Historic buildings: Nichols-Hunnicutt-Hardman House and Farm
This house, built c. 1870 by Captain James H. Nichols, is a landmark at the western end of Nacoochee Valley. It was modeled architecturally in an Italianate style after his aunt's house in Milledgeville and he called it West End. Captain Nichols who with his family moved to this area from Milledgeville built not only the house but accompanying structures--a greenhouse, springhouse, kitchen, smokehouse, barn, carriage house and game house. Included in the landscaping were two-tiered water fountains, rock walls and the gazebo placed on top of the Nacoochee Indian Mound. Nacoochee Presbyterian Church (now Crescent Hill Baptist Church) was built by Captain Nichols 1871-72.
In 1893 the property was sold to Calvin Hunnicutt from Atlanta, and in 1903 was purchased by Dr. Lamartine G. Hardman of Commerce.Dr. Hardman made many improvements to the estate lands and buildings and, while he was governor of Georgia (1927 - 1931), the house served as the summer Governor's Mansion.
Like many houses of its era, to avoid a catastrophic fire the kitchen was detached from the house and connected by a breezeway. Mrs. Hardman had the current kitchen built in 1921 for the grand price of $23.40, labor and materials included.
The Hardman family transferred the estate to the state of Georgia in 2002. Today the Hardman Farm, which includes the Indian mound, is managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. It opened to the public in 2014 as the Hardman Farm State Historic Site.
The preservation effort initially focused on structural improvements to ensure the estate will be there for generations to come. Then, although there is period or original furniture from the past, certain modern innovations have been added, such as solar panels and a whole property lightening arrestor that looks like a very tall metal street lamp pole.