Day 1: Explore Historic Downtown
- Explore Georgia's oldest private college
- Southern comfort food in a 19th-century church building
- Tour an antebellum home that hosted many dignitaries through the years
Perfect for exploration, LaGrange College boasts nearly 200 years of history, beautiful landscaping and a stunning vantage point 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. Smith Hall, Hawkes Hall, Pitts Hall and the Chapel are some of the most interesting buildings on campus and are located close to each other!
The eclectic blend of historic structures and new growth in downtown LaGrange is best explored on foot. The downtown walking tour is designed to highlight interesting sites and stories of the past. The downtown district also boasts numerous 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.
At Marketplace at LaFayette Square, discover one-of-a-kind treasures you can't find anywhere else. Located in the downtown district, this antique shop boasts two floors full of booths and consignment options. Find collectibles, art, furniture and fine antiques from the 1700s and 1800s as you browse this antique-shoppers paradise!
A National Historic Landmark, Bellevue is a significant example of the “domesticated temple” form of Greek Revival style architecture popular in the antebellum South. Built between 1842 and 1855 by U.S. Senator Benjamin Harvey Hill, Bellevue is open for tours Tuesday - Saturday.
Taste of Lemon is located in the former Second Methodist Church building, constructed in 1892. Within this unique building, the restaurant pays further homage to LaGrange’s history with its offering of Southern 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 along with a variety of fresh vegetables and sides.
Legacy Museum on Main, located in the heart of the downtown district, is home to a permanent exhibit as well as temporary exhibits. Permanent exhibits display 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 history. While you’re there, be sure to check out the world’s oldest cotton bale on display!
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. 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.
A must-visit while in LaGrange, Hills & 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. The Ferrell Gardens are considered one of the best preserved 19th-century gardens in the country.
Charlie Joseph’s is home to the world's best hogs and an impressive 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 an iconic LaGrange photo!
On April 16, 1865, Union troops attacked Fort Tyler and its small group of Confederate soldiers. Many soldiers on both sides lost their lives that day, unaware that Confederate General Robert E. Lee had surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant seven days earlier. Fort Tyler was the last Confederate fort captured by the Union, giving it the distinction, "Last Fort to Fall." Today, a marked trail leads visitors to the site of this small earthen fort overlooking the Chattahoochee River.
The Elm City Plant was constructed 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 for dinner. By 1928, average base pay was 22 cents per hour, and it increased to 94 cents by 1949. Elm City showcases the attractive architectural features of textile mills during the early 1900s. All mills had towers and Elm City Mill has the most beautiful tower still standing.
In the Hillside neighborhood, Georgia Radio Museum and Hall of Fame 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.
Not by accident, Beacon Brewing Co. is located in the historic Hillside neighborhood of LaGrange. The founder selected the area due to its 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. This brewpub specializes in experimental beers and draws inspiration from traditional Belgian and Bavarian styles. Each craft 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!