Raines - Miller - Carmichael House, Macon Georgia

Date added: July 23, 2023 Categories: Georgia House Mansion
Three-quarter rear view, looking south (1971)

This house is one of the most prominent architectural beauties of Macon, at the intersection of two main arteries, College Street and Georgia Avenue, in the heart of the College Hill area.

This house was designed by the great architect-builder, Elam Alexander in the form of a modified Greek Cross and was built in the late 1840's by Cadwallader W. Raines.

Howard Major in his book, "The Domestic Architecture of the Early American Republic", uses this house to illustrate the variety of detail and the striking individuality often achieved within the Greek Revival style. Godey's "Lady's Book" is said to have printed the plans followed in 1846 in building the Carmichael House.

Judge Raines died in 1856 and his wife in 1860, leaving no issue. This house was sold in 1869 to John E. Jones, president of the Central Bank of Georgia. By a family connection, it came into the possession of Dr. and Mrs. George T. Miller, before being purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Joseph Carmichael.

Elam Alexander, Macon's great builder, left this city a great architectural legacy by means of this beautiful home, Jerry Cowles' cottage (now located on Rivoli Drive in Macon) and Cowles' Mansion (now Stratford Academy). Alexander is also credited with designing the outstanding Holt-Peeler-Snow House and the original Wesleyan Female College. Through his will, Alexander provided for funds to build public schools, four of which have been erected and named in his honor since his death in 1863.

Classical details such as Ionic capitals, a full entablature, and pedimented gables are combined with aspects that express approaching Victorian characteristics; a spacious modified Greek cross plan, bay windows and multi-sided third-story tower. Major interior features include an elaborate columned niche found in the main stair hall and repeated in several rooms and the magnificent tour de force of a spiraling staircase in the central tower. Alexander's merit as an architect is exemplified in his other Macon structures, the Jerry Cowles Cottage, the Cowles Mansion, the Holt-Peeler-Snow House, and the original Wesleyan Female College.

Building Description

This house was built in the late 1840s.

The design is that of a modified Greek Cross, with rooms branching off in four directions from an octagonal hall. A free-hanging stairway sings itself upward to a cupola high above the second story.

Originally the Ionic-columned front porch followed the line of the house between the arms of the cross. Later it was given a rounded front. The interior of the house, with large bay window recesses at the end of each room, no doubt, presented a major problem in decoration. Happily, its various vistas are enhanced by exquisite eighteenth-century mahogany furnishings and an overall effect of unity heightened by just the right fabrics and colors.

The front porch has been changed; originally it broke back following a line of walls making three sides of an internal octagon. This house has an unusual plan forming a cross with equal arms and octagonal stair and entrance hall in center, and with porches between each arm of the cross.

A spiral staircase carries up to the attic. Restoration, changing the aspect of the original building, include changes in the front porch and the woodwork of the central hall. Central plaster ceiling ornament in color at the attic ceiling above central stair-hall.

Raines - Miller - Carmichael House, Macon Georgia Three-quarter rear view, looking south (1971)
Three-quarter rear view, looking south (1971)

Raines - Miller - Carmichael House, Macon Georgia Front facade looking northeast (1971)
Front facade looking northeast (1971)

Raines - Miller - Carmichael House, Macon Georgia Entrance Hall, Ceiling Medallion (1936)
Entrance Hall, Ceiling Medallion (1936)

Raines - Miller - Carmichael House, Macon Georgia Entrance Hall, Stairway (1936)
Entrance Hall, Stairway (1936)