History Buff’s Guide To LaGrange

  • See one of the best preserved 19th century gardens in the country
  • Eat an authentic biblical meal
  • Visit a fort where a Civil War battle occurred
  • LaGrange is full of history, from a site of a Civil War battle and stately antebellum homes to historical gardens and unique museums. This three-day itinerary will keep you wanting to learn and see more about the fascinating history of LaGrange. Throughout these three days, visit a variety of museums, dine at LaGrange's most historical eateries and take in the beauty of the historical sites of the city.

    Day 1: LaGrange College, Bellevue, and Historic Downtown

  • Visit Georgia's oldest private college
  • Eat southern comfort food in a 19th century church building
  • Tour an antebellum home built by a man who served on the Georgia legislature

  • Day 1 of the itinerary begins with a tour of LaGrange College, Georgia’s first private college and home to Smith Hall, which once served as a hospital during the Civil War. Next, tour Bellevue Mansion, one of LaGrange’s first homes which is now open to visitors who wish to return to antebellum times through the lens of a historic home. Take a walk downtown, seeing LaGrange’s fantastic shopping and dining options. Be sure to stop by LaFayette Square and take a photo by the beautiful fountain. In the square, you’ll be able to see several buildings built by local legend and inspiration Horace King, who you can learn more about at the Legacy Museum on Main. The Legacy Museum will offer insights into many former LaGrange residents and the story of the town itself. Finally, to dine within a piece of history itself, visit Taste of Lemon, housed in an 1800s Methodist Church.

    LaGrange College

    Perfect for a short walk or longer exploration, LaGrange College boasts nearly 200 years of history in buildings old and new, beautiful landscaping and the best vantage point in LaGrange from its location on “The Hill”. LaGrange College was chartered in 1831 and was the first private college in Georgia. To visit campus, park in the lot at the corner of Broad Street and Park Avenue. You’ll find Smith Hall, Hawkes Hall, Pitts Hall, and the Chapel are some of the most interesting buildings on campus, and are located near each other.

    To learn more about LaGrange College, click here.

    Tour Bellevue Mansion

    Bellevue, the stately antebellum home, was built between 1852 and 1855 by Benjamin Harvey Hill for his wife, Caroline Holt Hill. It is a significant example of the “domesticated temple” form of Greek Revival-style architecture popular in the antebellum South. A Bellevue tour lasts 1.5 hours and costs $5 per person.

    To learn more about Tour Bellevue Mansion, click here.

    Historic Downtown Walk & Legacy Museum

    Take a walk in downtown LaGrange, exploring our eclectic blend of history of new growth. The downtown area offers excellent antique and gift shops as well as many world class restaurants. Be sure to walk the square and see the beautiful fountain, named for American Revolutionary War hero Marquis de LaFayette. The Legacy Museum on Main, located in the heart of historic downtown LaGrange, is home to a permanent exhibit gallery which features the history and development of West Georgia as well as temporary exhibits featuring collections which range from the archives collections to nationally recognized traveling exhibits. Permanent exhibits at Legacy Museum feature items ranging from ancient artifacts, like a soapstone bowl believed to be 11,000 years old, to more “recent” historic artifacts from LaGrange’s rich textile and railroad history. While you’re there, be sure to check out the world’s oldest cotton bale on display within the museum!

    Taste of Lemon

    Taste of Lemon is located in the former Second Methodist Church building, constructed in 1892. Within this unique and original building, the restaurant pays further homage to LaGrange’s history with its offering of Southern comfort cuisine. Taste of Lemon serves lunch in a meat-and-three style. Poppy seed chicken, country fried steak, and salmon croquettes are routinely on the menu.

    To learn more about Taste of Lemon, click here.

    Historic Homes, Biblical History Museum and Hills & Dales

  • Eat the world's best hotdog
  • Encounter the ancient world through authentic archeological replicas

  • Day 2 begins with the driving or walking tour of historic homes, including the home that served as a meeting place for the Nancy Harts (found at 206 Broad Street). Next, you’ll explore ancient history at the Biblical History Museum, which houses artifacts from the Middle East that are displayed with special permission from the Israel Antiquity Authority. At Hills & Dales Estates, you’ll have the rare treat of viewing an estate with gardens which are considered one of the best preserved 19th century gardens in existence! Return to our historic downtown area to witness more of our charming town’s history in Lafayette Square and to dine at Charlie Joseph’s.

    Historic Homes Driving or Walking Tour

    A trip to LaGrange isn’t complete without a visit to some historic homes, where history is preserved in stunning architecture and the stories of early LaGrange families. A walking tour of Broad and Vernon Streets in downtown LaGrange will allow you to see most of the homes on this list (LINK to historic homes tour). If you are taking a driving tour, plan to drive Broad and Vernon Streets and possibly add South Lewis Street, Greenville Street, and Hill Street to complete the list. Many of these homes are private residences; please stay on the sidewalk and respect the owner’s privacy and space. However you choose to experience these homes, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to appreciate the architecture and history of some of LaGrange’s first homes!

