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Quitman, Georgia                        Harris-Ramsey-Norris House
Circa 1860
Quitman, Georgia

This charming circa 1860 Greek Revival cottage with Gothic-pitched roof has undergone a complete restoration since its purchase in March, 2005. The Harris-Ramsey-Norris House is believed to be one of the oldest homes in Brooks County. The house was owned by the Norris family since 1882. The last surviving member to occupy the house passed away in 2004. The meticulous restoration was done under the supervision of a restoration architect from Selma, Alabama. A complete history of the house during the Norris family ownership is available; listed on the National Register of Historic Places as of September 5, 2008. The application for an eight and one-half year tax assessment freeze was approved in February, 2008 and is transferable to the new owner(s).

The home consists of original plank heart pine flooring. Several rooms have nine inch plank walls and ceilings. There are four fireplaces, including a hearth in the kitchen. The carriage house was also restored, the chicken pen under the house was saved, and the original well is intact.

The following includes, but is not limited to, restoration work completed since March, 2005. An area contractor shored up the house's foundation, replaced clapboards, floorboards, and window panes where necessary, and strengthened the structurally weak carriage house.

The bare exterior clapboards were treated with a 50/50 linseed oil/turpentine mixture. Next, two coats of bonding primer (approximately 40 gallons) were applied. Then, two top coats of Benjamin Moore paint sealed the exterior. The tin roof was repaired and painted. The foundation and chimney masonry was repaired.

Most of the interior effects are also original, since there was very little remodeling over time. Exceptions include the enclosed back porch in 1940 to accommodate a bathroom. Both plumbing and electrical have been completely replaced. The original wall-mounted sink and claw-foot bathtub have been reglazed and a vintage-looking shower conversion kit was added. A local craftsman built a farm house sink of maple for the kitchen. The original 1947 Sears Kenmore stove was sent out and restored. Central heat and air and attic and floorboard insulation have been added. All walls, baseboards, mantels, and ceilings were repainted and the floors sanded and refinished. The doors were faux grained.

The house sits on a one-half acre lot, which is landscaped with camellias, crepe myrtles, pecan trees, and gardenias. Quitman, “The Camellia City,” is a small town approximately 15 miles west of Valdosta and about 10 minutes from the Florida line. Quitman is about one hour from Tallahassee and two hours from Jacksonville. The Quitman Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The district contains late 19th and early 20th century brick buildings in the commercial district and mainly wood frame homes from various periods and styles in the residential area. The streets are laid out in a grid with several theme parks.

Tim Reisenwitz