The Ezell-Peavy House in Byron, GA was built about 1895 by Major Ezell for his son William Holmes Ezell and his family.
Major Ezell came to Byron to open the first school in the village. The Major's home was located on the southeast corner of Church and Academy Streets. The school was across located Academy from the Major's home. The Ezell-Peavy home was located to the west of the school.
The Ezell-Peavy home was located on an almost three-acre lot that was bounded on the west by East Railroad Street. In the Major's will, the lot was given to both William Holmes Ezell and his sister Lena. Lena and her husband and children lived on the family farm on White Road. She was concerned that the well water was not "good" and wanted to move into town. Lena Ezell Peavy bought out her brothers share and moved into the house after William Holmes Ezell built a larger home for his growing family on West Railroad Street.
After purchasing her brother's share of the lot, Lena Ezell Peavy sold to her husband, William Wallace Peavy Sr., a two-thirds portion on the western side of the lot. He then began construction of a large southern mansion using timber he harvested from his farm property.
After Lena and her family moved into the new home, she sold the property to her daughter by her first marriage Nellie Bassett Lamar. Lena's first husband came from Fort Valley and had died on pneumonia.
Nellie Lamar sold the home to her half brother William Wallace Peavy Jr. Wallace lived in the home until his death in 1975. His wife Pinky inherited the property and lived there until she went to live near her daughter in her older years. Wallace's daughter Cynthia inherited the home upon her mother's death.
In 2003, Cynthia sold the home to a local minister and the home passed out of the Ezell family since it was built in 1895. The home stood vacant after Pinky moved out for more than 20 years before it was sold in 2003.
Miss Pinky was an avid gardener. We have two color photos showing a little white house surrounded by lus camellia and azalea bushes. Visitors stopping by to visit us as we worked on the home always spoke with great affection for their old third grade teacher.
The style of the house has been described as a Raised Victorian, but according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, it is a New Southern Cottage. A Southern cottage are four equal rooms separated by a large central hall. A New Southern Cottage has more rooms added onto the Southern Cottage structure. In the original floorplan, the right side of the home had two bedrooms and the left side had a front parlor, living room, dining room and warming room or informal dining room. The home is a contributing member of the National Historic District of Byron, GA.
Because of its status, we were bound by the property deed to preserve the house exterior to reflect it's past and we personally wanted to maintain it's southern charm.
Our restoration began with painting the exterior and stabilizing the front porch roof. The home's original kitchen was in a separate building in the back yard to keep the heat out of the home in warm weather. The original bathroom was also a separate structure built even further away from the house. In the early 1900s, the warming room or informal dining room of the home and a small storage area were combined to form the kitchen and a back porch was enclosed to make a bathroom.
The first order of business was to remove the back section of the house. The termites had done considerable damage to old kitchen, bathroom and back porch. We even found the little fellas in the rafters of the ten-foot high kitchen. We filled up two roll-off dumpsters with debris. (The former owner had cleaned the inside of the home back to the plaster walls and heart pine floors.)
By the end of 2005 we had finished demolition and had started on the foundation for then new addition. The east side of the addition mirrored the footprint of Miss Pinky's home. The kitchen area was extended fourteen feet to the north to add room for an eating area and to gain the space needed for modern appliances. Miss Pinky's old kitchen measured 12 feet by 14 feet.
In early 2006 we started laying the floor joists and worked on the rough plumbing. We were in the planning stage for framing the walls when commitments in WV made it necessary for us to hire a local builder to frame the addition.
Matt Wood (a neighbor and fellow old home restorer) and his crew framed our addition in three days and we can't thank him enough for coming to our rescue on short notice.
A chance meeting at a lumberyard gave us access to a stack of old clapboards of the same vintage as our house. We used them to cover most of the new addition exterior walls. We knew we had done a good job, when a fellow restorer mistook our new addition wall for an original wall.
In December 2006 we sold the property to a resident of Byron who had been admiring and trying to purchase the property for ten years. In 2007, the home will once again be a family home with babies for the first time in almost 75 years.
The following pages are how Jim and Elizabeth left a footprint in Byron. What began as noticing a For Sale sign on an old neglected home with wonderful character lines, gave us a journey in life that we will never forget.
Warning: The linked pages contain a number of photos and can be slow loading on older machines with slow connections.