Oconee County Georgia Historical Places

Bishop Historic District

(added 1996 – District – #96000534)
Also known as Greenwood Crossing
Roughly along Price Mill, Old Bishop Rds., and US 441 within the
Bishop city limits, Bishop Historic Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder, or engineer: Huff, D.H., Ash, Howard N.
Architectural Style: Classical Revival, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival
Area of Significance: Transportation, Community Planning And Development, Commerce,
Architecture Period of Significance: 1875-1899, 1900-1924, 1925-1949
Owner: Private , Federal , Local Gov’t
Historic Function: Commerce/Trade, Domestic, Government, Religion
Historic Sub-function: Business, Correctional Facility, Professional, Religious Structure, Single
Dwelling, Specialty Store
Current Function: Commerce/Trade, Domestic, Religion, Social
Current Sub-function: Church Related Residence, Religious Structure, Single Dwelling, Specialty Store

William Daniell, House

(added 1995 – Building – #94001638)
Also known as Daniell–Kinne House
Epps Bridge Rd., 3 1/2 mi. NW of Watkinsville, Watkinsville
Historic Significance: Architecture/Engineering, Event
Architect, builder, or engineer: Daniell, William
Architectural Style: Colonial Revival, Other
Area of Significance: Agriculture, Architecture
Period of Significance: 1800-1824, 1825-1849, 1850-1874, 1875-1899, 1900-1924, 1925-1949
Owner: Private
Historic Function: Agriculture/Subsistence, Domestic
Historic Sub-function: Agricultural Outbuildings, Secondary Structure, Single Dwelling
Current Function: Agriculture/Subsistence, Domestic
Current Sub-function: Agricultural Outbuildings, Secondary Structure, Single Dwelling

Durham Homeplace

(added 2000 – District – #00000194)
1561 Watson Springs Rd., Watkinsville
Historic Significance: Architecture/Engineering
Area of Significance: Architecture
Period of Significance: 1800-1824, 1825-1849, 1850-1874, 1875-1899, 1900-1924
Owner: Private
Historic Function: Agriculture/Subsistence, Domestic
Historic Sub-function: Agricultural Fields, Agricultural Outbuildings, Single Dwelling
Current Function: Domestic
Current Sub-function: Single Dwelling

Eagle Tavern

(added 1970 – Building – #70000215)
U.S. 129, Watkinsville
Historic Significance: Architecture/Engineering, Event
Architect, builder, or engineer: Little,G. Thomas
Architectural Style: Other
Area of Significance: Commerce, Architecture
Period of Significance: 1800-1824, 1825-1849
Owner: Private
Historic Function: Commerce/Trade
Historic Sub-function: Restaurant
Current Function: Recreation And Culture
Current Sub-function: Museum

Historical Photo of Eagle Tavern
Historical Photo of Eagle Tavern

Eagle tavern: The Eagle Tavern is one of the earliest surviving structures in Oconee County. The Eagle Tavern was built before 1801 and possibly as early as 1794 when Watkinsville was a frontier town on the edge of Creek and Cherokee Indian Territories. It is believed by some that this site was once called Fort Edwards and served as a gathering place for early settlers who needed protection from attacks by the many Creek and Cherokee Indians who flourished in this area.As revolutionary war soldiers were given land grants in Georgia this beautiful lush area near the Indian frontiers became a small settlement. We do know that the Eagle Tavern was the first site built in this town called “Big Springs” later named Watkinsville.

The Eagle Tavern served primarily as a stagecoach stop (hotel and tavern) and gathering place in the early 1800’s. By 1827, stages from Milledgeville passed through Watkinsville three times a week on the way to Athens and most likely stopped at the Tavern. Before the railroad was completed, much of the overland wagon trade also used this route, and men traveling by wagon, horseback or on foot could, for the price of a drink, spread their bedrolls on the “Front Room” floor. The two upstairs bedrooms were reserved for stage passengers.

Modern Photo of Eagle Tavern
Modern Photo of Eagle Tavern

There are a number of legends that surround the existence of the Eagle Tavern. Some claim that the University of Georgia was not established in the town of Watkinsville because the potential close proximity of the Eagle Tavern was deemed inappropriate for an institution of higher education. Although students were forbidden to come to the Tavern in Watkinsville (they faced expulsion if caught), student political gatherings often took place there. Many who visited the Eagle Tavern proclaimed it to have “good food, pure water, and commodious stables.” Still standing on its original site, the infamous Eagle Tavern remains a “diamond in the rough” untouched by urban sprawl and modern times.

Many travelers stopped at the Eagle Tavern and, in 1839, the need for additional sleeping space resulted in the addition of 16 rooms to the original “four-down, four-up” structure of the Tavern. Stage passengers were given a private room but often shared beds. Other travelers slept on bed rolls in the “Public Room.” For 50 pence a traveler received feed for his horse, a meal, one spirit, and a place to sleep. Meals at the Eagle Tavern were said to be excellent, as were the accommodations.

