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Clipped Newspaper Article Included With Letter From Violette Chase - Atlanta Journal, July 8, 1927


Merele County has condemned what was once on of the finest show places in the south. Hawthorne Estate, built prior to the Civil War, is scheduled to fall beneath the wrecker’s ball on July 28th.

This fine old home, though deserted for nearly sixty years, still retains the southern charm that made it unique in the area.

Built in 1859 for his child-bride by Jefferson Fontaine, the family fell on hard times after the war, and the property went into county receivership in 1865.

Though all of its valuable furnishings were removed many fine examples of classic southern architecture remain. Mantle pieces, stained glass, old wines discovered in the cellar will all be put up for public auction on July 25th. Many other similar pieces will be offered prior to the destruction of the house.

Through the years, the county has tried unsuccessfully to sell the property. The house and grounds include 45 acres of land, the house and various out buildings. Originally the estate comprised some 300 acres, but local land records show that after the war much of the land was sold to pay Fontaine family debts and to provide a living for the widowed Mrs. Fontaine and her small son.

The house has proved to be the greatest difficulty for the county in attempting to find a buyer. County officials have called it a “white elephant”, without modern conveniences or central heating. The huge house has rendered the sale of the grounds impossible.

“It’s too expensive for anyone to even tear down on their own”, one official stated.

The property is wildly overgrown from inattention. The county hopes that this will not deter prospective buyers. “This area is good farming land. It’s doubtful that anyone else would find a use for it. It’s too far out from any city for a developer to interested in.” City Clerk Farley said. “It’s a shame to see the old place go . . . but what can you do? The estate eats us up in taxes every year.”

The public is invited to view the estate prior to the auction. The sale will be conducted by Lauber Brothers auctioneers, and will begin promptly at 1 p.m. on July 25th.