Abandoned Nolan Plantation in Georgia Stands Empty

Nolan Plantation | Georgia | c. 1850s, c. 1906

There was a time in this region of Georgia when cotton was king. When expansive plantations like this one still dotted the landscape in this area. And while many of them are gone now, this impressive example still stands. Impressive not only in stature and construction but in history due to its unique position in the timeline of our Nation’s history. 

Beginning as a slave plantation and transitioning to a tenant based farming system makes this place a unique example from its era. I hope sharing with you here will help us all to interpret more about what life might’ve been like then.

The Nolan Family Comes to Georgia

The Nolan Family came to this area of Georgia from South Carolina in the early 1800s and by the 1850s, were prosperous enough to buy this land (and its original home) from the Barton-Swift Family.

During the early years of their ownership, the Nolan Family used enslaved labor to farm this land until 1865. During that time, the plantation had a blacksmith’s shop and a cotton gin.

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The original Nolan Family Home c. 1850s

The Sharecropping Era

The changes that must’ve been felt during this era are hard to understand nowadays but we can at least agree that things would shift drastically for some over the following years. And surely, Nolan Plantation wasn’t exempt from the changes that came with such a monumental shift but in many ways, things stayed much the same here too.

After the end of slave labor came to the South, many of the freedmen from this plantation stayed on to work as tenant farmers, signing contracts that kept them tied here. The Sharecropping Era had begun and just as many others did, a commissary and tenant homes were built here to accommodate the needs of the nearly 2,000 acre plantation.

The Nolan Crossroads store (pictured above), was likely a large part of life here on the plantation as workers would use their credits from farming to buy goods here, creating their own micro-economies. Many of the tenant farmhouses from the era still stand on the property today.

Sharecropping Comes to an End

The family prospered here until the boll weevil hit cotton hard across the South in the 1920s.

With their main crop no longer viable, things were undoubtedly difficult to keep running here but the Nolan Family continued to farm this land with peaches as their main crop until the 1970s. The 3,724 square foot main house (built c. 1906) has been empty since that time. 

In 2005-06, the home was used to film scenes for a television show so some effort was made to clean it up but by 2007, the windows had been boarded up to protect her from vandals and the elements.

Nolan photo of 1946 farm equipment

The Abandoned Nolan Plantation Today

Despite these protective measures, the home has been looted of many of its original fixtures and is marked up with graffiti and destruction on the interior walls.

In 2015, the home was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and is presently on the 2020 Georgia Places in Peril list with hopes that something can be done to save her this year. 

This house is on private property and is not open to the public.

36 thoughts on “Abandoned Nolan Plantation in Georgia Stands Empty”

  1. Interesting bit of history. Much of America’s history known to Americans today has been “sanitized” to fit a prevailing narrative. I enjoy driving secondary roads and making unexpected stops because of interesting things. Thank you for sharing history.

  2. Sheree Fielding

    I have passed through Georgia a few times and always believed there was a lot of history to be shared.I am so glad that you can explore for all of us that cannot.Maybe someday!You are my eyes into the past.I enjoy it all so very much.Thank You for all your doing.

    1. There are two Nolan Family Homes that are still standing. The main one featured in the article is from 1906, the earlier family house (the unpainted wooden building pictured here too) is from the early 1800s.

  3. Diane Robinson

    If I was rich I’d restore the Nolan plantation it’s a shame people vandalized that place

  4. I am currently researching my families past for a link to this home. I do hate to see any historical home just left to the elements.

  5. I came to visit my cousin’s family in August of 1963 as my uncle Arba was the chief herdsman of the Boll Weevil Plantation. This house looks very similar to theirs. Does anyone know if this is the place?

  6. Thank you for the history and information you share here. I love historic homes (especially antebellum homes) the most.

  7. I sure hope she can be saved! Seems like a bit of history that should be protected. Some would say we should destroy everything that has anything to do with slaving and plantations, but I disagree. How else are we going to remember where we’ve been if we don’t have statues and protected properties and plantations and mansions and just basic houses that mark history like that

    1. I agree with you. Our country’s history must be preserved and passed on to future generations.
      We learn from history the good and the bad. God Bless America!

  8. If the home is on private property, why are the owners given the choice of either restoring the home or selling it? As it is, it’s such a selfish waste on the owners’ part….

  9. I am interested in the Barton-Swift Family that owned it before Nolan Family purchased it. Barton is my ancestoral name. I wonder where it is located.

    1. The original family home was built around 1808 and is shown in the article (it is the wooden building without paint), as well as the second house that was built in 1906.

  10. The current owner of this property also owns over 200 acres in Morgan County where the Nolan house sits and over 300 acres in Gwinnett County, Georgia assessed at over 4 million dollars – who knows the true value of that much land in suburban Atlanta. They could restore the house if they chose to.

  11. I know this house. We used to pass by it in the late 80s and early 90s on our way to visit my grandparents in Good Hope. I was around 6 or 7 years old then. In college I worked a summer in Madison, commuting from Athens I started passing it again. I’m always fascinated by historical houses, we lived in two when I was growing up, but one of the things I like most about them is that they’re landmarks that remind me of my youth and my family at that time.

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