The Union Recorder

March 8, 2013

Hill House at Andalusia to celebrate opening

From staff reports
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — The public is invited to next week’s unveiling of the newly restored Hill House at Andalusia. 

To mark the end of the restoration project, the Flannery O’Connor-Andalusia Foundation will host a public ceremony on at 3 p.m. Tuesday. 

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.

“The Hill house is most likely the oldest standing building on the property, dating back before the 1850s,” said Craig Amason, executive director of the Andalusia Foundation in a press release.

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.  

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.  

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