Affectionately called “Milly” by its residents, Milledgeville, Georgia, is a small town that boasts a great deal of interesting historical sites, including our favorite, Andalusia. Many people that come for a tour at the museum often ask what else there is to see in Milledgeville, especially other sites related to Flannery O’Connor. Join us on a mini-tour of the many things Milledgeville can offer!
First is the Cline house on Greene Street. Often referred to as the Cline Mansion, this large, white, nineteenth-century house sits at a very prominent spot in downtown Milledgeville. It is located right behind what used to be the governor’s mansion when Milledgeville was the capital of Georgia from 1804 to 1868. (We recommend visiting our sister museum, Georgia’s Old Governor’s Mansion if you are ever in Milledgeville!) Regina’s family, the Clines, eventually acquired the house in 1886. When Flannery and her parents first moved back to Milledgeville, they lived in the Cline house along with Flannery’s aunts and a border. Flannery lived upstairs in this beautiful, old house throughout high school and college. Its prominent location in town meant that it was only a few blocks away from the main places Flannery would go, including school and church. The house is still the private residence of one of Flannery’s relatives.
The next street over, Hancock Street, serves as downtown Milledgeville’s ‘main street,’ and most of the locations on this tour reside on this road. To the west is the Brown-Stetson-Sanford House, a grand, antebellum house that once served as a restaurant called the Sanford House in Flannery’s day. It formerly sat further downtown at the site of the county’s modern courthouse, but was later moved to its current location. Described by one of the former owners as a restaurant that offered “bonhomie, [a] gracious setting, and good food.” Flannery was known to often eat lunch there with her mother, Regina, during the time that they resided at Andalusia. The Sanford House served up delicious southern dishes such as congealed peach salad, corn sticks, chicken livers, butterbeans, and peppermint chiffon pie. While peppermint might seem like a strange ingredient for pie, longtime residents of Milledgeville that ate at the restaurant claim it was delicious. Flannery herself wrote of its deliciousness in a letter to the owners of the restaurant while enduring a lengthy hospital stay in May of 1964. Read our pie blog post to learn more about this intriguing recipe! The house is currently only open on certain days for trolley tours given through Milledgeville’s visitor’s bureau.
Going back toward downtown along Hancock Street, you pass by the large, brick, Neoclassical buildings of Georgia College and State University. When Flannery attended the school from 1942-1945, it was named Georgia State College for Women whose students, were known as ‘Jessies.’ During her time there, Flannery worked on the school newspaper, yearbook, and literary magazine. She finished her bachelor’s social sciences degree in English and Sociology in just three years. Today, the college is very proud of its famous alumna, naming its undergraduate literary journal, The Peacock’s Feet, after Flannery’s famous pets as well as publishing the Flannery O’Connor Review each year. Part of Heritage Hall, off the Clarke Street entrance of the Ina Dillard Russell Library, is dedicated to Flannery and her time at GSCW.
As we move through downtown Milledgeville, you pass the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Convention & Visitors Bureau. In this beautifully renovated former post office, you can get more information on the area or take a trolly ride around historic Milledgeville. At the end of the downtown area is Sacred Heart Catholic Church, where Flannery and her mother attended mass every morning. Sacred Heart, established in 1874, and one of Flannery’s ancestors even helped found the church by donating the land where the building now sits. The congregation still thrives there today, and Sacred Heart serves a broad community as the only catholic church for miles around.
Further away from downtown yet well within the historic section is Memory Hill Cemetery on Franklin Street. The cemetery was part of the planned city layout, so it dates back to when the city was founded in 1804. Within the cemetery exists beautifully delicate rod iron fences, huge sculptures and tombstones, confederate monuments from a bygone era, caved in graves, and old mausoleums. Each in contrast to some of the more simple and modern graves. There are several unmarked graves, including those of enslaved people from the area as well as patients from Milledgeville’s infamous asylum, now known as Central State Hospital. The setting feels inherently southern gothic, a fitting spot to ponder Flannery’s life and writings as you visit her final resting place. If you choose to visit Flannery’s grave, stop by the gazebo just inside the main entrance to study the map of prominent graves so you can more easily find her. People often leave trinkets (pennies, pens, figurines, poems, or other items) on her ledger stone out of respect for Flannery when visiting her grave.
Furthest away from the town, of course, is Andalusia. The farm, once described as being about five miles outside the town of Milledgeville. In contrast, today it sits well within the city limits, between a strip mall and a car dealership. While living in the Cline House, the farm served as a retreat where Flannery and her relatives could go to spend their free time out in the countryside. Flannery later moved out to the farm permanently with her mother in 1951 after developing lupus and wrote the bulk of her writings there before succumbing to her illness in 1964. The farm may not have been Flannery’s first choice to live out her life had she been healthy. Nevertheless, it served her well as the environment where she wrote most of her stories and provided her with a wealth of inspiration, which can still be seen on the farm today.
If you are an O’Connor fan, keep these places in mind if you get the chance to come to Milledgeville. They allow you to see more of the town and bring Flannery’s world outside of Andalusia to life.
 Robert Fitzgerald, Introduction, Everything That Rises Must Converge, By Flannery O’Connor, (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1965).
 Josephine Keese King, “The Sanford House: A Fairy Tale,” in The Sanford House Cookbook, (Milledgeville: Flannery O’Connor Andalusia Foundation, 2008), intro pages vii-viii.
 “Mary Flannery O’Connor at Georgia State College for Women,” O’Connor at GSCW, 6 Sept. 2019, libguides.gcsu.edu/oconnor-bio/GSCW.
 Fitzgerald, Everything That Rises Must Converge.
 Fitzgerald, Everything That Rises Must Converge.
Title (background) image credit: Courtesy of Special Collections, Russell Library, Georgia College. Nelle Womack Hines Papers.