Notgeld Hall

Pomegranate Hall – Greek Revival Architecture

The Greek Revival architectural style of Pomegranate Hall itself has importance in American History. With building commencing in the 1830’s, Pomegranate Hall serves as a great example of a style that was just bursting into full bloom in Georgia and other Southern States at this time. Archeological finds of the 1800’s started to indicate that the Grecians spawned Roman culture. With England’s unpopularity in the minds of Americans at the time, the Greek temple became associated with the birth of American democracy in many minds. Further, the newly independent United States were very sympathetic toward the Greeks in their war for independence (1821-30).

In fact, the popularity of Greek Revival in the 1800’s led it to be called the National Style.

It’s interesting to note that at the time of the building of Pomegranate Hall, most Greek Revival Mansions were being painted white, yet Judge Sayre had his painted a “monastic brown”. At the time people assumed that the ancient white marbled buildings of Greece had been untouched. Later it was discovered that many of the ancient buildings had in fact been polychromed, using a variety of colors.

Another point to note in particular about Pomegranate Hall is that while it was built in the Greek Revival Architecture it was also referred to as a “half house”. While the meaning of the term in this case is somewhat unclear, what was typically termed the ‘half house’ in the 1800’s generally resulted from the coexistence of the rich and the poor in a social and political climate that placed them in close proximity to one another. It’s a house form born of creativity and the mix of a variety of factors such as social status, family custom, land and inheritance laws as well as economics. Could it be that the ‘forbidden love’ between Judge Nathan Sayre and Susan Hunt resulted in the reference?

Typically a half-house would be built with the intention to complete it, by essentially adding its mirror image on, at a later date when conditions improved.Half-houses generally have no windows along the back wall since they would be wasted upon completion of the house making this wall an interior wall. In a Glossary of Architectural Terms (http://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.escapesnorth.com/trail_arch/terms.php) it is defined as follows:

Half-house A half-house consisted of a multipurpose room on the first floor (the Hall), a chamber above, and chimney on one side of the house. As time and finances allowed, homeowners would build additions on the other side of the chimney to make the building a full house, and add lean-tos to the rear creating the traditional New England saltbox shape.

This makes it seem quite possible that Judge Sayre brought ideas or even materials from the Sayre home in Newark, N.J. to Pomegranate Hall in Sparta, Georgia.

Being as it was his country house; perhaps Judge Sayre never saw the need for completion of Pomegranate Hall as originally intended. Or perhaps there is another reason altogether for it coming to be referred to as a half house.

Log on http://www.pomegranatehall.org for further information.

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