In the mid-1800s, William Butler Johnston was the keeper of the Confederate treasury, but the mansion he built is the real treasure he left behind. Inspired by the mansions he saw during an extended honeymoon throughout Europe, Johnston and his wife, Anne, spent four years building this Italian Renaissance Revival mansion that contains 24 rooms and a stunning two-story cupola.
One thing that makes this National Historic Landmark home so special is the initial owners utilized technologies that were practically unheard of in the mid-1800s, including central heating, a speaker system, hot and cold running water, and even an early version of an elevator.
William Butler Johnston had the mansion built for him and his younger bride, Anne Clark Tracy, after that three-year-long European honeymoon, during which they collected furnishings and inspiration for the house. Their daughter, Mary Ellen, and her husband, William H. Felton, were the next to occupy the home, adding electricity and updated plumbing. The last to live here were Parks Lee and Maude Hay; their heirs decided to turn the grand residence into a house museum through a transfer of the house to the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Johnston-Felton-Hay House has been known as the “Palace of the South” for most of its history, and has always stood as an icon of opulence near Coleman Hill which overlooks downtown Macon. But the real beauty of it lies in the details, from the cupola to the secret room below the staircase. Today, extensive work is being done to preserve the little things that make it a truly special place to tour.
One of the coolest parts of the tour is that, for a small fee, you can go into the attic, which they're currently in the process of renovating. It's fascinating to see how things looked before they were restored, and to see the amount of time and careful effort it takes to preserve a gem such as this.
Visit Macon, Georgia for a Southern adventure that is good for your soul! Rich history, incredible architecture, Southern charm, and a soulful musical heritage make Macon "Where Soul Lives". It's not just a place on a map, it's a vibe all its own. http://365publicationsonline.com/Macon_VG2016