Q: There was a recent article about a driving tour around Gwinnett. I went to the site and saw the Wynne-Russell House is listed. I drive by it all the time. Can you tell me about it?
A: The tour you're talking about is called The Plantation Houses of Gwinnett, a self-guided tour of historic locations around the county. Many of the homes are privately owned and not open to the public.
Built by Thomas Wynne with his wife, Mary in the 1820s, the Wynne-Russell House is located in Lilburn. .
The style of homes built then is referred to as “Plantation Plan or what started as the Greek Revival ‘I’,” according to Elmer Nash, one of the founding board members of the Lilburn Community Partnership, that oversees the operation of the house.
“It was a nice house at a time when most people did not live in nice houses and built by a family of substance - before Lilburn existed, it was called the McDaniel settlement,” Nash added.
Wynne died in 1839, leaving his widow with nine children, under the age of 18, to raise on the 500-600 acre plantation, according to the county. They had a total of 15 children.
The two-story house showcases the parlor, front and great rooms along with the kitchen on the main floor - the bedrooms upstairs. Nash said that partitions were added to divide the once single large room into specific living areas. The original detached kitchen and outhouse no longer exist.
“The interior floors, walls and fireplaces are original and largely untouched by modern finishing,” according to the city.
Descendants of the Wynne and Russell families occupied the house at one time or another.
“The last lady to live there was Mary Russell. She died in the 70’s at the age of 97 years old. The house had pretty well deteriorated by then and by the time the City (Lilburn) bought it, it was in awful shape,” Nash said.
Nash said the city has been generous in terms of supporting and renovating the house, “turning it into a real asset for the City that probably not too many people know about,” the LCP member said.
The site includes a family cemetery with five markers, but the original marker is difficult to read.
Two white rockers rest on the front porch. A white picket fence separates the house from the busy road.
“It’s a neat place for people to see how some lived over 100 years ago,” he said.
The house is located off Highway 29 (Lawrenceville Highway), near the intersection of Indian Trail-Lilburn Road.
Address: 4684 Wynne Russell Drive NW, Lilburn, Ga., 30047
For more information, visit lilburnevents.com (770-923-7725).
New to town or simply have a question about this place we call home? Email your requests to email@example.com.
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