HARDEMAN-SAMS ESTATE RICH HISTORY
Built in 1910 and uniquely situated on Milledge Avenue in the heart of Athens Historical District. 255 Milledge is operated and managed with the mission to restore this beautiful estate and bring it back to its original glory. Come enjoy this refreshed and renewed one-hundred and seven year old historic treasure.
CLASSIC NICHE: Formerly owned and occupied by two prominent Athens families, the home is significant as it pertains to their lives as well as being a part of two different historic districts. The Milledge Avenue and Dearing Street historic districts overlap, affording the Hardeman-Sams House the distinction of being in both.
Benjamin Frank Hardeman and his wife, Annie, had the home built in 1910 by architect Frederick J. Orr. Orr designed many buildings in the area, including the old YWCO building.
B.F. Hardeman was a partner in Hardeman and Phinizy cotton brokerage, and owned a cotton warehouse at the King-Hodgson building as well. The Hardemans were known for hosting the most elegant social events in all Northeast Georgia in their home. The large size of the lot coupled with the massive scale and flowing design of the home made it an ideal location for entertaining.
The Hardeman-Sams house encompasses 5,000 square feet, from the basement to the two-and-a-half stories overhead. The brick facade is accented by Doric columns, which support the entrance portico and the right side porch. The roof features three dormer windows, while the second floor carries simple yet broad windows. The first floor enjoys a fanlight window above the door, with sidelight windows running down from it, and arched windows across the remainder of the building's front.
Upon entering the home there is a large foyer with a wide staircase facing the door. To the right of the foyer is a large parlor, which can be closed off by paneled pocket doors. Through the parlor to the rear of the home is the sunroom, which features walls of windows overlooking the formal gardens. The sun room can be closed off by a set of folding French doors, which have such detail in the design of the glass panes as to make them a work of art. To the left of the entry is the spacious dining room, which fronts the kitchen area at the rear of the first floor. The upstairs contained the family's bedrooms.
It is worth noting that the Hardemans chose to have five mantels created for the home in replica of those designed for the Brumby House. The Brumby House is well known today as the Athens Welcome Center, and possibly the oldest home in town. The fireplace in the sun room is a beautiful Rookwood Pottery architectural Faience tile with a panoramic landscape design of trees, lake, and mountains. Two other original mantel remains downstairs, while the others have been removed and replaced over the years.
Mrs. Hardeman sold the home in 1932 to Walter A. Sams, president of the Athens Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Anita Holton, Sams' granddaughter, recalls staying at the home quite often to spend time with her grandparents.
''I was not of an appropriate age to attend the parties that were held there, but I recall there were many of them, and they were very grand,'' she said. ''I do remember my cousin getting married there, and the sight of a bride coming down that grand stairway is just something I will never forget. She looked so lovely. I also remember my grandmother being a member of the famous Eating Club.
''They were written up in the Atlanta papers and everything. There was no point in calling it a sewing club, because they didn't sew, they just ate.'' Holton recalls the ladies of the Eating Club being very competitive in the meals they prepared.
''Once, when I was staying with them, my grandmother was hosting the meeting for the club,'' she said, ''and I had never seen anything like the preparations that were made. There was such glitter and such food and such fuss as to occupy the entire household. It was wonderful.''
The driveway for the home was brick with an intricate herringbone border, along which the Sams family would have rows of pansies planted.
''One of my fondest memories is of the time we grandchildren spent pinching off the withered blooms on those pansies,'' Holton said. ''Our grandfather would give us a penny for every dead bloom we removed. We would absolutely jump at the chance to help him in the garden. He was a choice one, our grandfather was.''
Late 2016, the home was purchased by Kim Moss, and is both being restored and refreshed, to create Athens most ideal event space.
Restorations to the estate have brought modern conveniences while also celebrating the historical value of the home. When restoring the courtyard and gardens, every consideration was made in planning this versatile outdoor space. With the ideal mix of intimate backdrops as well as open areas, this is the perfect place to host all occasions from romantic ceremonies to fabulous cocktail parties.
We recognize that what we do is about preserving life, preserving love, and preserving history.
Because classic never goes out of style.
We believe in history, and legacy, and leaving something behind. We believe in emotion and moments, and these events tell a story.