The Madison-Morgan Conservancy opened the doors of the Foster-Thomason-Miller house on Saturday, August 4, for a donor appreciation event and paint out. The paint out involved six or seven members of the Madison Artists’ Guild setting up their easels both inside and outside of the historic home. The house, parts of which were damaged by a fire in 2001, was bought by the Conservancy earlier this year with plans to prevent further deterioration while searching for the right buyer to fully restore it.
The Conservancy’s Executive Director Christine McCauley explained, “We are celebrating the donors who contributed to the newly established revolving fund to make all of this happen. They weren’t all here, but lots of them were. We don’t really know how many people were here but the estimate is over a hundred, maybe 150.
“We’re going to choose one or two (of the paintings done at the house) and auction them off at Derby Day, but we’re going to have an exhibit at the Madison Artists’ Guild in March-April to celebrate the house, because it is Madison’s house.
“I’m interested in having an artistic interpretation of that house in its current state.”
The house was built in 1883 by Legare H. Foster, a young man who inherited money and then went bankrupt after the home was finished. The Thomason family owned it for almost 90 years during which time they added electricity and installed the bathrooms in 1916. In 1978, Marci Miller bought the house and entirely restored it, receiving the 1986 Georgia Trust State Preservation Award for her efforts.
“Almost everything in the house is original,” McCauley noted. “Oscar Wilde was in America for the whole year of 1882 and gave lectures all over the place – Atlanta, Augusta, Macon, Columbus. So, we think that Foster either saw him speak or read his lectures because there are things in the house directly plucked out of those lectures. It’s all about sunflowers, hand-carving, Minton tiles.”
With many gorgeous, unique details, the house is “an extraordinary example of the American Aesthetic Movement with elements of Queen Anne, Italianate, and Gothic Revival styles” (Lewis & Redwine Real Estate Group informational sheet).
The Foster-Thomason-Miller House is located at 498 South Main Street right in the heart of Madison’s historic district. According to the Conservancy’s Facebook page, “The house on 1.024 acres is available for $449,000. There is an adjacent .86-acre developable lot also available for sale. Serious inquiries should be directed to Michael Redwine or Jeffrey Hagy at email@example.com or 404-394-4071or www.lewisandredwine.com.