Alhambra “Home on the Hill” – Darlington School – 1014 Cave Spring Road
Rome’s forefathers met at Alhambra to name the new city in 1834. Built in 1832 by Major Philip Walker Hemphill, Home-on-the-Hill/Alhambra is said to be the oldest private residence in Floyd County. Rome was one of several names literally pulled from a hat. Our town was almost christened Hamburg, among several other choices suggested by our founding fathers. It is currently part of the Darlington campus and serves as the home of the head of school.
Thornwood – 315 Shorter Avenue NW
Built in the late 1830s after Col. Alfred Shorter moved to Rome from Eufaula, Alabama, was named for the hawthorn trees that were abundant on the property. During the Civil War, Thornwood was twice occupied by federal troops. Shorter and his wife had taken temporary refuge at their second home in South Georgia when the first Yankee soldiers, scouts for Col. Abel D. Streight, took over the home for a brief period in 1863. A year later, during Sherman’s plundering of Georgia on the way to Savannah, Yankee troops again occupied the home.
317 East 4th Street
The four main rooms of this Victorian style cottage each measure approximately 15 square feet. The floors are heart pine except for the center hallway which is hard rock maple.
615 West 1st Street
This home was built by Nicholas Omberg before the Civil War. He was a member of the Home Guard of 41 Romans who refused to leave the city after the Union invasion in May of 1864. After the occupation ended, Omberg was shot down by renegade marauders within a stone’s throw of the house as he attempted to prevent the robbing and hanging of a friend. It was in this house that Dr. Robert Battey also performed the first oophorectomy on the kitchen table. Although many were certain the patient would die, Julia Omberg lived 50 years longer and died at the age of 80.
316 East 3rd Avenue
A classic Victorian house, the home of Dr. Eben Hillyer who was the son of Judge Julius Hillyer. Judge Hillyer was a lawyer, congressman, Superior Court Judge and solicitor of the U.S. Treasury until Georgia seceded from the Union.
301 East 5th Avenue
This clapboard cottage was once the home of nationally known golfer, Alvin Everett. He won the National Left-Handers Golf Tournament three times and was responsible for an interest in the game of golf in the Rome area that still inspires others today.
318 East 5th Avenue
This Victorian cottage was initially built as rental property and features original gingerbread eaves. Many of the homes on Fifth Avenue housed multiple families during the late 1800s and early 1900s. On the mantle of the living room, which used to be a bedroom, there is a message: “Henry Taylor left Rome in 1908.” The message was hammered in, upside down, using a square nail.
I will also be leading the Downtown Guided Tour on Aug. 6 to see these fabulous homes in person! In case you missed the last two installments, click below.