The historic Ware-Lyndon House Museum hosts a decorative collection reflecting two prosperous doctors and their families: Dr. Edward Ware and Dr. Edward Lyndon. However, the current narrative of the house does not tell the full, dynamic and truthful story of the enslaved plantation and domestic workers. In 2019, a research project began in pursuit of a more holistic account of the Ware-Lyndon House and its inhabitants. A new interpretive display reflects our research to date – however, this research is dynamic and evolving as much more is to be done to understand the full stories.
Located in the historic house, the new exhibit includes a short film providing insight into enslaved families and their descendants, charting a musical journey that suits the rich musical history of Athens. This film features two musicians with family ties to the enslaved, David Wilborn Jr., whose father was born enslaved here and Hall Johnson, whose enslaved great grandparents lived and forced to labor on this campus.
This exhibit includes a reading room of books relevant to the African American experience in art, music and heritage and a visual timeline relating a fuller and truthful story of this property and all its inhabitants.
Corresponding with this new exhibit is the Athens African American Heritage Pathway through downtown Athens featuring stops at sites such as Hot Corner, Morton Theatre and First AME. A map and information is available.
Resilient Civic and Musical Life: Ware-Lyndon House Enslaved and Descendant Stories exhibition and the Athens African American Heritage Pathway is made possible through support of an AARP Community Challenge Grant. Resilient Civic and Musical Life: Ware-Lyndon House Enslaved and Descendant Stories, the film was funded by the Georgia Humanities. Additional support from Athens Downtown Development Authority.
The Ware-Lyndon House is open for self-guided experience Thursday – Saturday from 10 am – 5 pm. All exhibitions and programs are free of charge and open to the public. Please be advised that this exhibit of research is immersive and uses language that might be disturbing to visitors. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Parents and guardians may want to preview.
The Ware-Lyndon House is a circa 1840s late Greek Revival home with Italianate influence. It is the last remaining house in Lickskillet, the once fashionable 19th century in-town neighborhood. The interior has been restored and arranged with decorative art and furnishings of the period. The historic display room features artifacts (with informative labels) that are relevant to the historic house and to the history of Athens.
Land Prominent Athens physician Edward R. Ware built this residence around 1850. The property extended northward to the banks of the Oconee River and contained a large wooded tract to the west. Much of the northern and western tract had been sold off for railroad rights of way by the time Edward S. Lyndon bought the house in 1880. Dr. Lyndon, a successful druggist, also owned a millwork company on the western tract that eventually became the Athens Lumber Company.
1939: The City of Athens acquired the Ware-Lyndon House for government offices, making it the first building other than City Hall owned by the city.
1950: After serving as the site of the local USO in World War II, it came under the auspices of the newly formed Recreation Department.
1960: The Ware-Lyndon House was restored.
1973: It launched Athens’s first government-sponsored community arts program to include education, exhibitions, community-based programs, and resource services. The Lyndon House Arts Foundation was created to assist in the development, maintenance, and operation of the Lyndon House Art Center.