Twin City to add emphasis on forgotten park

by | September 12, 2018 3:09 pm

by WHITLEY CLIFTON

Nestled within the 23-acre Carilee Coleman Park is the John Rountree log house, a one-story, three-bay, double-pen saddlebag log house. The cabin, built in c. 1830, is unusual for its construction. Logs are joined with diamond-notching and are chinked, but sealed with wood battens applied mostly on the interior. A large brick chimney rises through the center of this house and would have heated both north and south rooms. The house sits on hewn pine sills and raised concrete block piers. The front porch runs full width of the house and features chamfered posts and a side-gable roof covered with sheet metal. The house never had plumbing, although evidence appears it may have had a rudimentary electrical system added early in this century. The property also displays a hand-dug well that supplied water for the family.

   John Rountree, builder of house, was named after his grandfather who was born in Pennsylvania. John Sr. emigrated to Tar River, North Carolina, then to Greene County, Georgia, and finally to Emanuel County. Though he had six children, only two arrived with him in Emanuel County, those being Joshua and George. Joshua also had six children, including John Rountree, builder of log cabin. The estimated year of this cabin being built is believed to be around the time of John’s marriage to Nancy Brown Kent in 1832. He died in 1858.

   The house remained in the same family, at times being leased to tenants, until the transfer of approximately 11 acres of land was made to the city of Twin City by Lynne Santy Tanner of Rutherfordton, North Carolina, and her two brothers, Chris and Ross Santy, in 1995. Prior to this transfer, the property was passed from the estate of Santys’ mother, Carolyn (Carolee Coleman Rountree) Coleman Walsh.

   This log home is significant for several reasons: It is an outstanding example of an early 19th entry log saddlebag dwelling, one of the most distinctive and easily recognizable house types in Georgia; the diamond notching used in its construction is an unusual method of construction in Georgia (less than 10 examples are known to survive); and it is the oldest surviving building in Emanuel County, representing first or second generation settlement in the region.

   Where it began:

   George and Joshua Rountree are winners of the 1805 Land Lottery. The

3700 acres won are the reason the family migrated to this area. The land they won became Summit, Georgia, and in 1921 Summit incorporated with Graymont, Georgia, to become Twin City.

   Currently:

   The cabin is independently listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has just been placed on Georgia Trust’s 2017 Places in Peril list. The park has picnic shelters, restrooms, and trails, and is slated to undergo restoration.

   The Rountree Log House suffers from…

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