Elder’s Mill Covered Bridge and Elder Mill

Elders Mill Covered Bridge
Elders Mill Covered Bridge

(added 1994 – District – #94000389)
4/5 mi. S of jct. of Elder Mill Rd. and GA 15, Watkinsville
Historic Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder, or engineer: Hunt and Durham, Richardson, Nathaniel
Architectural Style: No Style Listed
Area of Significance: Engineering, Industry, Transportation, Architecture
Period of Significance: 1875-1899, 1900-1924, 1925-1949
Owner: Private , Local Gov’t
Historic Function: Industry/Processing/Extraction, Transportation
Historic Sub-function: Manufacturing Facility, Road-Related
Current Function: Domestic, Transportation
Current Sub-function: Road-Related, Single Dwelling

Farmers and Citizens Supply Company Block

(added 1987 – Building – #87001104)
US 129, Watkinsville
Historic Significance: Architecture/Engineering, Event
Architect, builder, or engineer: Unknown
Architectural Style: No Style Listed
Area of Significance: Architecture, Commerce
Period of Significance: 1900-1924
Owner: Private
Historic Function: Commerce/Trade
Historic Sub-function: Business, Department Store
Current Function: Commerce/Trade
Current Sub-function: Business

Abe Jones, House

(added 1994 – Building – #93001572)
2411 Hog Mountain Rd., Watkinsville
Historic Significance: Architecture/Engineering
Architectural Style: Other
Area of Significance: Architecture
Period of Significance: 1900-1924
Owner: Private
Historic Function: Domestic
Historic Sub-function: Single Dwelling
Current Function: Health Care
Current Sub-function: Medical Business/Office

Oconee County Courthouse

(added 1984 – Building – #84004117)
Main St., Watkinsville
Owner: Local Gov’t

The Courthouse (across from the Eagle Tavern) was built in 1802, in Watkinsville. Watkinsville was the county seat for Clarke County, which was carved out of Jackson County. The county seat is typically the largest county town, but in the case of Athens and Watkinsville, the former outgrew the latter in population. By the 1840’s and 1850’s there was a clamor for Athens to be the county seat, but it was not until 1875 that Clarke County was divided into Clarke and Oconee. Watkinsville became the county seat for the newly formed Oconee County.Watkinsville’s livelihood in the early nineteenth century came not only from being a courthouse town, where everyone had to come for certain life necessities such as marriages, deaths, taxes, jury duty, filing deed and public services, but it was also a hub for agricultural trade where cotton farmers and planters brought their produce. Roads from other nearby county seats like Greensboro and Madison converged here and proceeded north to Athens and Gainesville. These roads brought even more travelers and commerce to the town.

By 1849, Watkinsville hosted the courthouse and the jail, two churches, schools, taverns, stores, three groceries, one billiard room, one carpenter, one tailor, two blacksmiths, two tanyards, two wagon makers, one saddler, two shoe shops, two lawyers, one doctor, and one minister – all with a population of 240 people.

South Main Street Historic District

(added 1979 – District – #79000739)
S. Main St. and Harden Hill Rd., Watkinsville
Historic Significance: Architecture/Engineering, Event
Architect, builder, or engineer: Multiple
Architectural Style: Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, Greek Revival
Area of Significance: Landscape Architecture, Architecture,
Entertainment/Recreation
Period of Significance: 1825-1849, 1900-1924
Owner: Private
Historic Function: Domestic, Religion
Historic Sub-function: Religious Structure, Single Dwelling
Current Function: Domestic, Religion
Current Sub-function: Religious Structure, Single Dwelling

1 thought on “Oconee County Georgia Historical Places”

  1. Following is a summation of history of the Butler-Jones-Barnett House listed as Abe Jones House.

    James Abraham “Abe” Jones was the stepson of Jesse E. Butler, Sr. who bought the property from Henry C. Durham, Sr. on Nov. 22, 1867, a little over three years after he married Almeda Jones, widow of James D. Jones and daughter of Jacob Klutts. Durham lived in the house 4 years prior to sale to Butler. He had acquired the house and 707 acres from his father M. S. Durham on Feb 13, 1867 before selling to Butler in November 1867. M. S. Durham purchased the house and land adjoining Jacob Klutts , Thrasher, and M. G. Dickens (son of the seller) from William Dickens on Jan 1, 1863. The 707 acre parcel possibly included the Judge Gresham Plantation of 348 acres acquired by Dickens from Wm. E. Smith who acquired the property from Elizabeth White Lee who purchased it at public auction of her husband’s estate (John Lee) on Jan 29, 1839. William’s wife Nancy P. Ernest came from the general area. William lived in this general area along Call’s Creek from 1830 to 1860 when he removed to Conyers in Newton County. A review of the four censuses for this time period reflecting adjacent land owners would tend to indicate that Dickens probably lived in the original house during the thirty year period. A deed after 1867 indicates that a road led between the Gresham Plantation and Harden property to the Butler Plantation.
    Abe Jones grew up from the age of five in the house.
    On Jan 18, 1889, Abe purchased 154 7/8 acres on the Watkinsville Rd from Jesse Butler, Sr. This parcel included original 60 acres of his father, James D. Jones, and also contained a 11 acre Jones home site located at end of current Limerick Dr. Mr. Butler died in his house on Dec 4, 1891, On Dec. 2, 1895, Abe purchased the Jesse E. Butler, Sr. homeplace of 93 acres from George W. Malcom, who was a son-in-law of Mr. Butler and had purchased the property from Mr. Butler’s estate, but the deed was not recorded until 1914. Malcom died in 1918. Date on corner stone of building shows a date of 1919 possibly when major improvements or modifications were made by Jones. Abe moved into the Butler home place before the 1900 census and remained there until his death on May 7, 1940.
    Catharine Butler Malcom (79) lived with Abe Jones (her stepbrother) and family in the Butler-Jones house during the 1920 census. Abe and his family continued to live at this homeplace through the 1940 census. It is thought that that the original Butler house is embedded in the Dec. 2019 house structure.
    Architectural features of interior and wall writing in the house indicate that much of the basic structures dates from the 1850-1860 time period . Property records of earlier owners listed above makes the case for the original structure possibly dating back to as early as the 1830’s.
    The current house has had several owners since 1940 and a number of renters. As of June 1, 2021, the house has been moved to the back of remaining property for future use.

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