633 Meriwether Street
Bailey-Tebault House - On National Register of Historic Places
This Greek Revival home was built between 1859 and 1862. It is now the headquarters for the Griffin/Spalding Historical Society. Call 770-229-2432 for free guided tours.
The Bailey-Tebault House was built by David Jackson Bailey and his wife, Susan Mary Grantland, daughter of the newspaper editor in Milledgeville, Georgia, which was then the state capital. Mr. Bailey was a Butts County lawyer and a member of the Georgia legislature which, of course, met in Milledgeville.
The Baileys had 11 children, 6 of whom lived to adulthood, and they decided to move to Griffin because it had a reputation for having excellent schools. None were public schools, for the first local public school, Sam Bailey, was not built until 1870.
Construction of the Baileys' house was begun in 1859 on 14 acres of land outside the developed area of Griffin and north of the Plank Road to Flat Shoals. You can still tell that this is a high spot of ground and a good site for a house. Unfortunately, the neighborhood did not develop in keeping with the Baileys' house. Completion of the house was delayed because the interior millwork ordered from Philadelphia was confiscated during the Union blockade of the Confederacy; therefore, the house was not finished until 1862. One family story says that Mr. Bailey’s extensive library was scattered from Griffin to Jackson by Federal troops.
The house is a fine example of Greek Revival architecture. The quality of its detailing and the proportions of its component parts are outstanding. The curving stairway is unusual for a house of this date. There are projecting plaster crown moldings between the ceiling and walls in the hall. At some point during the house's history, the fireplaces in the double parlors were closed and the mantels removed. Mr. and Mrs. James S. Murray donated the mantels that are in the parlors today. These came from the Beeks home on North Hill Street. The fine neighborhoods of Griffin in the 19th century were north of the railroad tracks on Hill Street and streets west of Hill and south of the railroad near Poplar and Meriwether. The Griffin Female College stood where the vacant Griffin Ace Hardware building is on West College Street.
Originally, the kitchen was detached from the house, but the two are now joined by a passageway. The servants’ quarters remain in the back yard, as does the tall carriage house with a fireplace so the groom could keep warm.
Some of the Bailey daughters married Confederate officers who were trained in the Griffin camps. Camp Stevens on North 9th Street was the main training center for troops from all over the state.
The Baileys helped organize St. George’s Episcopal Church, and Mrs. Bailey gave the stained glass windows when the present church building was built in 1871. Mrs. Bailey lived until 1897 but was bedridden the last 15 years of her life. Mrs. Bailey’s great-grandson, Grantland Barnes, says his mother remembered that her grandmother, Mrs Bailey, went to the back door every afternoon to call, “Aunt Sophie, it’s five o’clock. Time to come get your dram!” Aunt Sophie was an old servant who lived in one of the little houses in the back yard.
When Mrs. Bailey died, her daughter, Sallie Bailey Tebault, who had married in 1866 and moved to New Orleans, inherited the house. It later passed to her son, then to his wife, then to the wife’s niece, staying in the family until 1971, when James Rawls bought it. The Tebaults never lived in the house and did not take good care of it. During those years it was variously rented to families, divided into apartments, stood vacant, and finally became the Frank S. Pittman Funeral Home around 1940. When Mr. Rawls took over the funeral home, he named it Pittman-Rawls Funeral Home.
Around 1909, the house was used as Griffin’s first hospital. Mrs. M. Douglas Hollberg’s mother began her nurse’s training here in 1909. During the years of use as a funeral home, the wall between the parlors was opened so the large room could be used as a chapel. During the renovations made by the historical society in 1989, the arch was reshaped and paneling was installed in the opening. Probably the original opening had double doors between the parlors.