Monday, August 30, 2010

Return to Andalusia

Last week I made a return visit to Andalusia, the final home of author Flannery O'Connor in Milledgeville, Georgia. I went last summer too (you can read about that here), and much progress has been made it little over a year.

First, an aviary has been built just behind the farmhouse for several peafowl. O'Connor raised the birds herself when she lived here, and a special project brought peafowl back to Andalusia. It's something the staff there are really excited about, and they keep the public updated on the birds and other things via their blog.

I spoke with Craig Amason, the director, who said the next project on the table is to save the Hill House, which was the home of the family who helped the O'Connors run the dairy farm at Andalusia. The Hills were mentioned in several of O'Connor's letters, published in The Habit of Being. Their house is thought to predate the main home where O'Connor lived with her mother. $75,000 is needed to stabilize the structure, and $200,000 is needed to fully restore the home. The Andalusia Foundation is working to raise the funds needed to make this house what it was when O'Connor lived here, as it was an important part of farm life at Andalusia. To learn more about how you can help, click here.

Inside the farmhouse, I got a picture of O'Connor's bedroom, one of the home's front rooms where she did her writing. Notice the crutches that she used as her lupus worsened.

After I left the farm, I visited the nearby campus of Georgia College and State University, where O'Connor was once a student and where some of her personal effects are on display. Here is the desk and typewriter where she did all of her work, which was, during her lifetime, in her bedroom at the farmhouse.

To read more about the College's O'Connor collection, click here.

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