In the mid-1800s, William Butler Johnston was the keeper of the Confederate treasury, but the mansion he built is the real treasure he left behind. Inspired by the mansions of Florence and Rome during a three-year honeymoon in Europe, Johnston and his wife, Anne, spent four years building an 18,000-square-foot Italian Renaissance Revival mansion that is now a National Historic Landmark. Considered the most advanced antebellum building in America for its style, craftsmanship and technological innovations, the magnificent seven-level Hay House has been featured on A&E's "America's Castles." It boasts beautiful 18th-Century furnishings, Italian Carrara Marble fireplaces, some of the country's finest examples of marbleized and trompe l'oeil finishes, a music room with a 30-foot clerestory ceiling, exquisite plaster work with 24-karat gold leafing and spectacular stained glass. The mansion is called Hay House for its last owners and residents, the P.L. Hay family, who conveyed the property in 1977 to The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, the country's largest statewide non-profit preservation organization. Hay House is available for functions and guided tours. A museum shop features Victorian inspired gift items; decorative art glass; authentic North Georgia pottery; books of regional interest including Civil War history, history of architectural design and decorative arts and cookbooks; reproductions of architectural remnants such as finials from iron fences and brackets; and Georgia food products. Of special interest are pewter reproductions of mint julep cups designed by Edmund Johnston, brother of Hay House builder William Butler Johnson. The Johnston brothers jointly owned a jewelry business in Macon.
Hours: Wednesday - Sunday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. Tours begin at 10:00 a.m. and the last tour starts at 3:00 p.m. We will not offer a noon tour on Wednesdays or Thursdays. Facial coverings are required and reservations are recommended.