The Brown-Stetson-Sanford House

During its 199- year history as an inn, tavern, private home, restaurant, and museum, the Brown Stetson Sanford House has been a witness to local history as played both inside and outside its walls. It is one of the last remaining early inns and taverns in Milledgeville (1825-1850) and the only one open to the public for tours.  

Legislators flocked to the capital as a thriving commercial district sprang up around the capital. George Brown, a doctor and planter, saw an opportunity to take advantage of this boom and in 1825 enlisted his friend, architect/builder John Marlor, to build a handsome tavern and inn on North Wilkinson St. The location was approximately where the front doors to the Baldwin County Courthouse stand today. Over the years the inn became headquarters for the Whig political party, and one can only imagine the political debates that took place inside its walls. 

 In 1857, Daniel Burrell Stetson operated a thriving mercantile and factoring business on Wayne Street. The old inn/tavern was for sale, and he bought it as a home for his family—wife Edith, daughter Lizzie, and sons Will and James. Within a few years, the crisis of secession and war faced the nation. In January of 1861, delegates to the Georgia Secession Convention voted to secede from the Union. The Stetson’s son Will served in the Confederate army and returned to Milledgeville after the war. Mr. Stetson’s health declined, and he died just six weeks after General Lee’s surrender.  

Lizzie stayed with her mother in the family home and the boys ran the mercantile business.  

Generations of Stetsons lived in the house until 1950 when it was leased to two ladies who opened a restaurant on the first floor. After running the restaurant for 15 years, the ladies retired, and the lot on which the house was built was sold to the Piggily store for a parking lot. With destruction of the house imminent, the owners were approached by members of The Old Capital Historical Society with a plan to relocate and restore the house as a community center.  

 The house’s rescue from destruction and relocation to its present location in 1966 drew attention to the loss of historic architectural treasures in Milledgeville. In addition to providing a civic center, the rescue sparked the local preservation movement and the creation of the Downtown Historic District. In 2003, the Old Capital Historical Society merged with Georgia’s Old Capital Museum Society.  

 More recently, the house has served as a house museum (2012-present) that reflects life in Milledgeville from 1857-1890. Volunteers annually host educational tours for 3,000+ visitors–area residents, organizations, and students, both local and from around the world. In addition, the house is a venue for small weddings, civic and social club meetings, GOCHC events and fundraisers.  

 Every house has stories to tell, but the Brown Stetson Sanford House storytellers are the best! Be sure to book your storyteller now! 

 For more information, contact Georgia’s Old Capital Heritage Center at The Depot, Inc., at 478-453-1803, or online at, or on Facebook: Georgia’s Old Capital Heritage Center at The Depot, Inc.

The Brown-Stetson-Sanford House
The Brown-Stetson-Sanford House