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Thursday, June 27, 2013

St. Elmo

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St. Elmo is a historic residence on the National Register of Historic Places, located in MidTown Columbus, Georgia at 2808 18th Avenue.
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Colonel Seaborn Jones drew all the plans for his home and called it El Dorado, land of beauty. The house was begun in 1828 and completed in 1833. The materials used to build this house, with the exception of the marble and the mahogany, were taken from the property itself. A small lake now fills the place where the clay was removed. Colonel Jones brought his wife and children, a daughter and a son, in 1833.
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In 1833, Henry L. Benning, an aspiring young lawyer, wrote a friend: “Above all things (I advise if you desire ease and happiness) marry. Marry a lady of accomplishment, i.e. worth $100,000. It will be better than quibbling. I am anxious to experiment at least.” In 1839, Benning, for whom Fort Benning is named, married the Colonel's daughter. Many historic persons were entertained at El Dorado among them were President Millard Fillmore, President James K. Polk, Henry Clay, General Winfield Scott, and Edwin Booth. Also, here Mrs. Jones' niece, Augusta Jane Evans Wilson, finished her celebrated novel, "St. Elmo."
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In St. Elmo the general setting seems to be the Jones' El Dorado. She published St. Elmo in 1866. Within four months it sold a million copies. It featured sexual tension between the protagonist St. Elmo, who was cynical, and the heroine Edna Earl, who was beautiful and devout. So popular was this novel that it inspired the naming of towns, hotels, steamboats, and a cigar brand. It was Augusta Evans' most famous novel. St. Elmo was adapted for both the stage and screen. It ranks as one of the most popular novels of the 19th century. The heroine Edna Earl became the namesake of Eudora Welty's heroine (Edna Earle Ponder) in The Ponder Heart published in 1954. The novel also inspired a parody of itself called St. Twel’mo, or the Cuneiform Cyclopedist of Chattanooga (1867).
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In 1878, the home was purchased by Captain and Mrs. James J. Slade who changed its name to St. Elmo in honor of the novel which it had inspired. At approximately 2:00pm on October 5, 2011 a fire broke out in the basement wine cellar of St. Elmo. Apparently started by a single candle, the fire did extensive damage to the structure. It looks as if the damage has been prepared.
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4 comments:

RedPat said...

A gorgeous building! Love the metal work highlighted against the white walls.

cieldequimper said...

This is simply magnificent. It looks a bit like the posh parts of London.

gregory urbano said...

Great history lesson, was wondering how close the relationship was to st. elmos fire the movie, just kidding!

Hilda said...

That's a remarkable history, and a very beautiful house.