Having had such a great time at Callaway Gardens, we wanted to return to the Hills and Dales Estate
which also has a Callaway heritage.
Hills & Dales Estate is the home built by Fuller and Ida Callaway,
who were the parents of Cason Calloway,
founder of Callaway Gardens. The estate was named for the sunny hills and shady dales in the area.
The home, which is a blend of Italian and Georgian styles,
was completed in 1914, but the history of the gardens goes back to the 1800s. In 1841, Blount and Sarah Farrell returned to LaGrange from Florida to live on property that belonged to Sarah’s parents. Upon their return, Sarah
expanded a garden begun by her mother in 1832. Sarah’s garden was officially named The Terraces, but it was commonly called Farrell Gardens. By the 1870s and 1880s, the gardens had grown in size and had won wide acclaim throughout the southeast for its beauty.
Sarah Farrell welcomed visitors to her garden, and one of the frequent guests was Fuller Callaway. Late in her life, Sarah encouraged Fuller to purchase her property. Sarah Farrell died in 1903, and Blount Farrell died in 1908. A few years later, Fuller and Ida Callaway did buy the property where they planned to build a new house.
First, however, they set about restoring Sarah’s then-neglected gardens
And, over the ensuing years, added many flowering plantings, both in the gardens and in the adjoining greenhouse which was originally constructed in 1916 and later remodeled in 1949 by Alice and Fuller Callaway, Jr. The greenhouse is maintained to look much the same as it did in Alice’s time. It is filled with tropical plants and orchids.
The house was designed in 1914 by the noted Atlanta architect firm of Hentz & Reid. It is built on a hill overlooking the gardens on the site of the original Farrell cottage. The 13,000 square-foot house has over 30 rooms, including 9 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms, and is constructed from stucco and Indiana limestone with a tile roof. The construction took 15 months and cost $125,000 (the equivalent of almost $3 million in today’s dollars).
Fuller Callaway died in 1928. After Ida passed away in 1932, Cason’s younger brother Fuller, Jr. moved into Hills & Dales along with his wife, Alice, and their children.
Following the death of Fuller, Jr. in 1992 and that of Alice in 1998, the estate was bequeathed to the Fuller E. Callaway Foundation and opened to the public in 2004 according to the wishes of the Callaways. The home is displayed with original furnishings and family heirlooms, and it looks much the same way it was at the time of Alice Callaway’s death.
To the south of the greenhouse is the Church Garden, which is the oldest part of the gardens where Sarah Farrell first did her planting in 1841 … and where a Chinese fir planted by Sarah towers over the rest of the garden.
And, as is frequently the case in such historic homes, photography in not permitted inside the house … well, such regulations have never stopped me before and with a new smartphone it is easier than ever to do without being caught!. Some of the most interesting rooms include:
From the Bird Gate,
there is a nice path back to the visitor center.