time he lived in this architectural masterpiece.
In 1865, Walter Arnold Huff bought the house after the Scotts moved to New York. Continuing the house’s tradition of prominent residents, Huff was Mayor of Macon from 1870 to 1880. Then in 1875, Thomas Greshman owned and lived in the house. Although Thomas B. Greshman did not serve in political office himself, John Jones Gresham, his father, served as Mayor of Macon in the 1840s and as a State Senator and Representative.
Thomas Gresham moved to Baltimore in 1886, and the house went through a number of different hands until 1893, when William McEwen Johnston purchased the house for his wife, Flewellen Reese. She renamed with the house “Bonnybrae,” which it was commonly known as at least until the 1970s. During this era, the house underwent a dramatic change after notable architect, Neil Reid, nearly doubled the house and transformed it to the house we see today.
In 1913, the house was converted into apartments units, and even hosted the “Hinkle Clinic” in the 1920s. The structure went through a variety of uses over the next fifty years, until the United Methodist Church purchased it in 1970. In 1976, the Bedgood family purchased the home, and the daughters still own it today.
This high-style structure retains its magnificent white columns on the façade that wrap around to a secondary elevation. The spacious lawn to the side of the house, which faces the rear of Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law, grants views of both the original house and a larger addition on the rear. Both bays still showcase elaborate dentil work under the eaves.
Today, the Bonnybrae-Bedgood House is one of Macon’s last antebellum houses without an owner. Historic Macon Foundation looks forward to working with the current owners to help market and promote the house to a new buyer for the next chapter of the house.
UPDATE: A family living in north Macon purchased the Bonnybrae-Bedgood House and will rehabilitate it as a single-family home. Work is underway and the family is taking advantage of Historic Macon’s tax credit consulting service to complete renovations.