“It’s the greatest reward for all the research, love, time and funds invested into the project,” Henderson said. “From the day we started the restoration, revitalization and remodeling of the house, we realized that the property is only temporarily in our custody to be preserved for future generations.
“It’s such an honor to be selected for the tour since there are so many wonderful historic properties in Cartersville/Bartow County. This is the first time we have placed our home on a tour in the 22 years of owning it. Hopefully we will inspire others who are interested in preserving properties.”
From May 16 to 18, The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s Spring Ramble and Annual Meeting will highlight the architecture and history of Cartersville and the surrounding area. Built circa 1909, the Womelsdorf-Henderson House is one of nearly 40 private homes and historic sites that will be open to the public.
In 1992, the Hendersons purchased their home — on Howard Heights in the Cherokee-Cassville Historic District — and over time restored the front wrap-around porch; remodeled the kitchen; and doubled the structure’s size with various additions, some of which include a keeping room featuring a ventless fireplace, a bath room, two closets, rear foyer, large back porch, a rear screened porch, a master bedroom suite, and an office, exercise room and storage on the lower level.
“... The property/home had been lovingly owned for by Dr. and Mrs. Hal Choate for 27 years,” Henderson said, adding E.P. Earle of New York originally purchased the property and had the home built for the manager of his mining operation. “When we moved from Atlanta, we never dreamed we would be able to own an old house. Barry was developing property in Cartersville and in talking with Jim Dellinger learned of the possibility of the house being for sale. When we looked at the property we were in love with the beautiful setting and grounds and location. It was eight years before we undertook the restoration and we are so glad we waited. It gave us time to understand an old house, the architecture, its history and significance of maintaining its historical integrity. And time to save our pennies for the project.
“In 1998, a preservationist architect from Atlanta, who was consulting on Rose Lawn at the time, was kind enough to walk through the house with us in order to explain it to us. He pointed out its significant architectural features of a Prairie-style house with Arts and Crafts elements: the horizontal 2-foot wide banding around the eve, the low profile hip roof with wide overhangs, the 20-over-one windows — 20 small window panes on the top half and one large pane on the lower half — and the windows being arranged in horizontal bands.”
She continued, “Also, the unique mitered-corner siding. The house seemed to hug the ground with emphasis on horizontal lines. We were fascinated by all of this and realized that any additions made to the house must include those elements. The challenge to us was to honor the tradition of the home while increasing its floor plan and for guests to not be able to tell where the old house stops and the new begins.”
Along with the Hendersons’ property, Friday’s self-guided tour will showcase the various architectural styles of Cartersville’s historic residences, from the lattice work of a 1939 Colonial Revival to an 1860 Folk Victorian farmhouse. Those participating in the Spring Ramble’s first day also will visit the Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Park, 813 Indian Mounds Road in Cartersville. Regarded as the most intact Mississippian Culture site in the Southeast, the 54-acre venue is where several thousand American Indians lived from A.D. 1000 to A.D. 1550. The property features six earthen mounds, a village area, a plaza, borrow pits and defensive ditch.
According to a news release from The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, “The Spring Ramble is a unique way for guests to tour Carterville’s historic architectural treasures. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, ‘Ramblers’ will have the opportunity to explore stunning private homes and grand architectural gems, including the home formerly known as Overlook, a unique 1840 house which includes an observatory that holds what was once the second largest telescope in the South; Valley View, an 1847 brick plantation home on a 270-acre working farm that has been lovingly cared for by five generations of the Sproull Family; and Summerland, home and organic farm of renowned Atlanta chef Anne Quatrano.”
Along with showcasing notable structures and aspects of Bartow, The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation also will host its annual meeting Saturday at Sam Jones Memorial United Methodist Church in Cartersville. For Cartersville to be selected as the host site for these offerings is a privilege, said Regina Wheeler, deputy director for Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“It’s a great honor to be able to host the Spring Ramble,” Wheeler said. “The last time that we hosted this event as a community I believe was about 11 years ago, so I was able to see the first Ramble offering in my work here at the Convention & Visitors Bureau. There is a great deal of work and planning and effort that goes into this.
“But it’s important to receive statewide recognition as a historic community and to applaud many of the efforts that have gone into preserving so much of our history, which lends itself not only to places of the Civil War but pre-Civil War, Native American and so many facets of what has created America’s story. So we’re just very honored that people from across the state will be coming to celebrate this and appreciate the wonderful places that we have here in Bartow County.”
In addition to Etowah Indian Mounds, the Georgia Trust’s three-day offering will highlight numerous businesses and public venues, some of which include the world’s first outdoor Coca-Cola advertisement on the side of Young Brothers Pharmacy, Grand Oaks, 1903 Bartow County Courthouse, Bartow History Museum, Booth Western Art Museum, Rose Lawn Museum and Stilesboro Academy.
“I think that [we are] somewhat unique from perhaps say Madison or some of the other locations that have hosted the Spring Ramble,” Wheeler said. “Not only do we have a wealth of private homes that will be toured and be available, but we have a lot of wonderful public facilities that will be available for tour as well. It will be a good look at a partnership between public and private entities and how we go about historic preservation.
“The sensitivity obviously that surrounds the Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site while preserving that culture, that heritage, but also being able to offer that to the public as a place that’s very viable for visitors, and to be able to share the history behind these locations is, I think, very unique about Cartersville because we will have a great variety of places [featured]. And just historic downtown Cartersville, there’s been a great deal done there through many generations of the Downtown Development Authority. But again, [there has been] a lot of private contributions as well as public partnerships and support with the city of Cartersville that’s made that happen.”
For more information or to obtain tickets to the Spring Ramble tours, visit www.GeorgiaTrust.org.