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Oak Hill - Berry College

November 16, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Oak Hill is a 170-acre estate Greek revival mansion. Oak Hill was an original Victorian-style farmhouse that was built in 1847. During the American Civil War and the capture of Rome during The Atlanta Campaign, the estate was used by the Union soldiers as a place to stay.

Charles H. Smith, whose widely known pen name was Bill Arp, owned the estate before he sold it to his colleague Andrew M. Sloan. Thomas Berry and his family moved to Rome, Georgia from Alabama in 1868 to become a partner in Berrys and Company, a wholesale grocery and cotton brokerage business.

Around 1871, his business became successful, and Thomas Berry decided to move to a better place so he purchased the estate from Sloan for $9,000. Thomas and his family: his wife Frances Margaret Rhea, his eight children, and his late brother James' three orphaned children moved into the farmhouse.[4] In 1884, after the farmhouse caught fire and burned down, Thomas rebuilt and restored it as a Greek-style Revival home, named Oak Hill.

Thomas' will stated that he left his possessions, home, and 160-acre (0.65 km2) estate to his eight children to be sold, and for the money to be divided equally among his children after the deaths of his wife & himself. Martha Berry urgently desired to keep the house as her home, her schools, and symbol of her triumphs and tragedies. In October 1927, her family sold their shares of the Oak Hill estate to her, and she in turn deeded the estate to The Berry Schools, for five dollars.

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