'Places In Peril' Site Sold To Preservation Minded Buyers

Buyers Purchase Foster-Thomason-Miller House In Madison

Friday, June 21, 2019
Madison-Morgan Conservancy Executive Director Christine McCauley Watts with Elizabeth and David Minnix, the new owners of the Foster-Thomason-Miller House in Madison, Ga.
Madison-Morgan Conservancy Executive Director Christine McCauley Watts with Elizabeth and David Minnix, the new owners of the Foster-Thomason-Miller House in Madison, Ga.

The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation and the Madison-Morgan Conservancy announce the sale of the Foster-Thomason-Miller House in Madison, Ga. to Elizabeth and David Minnix of Atlanta. On the Trust’s 2018 list of “Places in Peril,” Madison’s Masterpiece on Main was previously purchased and stabilized by the Madison-Morgan Conservancy and sold to the Minnixes through their newly established Endangered Properties Revolving Fund, which provides effective alternatives to subdivision, destruction, demolition, or neglect of significant natural, agricultural, and historic resources. This first project protected both the architecturally important historic house and nearly an acre of greenspace in the heart of Madison’s historic district.

Built in 1883 as “the most elegant country home in Middle Georgia,” the Foster-Thomason-Miller House was fully restored in 1986 and received a 1986 Georgia Trust Preservation Award. In 2001, the rear kitchen addition burned. The main building suffered primarily smoke and water damage. In 2018, with the house in disrepair and the threat of proposed insensitive development on the property, the Georgia Trust included it on its 2018 list of 10 “Places in Peril” in the state. 

This extraordinary home of national significance is an example of the American Aesthetic Movement with elements of Queen Anne, Italianate, and Gothic Revival styles and was allegedly influenced by Oscar Wilde’s 1882 House Beautiful tour.

The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, making it eligible for significant economic/tax incentives, including Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credits, State Rehabilitation Tax Credits, and a Preferential Property Tax Freeze. The property is also regulated by Madison’s local historic district.

Elizabeth and David Minnix of Atlanta purchased the Foster-Thomason-House and have assembled a team of experts to assist them in the restoration. Mr. Minnix’s great-great-grandmother received her diploma from the Georgia Female College, and the Foster-Thomason-Miller House was constructed on top of the foundations of that college after it burned in 1880. Mr. and Mrs. Dinnix are both passionate about history, historic architecture, and about their family’s heritage, making Madison’s Masterpiece on Main the perfect acquisition for them, said officials.  The Minnixes are not new to historic rehabs— they are currently working on four adaptive reuse rehabs in the Armour Yards area of Atlanta.  

“We are so pleased the Minnix family will be the next stewards of Madison’s Masterpiece on Main,” said Christine McCauley Watts, executive director of the Conservancy. “Their connection to the property and their passion for history, architecture, and design will be evident in their rehabilitation. As the first project of the Conservancy’s Endangered Properties Revolving Fund, we feel very fortunate to have found conservation buyers with so much passion for the property and the foresight to invest in this magnificent house. Our goal was to permanently protect the house and the land and historic context, which we were able to do thanks to the Minnixes and through a conservation easement with the Georgia Trust.”

President and CEO of the Georgia Trust Mark C. McDonald said, “The Foster-Thomason-Miller House is one of Georgia’s finest Eastlake style buildings, and we’re delighted that it’s going to be saved and protected in perpetuity by a preservation easement. This preservation victory was made possible by a dynamic partnership between the Madison-Morgan Conservancy, the Georgia Trust, the Madison Preservation Commission, and the vigilant citizens of Madison.”

In 2016, the Madison-Morgan Conservancy identified the “revolving fund” as a tool to help protect endangered properties in Morgan County. Thanks to guidance and technical support from the Georgia Trust, which has protected more than 30 properties since 1990 through its revolving fund, the Conservancy created an Endangered Properties Revolving Fund and made the Foster-Thomason-Miller House its first purchase.

The Conservancy’s Endangered Properties Revolving Fund is funded by the Watson-Brown Foundation, The 1772 Foundation, and by many donors and friends. The Revolving Fund provides effective alternatives to subdivision, destruction, demolition, or neglect of significant natural, agricultural, and historic resources by securing endangered properties, stabilizing them, and then marketing them to a conservation buyer who will agree to rehab the property to certain standards or use the property for certain uses. To help protect other endangered properties in Morgan County, you can make a contribution to the Endangered Properties Revolving Fund or contact the Madison-Morgan Conservancy to learn more at info@mmcGeorgia.org, (706) 818-8046, or www.mmcGeorgia.org

As the first and only county-wide conservancy in Georgia, the Madison-Morgan Conservancy has been working to preserve and protect the heritage and quality of life in Morgan County for nearly 20 years. Through collaboration, partnerships, and a good working relationship with local governments, landowners, and other non-profits, the Conservancy has played a role in protecting over 4,300 acres of land, restoring numerous historic structures, strengthening the local food system, and generally creating a culture of conservation through education, advocacy, and through its Junior Conservancy and Endangered Properties Revolving Fund. 

Founded in 1973, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation works for the preservation and revitalization of Georgia’s diverse historic resources and advocates their appreciation, protection and use. 

As one of the country’s leading statewide, nonprofit preservation organizations, the Trust generates community revitalization by finding buyers for endangered properties acquired by its Revolving Fund and raises awareness of other endangered historic resources through an annual listing of Georgia’s “Places in Peril.” The Trust recognizes preservation projects and individuals with its annual Preservation Awards and awards students and young professionals with the Neel Reid Prize and Liz Lyon Fellowship. The Trust offers a variety of educational programs for adults and children, provides technical assistance to property owners and historic communities, advocates for funding, tax incentives and other laws aiding preservation efforts, and manages two house museums in Atlanta (Rhodes Hall) and Macon (Hay House). To learn more, visit www.georgiatrust.org.
 


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