Root House
Photograph of the Root House

William Root and The Root House
A simple man.
A simpler time...

by Randy Golden

The Vann House in Chatsworth, Bulloch Hall in Roswell, Chieftains in Rome, even Sam Tate's "Pink Palace" (now "The Tate House") are castles, dedicated and preserved as shrines to the opulent lifestyles of the rich and famous of their day. The Root House is different. This modest house accurately represents homes of middle-income citizens on the Georgia frontier in the days surrounding The Civil War.

Sign in front of the Root HouseToday the William Root House sits a short distance from the site it occupied for much of its life near Glover Park in downtown Marietta. For two score and ten years the Root name was as much a fixture in the city as that of the Glovers or Coles. Today his home represents the best remaining example of a middle class life throughout north Georgia.

William Root was a druggist. His early association with William Kitchens, who opened a drug store in Augusta, Georgia in 1836 gave him the experience to move west to the tiny town of Marietta where he opened another drug store for Kitchens. Root would later describe the new city in a narrative by saying, "It was not a pretty place and not then as prosperous as it had been for a time."

Former Cobb Landmarks and Historical Society Executive Director Elizabeth Bryce Bell spoke about William Root and his impact on the community. "Mr. Root and his family," she said, "were very religious and contributed much to the spiritual well-being of the community. He organized the Saint James Episcopal Church in 1842, frequently teaching Sunday school to the young boys of the new city. He sold bibles in his store." Recently the church uncovered a picture of Mr. Root, which it donated to the museum.

In addition to the modest home the museum includes out-buildings of the time. The kitchen, (pictured right) is currently on-site and a privy has been added. One project that is underway is creation of a garden that would accurately represent the earlier days of the house.

The home is owned and run by the Cobb Landmarks and Historical Society and is open from Tuesday through Saturday. Volunteer docents discuss each of the rooms in the home and adjacent outbuildings. A gift shop on the first floor features many items for sale, including The First Hundred Years, an excellent reference book on area history. Profits from the sale of this and other items go to help in the continuing efforts to preserve the unique history of the Root House and to help the Society in general.

Root's life was marred by personal tragedy, including the death of his son. After the failure of his business he was hired by St. James Church, where he worked until he died.

Tours are unscripted, so each docent gives a different tour.

Location: corner of Polk Street and the 120 Loop in downtown Marietta
Directions: Take I-75, exit 263 (S. Marietta Pkwy/Highway 120) west. Just after the railroad overpass, turn right and continue past Mill St. The house is on the right, with plenty of available parking
Additional information:

Date added: November 16, 2003
Last update: January 23, 2004

Other Attractions in Marietta
Marietta National Cemetery
Marietta Confederate Cemetery
Gone With The Wind Movie Museum
The Big Chicken
Harry's Farmers Market
Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art
Peter Kolb's Farm
Marietta Museum of History
Kennesaw House
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
Marietta Square (Glover Park)

Home Listing
Hay House
Bulloch Hall
Elisha Winn House
Margaret Mitchell House
Ross House
Peter Kolb's Farm
Fort Hollingsworth
Chieftains Musuem / Major Ridge Home
Oak Hill
Blunt House
Roselawn Museum
Barnsley Gardens
Wormsloe Plantation

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