Discover the Janice Persons Biggers House in Columbus Georgia - This 2-story Italian villa-style townhouse that was restored in 1977. In Dec 2006, the house was named for Ms. Janice Persons Biggers, the first Exec Director of the Historic Columbus Foundation.
Museum History and Info
700 Broadway was the only two-story brick home in the original city of Columbus Geirgua. The exterior and interior of the walls are solid brick. The first floor is open to tour and has an appropriately furnished parlor, dining room, a library and a bedroom. Original mantelpieces are retained throughout the house. The ceilings are 14 feet high. The light fixtures in this house are gasoliers. The second floor, formerly bedrooms with a wide central hallway, houses the offices of the Junior League of Columbus.
700 Broadway stands on a lot surveyed as part of the original 1828 town plan. The home has had a storied past. It was occupied until recently by a series of influential families, including that of the late Georgia Supreme Court Justice Sterling Price Gilbert and during the Second World War served as an apartment building.
Displayed on the Back Porch walls are some of the different historic sights around Columbus Georgia. There are three National Historic Landmarks within the city limits. There are only 2000 in the country and 40 in the state of Georgia.
The second National Landmark is the Springer Opera House. The Springer is a Victorian theatre built in 1871. It was almost destroyed in the 1960's to build a parking lot, but was saved and restored. The Springer Opera House is now the State Theatre of Georgia.
The third National Landmark is the Folly, the only double-octagonal house in the United States. The first octagon consists of a central chimney and a fireplace in each of the rooms, and the second octagon is a bedroom.
700 Broadway Description
In the parlor of 700 Broadway, the stained-glass windows are original to the house. The fireplaces in this house are small because they are coal burning instead of wood burning. On the wall next to the secretary is a portrait of Dr. Edwin L. deGraffenreid. He was one of the five Governor-appointed Commissioners who directed the original town plan and survey of 1828. The city is in a grid pattern with the streets running east and west or perpendicular to the river and the avenues running north and south. The original plan did include a church square where many of the churches are still standing and a courthouse square where the Government Center Tower is today.
It features an apothecary shop, and it is housed in an original outbuilding, formerly used as the kitchen. It has been carefully furnished to approximate the surroundings in which Dr. Pemberton worked when he was a Columbus pharmacist. Coca-Cola Company mementos, pharmaceutical items, a soda fountain, and advertisements of Dr. Pemberton's are some of the items on display.
Owner, Dr. deGraffenreid
As a medical doctor, Dr. deGraffenreid felt that the streets in the downtown area needed to be wide for health and sanitary reasons. The doctor discovered that the reason people got so sick so fast was because they lived too close together. If they lived farther apart, diseases would be transmitted at a slower rate and frequency. As a result the streets in the historic district are 99 feet wide; avenues are 132 feet wide; and Broadway is 162 feet wide. Broadway is particularly wide because it was to be the chief residential street.
Dr. deGraffenreid was regarded by the Creek Indians as being an exceptional man. During an outbreak of smallpox, he treated their sick and saved many from death. To show their appreciation, they periodically gathered behind his house and seated themselves around a fire with blankets over their heads and muttered deep guttural sounds intended for blessings.
"One hundred years of history per hour" - HCF Heritage Tours
Within one convenient block you can view five outstanding styles of architecture from primitive to posh. All houses on Heritage Corner are open Wednesday through Saturaday at 2 pm except on major holidays. Heritage Corner is located at 7th Street and Broadway in Columbus' Original City Historic District.
Heritage Corner Tours are offered Wednesday through Saturday at 2 p.m. Closed on major holidays. Tours start at 708 Broadway, Columbus Georgia.
Tour Fees are $5 per person; $1 students with a Two person minimum for tour. Special Group Tours may be arranged. For groups over 15, reservations are required. Call for scheduling and additional information.