    Biblical History Museum

    The Biblical History Center allows your family to encounter the ancient world through history and culture. Through authentic archeological replicas, Biblical meal presentations, daily life artifacts, lectures, and personal experiences, ancient Middle Eastern life is revived. Children will have the opportunity to bake bread like ancient nomadic people in the Shepherd’s Bread Experience and explore archeology and history in the Kid’s Dig. The Biblical History Center is one of only eight museums in the world to house a long-term collection of artifacts from the Israel Antiquity Authority. General admission to the Biblical History Center is $20 per adult (ages 13 and up) and $15 per child (ages 6-12).

    To learn more about Biblical History Museum , click here.

    Hills & Dales Estates

    Hills and Dales Estate was completed in 1916 and features a 13,000 square-foot home which was designed to flow gracefully into its gardens- a series of dwarf boxwood parterres planted by Sarah Ferrell, which have adorned the terraces of the hill for more than 175 years. They are considered one of the best preserved 19th century gardens in the country. The classic lines of the home, designed by renowned architects Neel Reid and Hal Hentz, have now silently watched over the beloved gardens for a century As you stroll the well-trodden paths, descend the terraces, sit in the seclusion of the rose bowers, or pause to gaze up at the magnificent home, you are always in the presence of Sarah Ferrell and the Callaway women, three remarkable women who made Hills & Dales a home and its gardens a national treasure. House and Garden admission is $20 and garden-only admission is $10.

    To learn more about Hills & Dales Estates, click here.

    Charlie Joseph’s

    Charlie Joseph’s is known for delicious hot dogs and its large collection of Coca-cola memorabilia. The menu offers southern classics like slaw dogs, Brunswick stew, and juicy burgers, all within a nostalgic atmosphere. Be sure to take advantage of the outside Coca-cola mural for a classic LaGrange photo!

    To learn more about Charlie Joseph’s, click here.

    Historic Churches, Fort Tyler, Georgia Radio Museum and Beacon Brewing Co.

  • Visit a Civil War Fort
  • See vintage tube-style radios
  • Sip on a Bavarian Style brew

  • On Day 3, you’ll begin with a relaxing drive through beautiful Troup County, seeing some of the original churches that served as gathering places for LaGrange’s first residents. In West Point, visit Fort Tyler, home of the final Civil War battle, tragically fought when neither side realized the war had already ended. Back in LaGrange, visit the historic Hillside neighborhood, which has been brought back to life by residents committed to preserving Georgia’s history. A visit to Elm City Mill demonstrates the scale of the textile industry that once thrived here. Beacon Brewing will not only delight your senses with delicious fusion food and expertly crafted brews, but will impress you with their weaving of Hillside and LaGrange history into every aspect of the business. At the Georgia Radio Museum, you’ll learn more about the history of radio in Georgia and see evidence of some legendary musicians who were recorded and played in Georgia.

    Driving Tour of Historic Churches

    Religious institutions played an important role in the development of Troup County. A driving tour of historic churches is a great way to explore the history of this community! These historic churches were some of the first buildings in Troup County; many of them were built in the 1800s. These churches served as gathering places for worship, schools, civic and social clubs, meetings, weddings, revivals, and social occasions from the very beginning of LaGrange history. You will find information about the historic church driving our here (LINK). Pack some snacks in the car and enjoy Georgia’s beautiful scenery as you explore LaGrange history through the lens of our churches.

    Fort Tyler

    During the Civil War, West Point, Georgia was defended by the earthworks of Fort Tyler. Commanded by Confederate Brigadier General Robert C. Tyler, for whom the fort is named, Fort Tyler sits atop a small hill overlooking downtown West Point, the Chattahoochee River and, most importantly, the railroad trestle crossing the river. The border between Alabama and Georgia passes directly through Fort Tyler. A marked trail leads visitors to the site of this small earthen fort. It’s a short hike up the hill to see the fort, but it’s worth the effort! Explore the armament and the locations of the three artillery pieces. A 32-pounder naval gun was placed on the southeast corner for the fort to protect the rail system and bridges, while two 12-pounder Napoleon guns guarded the two main approaches into town, on the southwest and northwest corners.

    To learn more about Fort Tyler, click here.

    Elm City Mill

    The Elm City Plant was founded in 1905 to produce cotton duck fabric. When it opened, there were two shifts for workers, each beginning and ending at 6:00 with an hour off for dinner. In 1928, average base pay was 22 cents per hour, and it increased to 94 cents by 1949. Elm City is one of the prettiest remaining mills. The mill showcases the attractive architectural features of textile mills during the early 1900s. All mills had towers and the Elm City Mill has the most beautiful tower still standing.

    Georgia Radio Museum

    The Georgia Radio Museum, also in the Hillside neighborhood, is dedicated to preserving the history of radio in Georgia. With an impressive collection of radio memorabilia and artifacts, the museum also honors those individuals who have contributed to the radio industry.

    To learn more about Georgia Radio Museum, click here.

    Beacon Brewing

    Beacon Brewing was established in 2018 in the Historic Hillside area of LaGrange. The founder selected the area due to its rich history and ties to his family. Like many areas in the south, Hillside once flourished because of a booming textile industry that supported and employed many citizens in the community. Several of the mills were owned and operated by the founder’s family. The brewery specializes in experimental beers and draws inspiration from traditional Belgian and Bavarian style beers. Each beer has a distinct flavor and a name that stems from the historical significance of the area. Their menu is a surprising and delicious fusion of Asian and Southern cuisine, and you are sure to love your meal and your brews!

    To learn more about Beacon Brewing, click here.

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