When I was back in the rural holler of the Georgia mountains a couple weeks ago I made a visit to Pinedale, my old family estate. I had not been there in probably 15 years. Pinedale’s story goes: Sometime in the middle 1800′s my great-great-grandfather hopped on a wagon in Michigan with his wife and aunt. They were on their way to Florida. After reaching the North Georgia mountains they got tired of traveling and ended up homesteading on 180 acres. I think they got the land through adverse possession (which I would like to try some day), but I am not sure. Anyway, they had some children, one of which was Floyd Knight, my great-grandfather. Floyd was an artist and amateur architect who designed and built Stone Gables, the house featured herein. He started on it in the 1930′s; it was a work in progress his whole life.
The construction of the house is legit with giant stone lintels, stone brackets, wood beams, and slate roofs. The main interior space is quite nice with an expansive proportion. The second floor hangs over the first like a mezzanine via rods attached to the roof’s ridge beam. One of the bedrooms even has a built-in fish pond in the floor right under the window. Since Floyd was an artist he could experiment with bad ideas like that, I suppose.
The man himself:
A tower was intended to be constructed at one end of the house. You can see the stone keys that were left to allow the future tower to structurally plug right in.
Throughout the house you will also find large nautilus shells along with a giant piece of coral (which weighs hundreds of pounds) next to the fireplace. Floyd probably figured since Pinedale would never be in Florida he would just bring Florida to Pinedale. Like the image below, many of the scenes are set up like still lifes that the Old Masters would paint.
It was great to see the house again with my acquired architect’s eye. Unfortunately, Stone Gables has some bad recent history. About five years ago some people broke in and stole all the original furniture. The thieves are still at large. And the large tree at the front of the house (which you can see in the photos) had to be cut down before it did further damage. Still, the house is an inspiring Appalachian castle. I am fortunate that architecture runs in my blood.
Apologies for the inconsistencies and gaps in this story but it is the best I can do at the moment until more research is done. As my next steps, I need to read the book about the house and talk to more of my extended family.
For more photos see my Flickr account.