Just minutes away from the bustling city of Rome, Georgia, is Berry College and Oak Hill, a 170-acre estate.
The lifelong home of educator Martha McChesney Berry, Oak Hill features the Greek Revival house of the founder of Berry College, formal and sunken gardens, nature trails, and a museum that retells the life story of the woman who was named one of the most influential people in north Georgia by the editors of About North Georgia. Situated near the campus of the college that bears her name, Oak Hill is a beautiful example of antebellum architecture with a unique place in the history of north Georgia.
Our journey to Oak Hill begins in the Martha Berry Museum, where tickets are purchased that include both attractions. The museum serves as an introduction the life of this incredible woman who is recognized world-wide for her contributions in the field of education.
Visitors may drive or walk through the estate to get to the mansion. We would strongly recommend walking. This easy path starts at the gift shop behind the museum. The "Walkway of Life" was used by Berry everyday to walk to her office and takes you past the original cabin in which she taught Sunday School to the poor children of Possum Trot. Rocks along the path have plaques with some of Berry's favorite sayings, including the quotation from the book of Mark. From here you can follow the path to a series of ponds and into the formal and sunken gardens.
House tours are guided by students from Berry College. They begin in the downstairs front of the home, cover the upstairs living quarters and permit you to visit the grounds, including her garage that houses the vintage Ford that rushed her to an Atlanta heart specialist as she was dying in 1942. Henry Ford personally donated the automobile to the school for Ms. Berry.
One highlight of the tour is the elevator that the educator had built toward the back of the house. During her older years this was how she would go upstairs to bed. The elevator had a reputation of being unreliable, so Berry had a light installed and would carry a book with her in case the ride was longer than anticipated.
This estate and its gardens were home to Union troops during the Civil War after the capture of Rome during The Atlanta Campaign. The building was restored after a fire destroyed some of the home and an outbuilding. Renovations in the 20th century include the addition of the portico on the rear of the building.
Also on the grounds is the home of "Aunt Martha" Freeman, a slave who cared for Berry as a young child and lived with the educator for all her life. After Berry's death in 1942 the cabin remained her home until her death in 1951. Formal gardens and a sunken garden make the south end of Oak Hill a beauty to behold during the growing season.
Oak Hill is located across from the Berry College campus. It is a "must see" attraction according to Georgia's Historic High Country Travel Association and a starred AAA attraction.
Visit the Oak Hill home page.
Location: U. S. 27 and Veterans Memorial Highway
Directions: I-75, Exit 290 (GA Hwy 20). Turn left (west) on GA. 20 and travel 2.4 miles. Turn left on GA. 20, then make an immediate right onto the ramp to U. S. 41. Follow GA. 20/411 to Rome at the split. At the Rome Bypass, turn right and continue to U. S. 27. The entrance is on the left (Caution advised on this turn).
Open:Daily except holidays.
There is a fee for this attraction.
Date added: November 16, 2003
Last update: December 6, 2003
Other Attractions in Rome
Chieftains Musuem / Major Ridge Home
Rome Area History Museum
The Martha Berry Museum
Noble Brothers Foundry
Elisha Winn House
Margaret Mitchell House
Peter Kolb's Farm
Chieftains Musuem / Major Ridge Home