Membership Announcement

If you…

  • Want your children & grandchildren to see where you’re talking about when you tell them stories about your childhood;
  • Would like to share the best parts of your hometown with others; and
  • Would like to receive a free membership and free admission to Barrow Preservation Society events

Then attend our February 21st meeting at 7 pm, Two Doors East, 29 East Athens Street in downtown Winder to hear more about how YOU can become a VIP Member of Barrow Preservation Society, dedicated to working for the future of our historic buildings in Barrow.


Landmark Spotlight: Rockwell Universalist Church

Barrow County has sixteen properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).  The NRHP, established in 1966, was established to identify and evaluate properties (buildings, sites, objects, structures, districts) of local, state, or national significance that are worthy of preservation.  Rockwell Universalist Church, located 2.5 miles north of Winder on Highway 53, was listed on the NRHP in 1985.  Rockwell is the second oldest Universalist congregation in Georgia and remains active today with services on the first Sunday of each month.

The area surrounding Rockwell Church was settled during the early nineteenth century.  The lands between Cedar Creek to the south and the Mulberry River to the north were home to the House, White, Hill, Camp, Lyle, Bradberry, Parker, Guffin, McMillan, Haynie, and Hinton families.  It is said that the liberal Universalist faith was first “planted in the minds of these people” during the late 1830s by itinerant preachers from Alabama and South Carolina.  During the antebellum period, the itinerant ministers preached in members’ homes, as no formal church building had been constructed.

Old Rockwell School

By the 1850s, Colonel Robert White, owner of a grist mill on nearby Cedar Creek, donated funds for the organization of a Masonic Lodge and school building.  He purchased a slave named Spence, known as a master carpenter, to construct the lodge and school buildings; an Abraham Garret built the brick chimneys on either end.  The building was two stories, with the Masonic Lodge above and the school room below.  It was located on the north side of the road near present-day Rockwell Church, in an area then known as “Center Hill.” The building continued to operate as a school until the early twentieth century; the lodge organization moved to Hoschton in 1886.

According to church histories, the congregation may have met only sporadically during the Civil War, although it is said that the present-day church grounds were used for mustering in and training local Confederate units.  The congregation was formally reorganized by L.F.W. Andrews 1867 at the insistence of Colonel White, and it was named the First Universalist Church of Jackson County.  Although there is no formal list on file, charter members were thought to include Colonel Robert White and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. L.Y. Bradbury, Mr. and Mrs. Cicero S. Hill, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Haynie, Henry Morris, Samuel Booth, Carter Hill, Jones and Nancy Sell, Alexander and Margaret ill, Eliza Collins House, Mr. and Mrs. Marcus House, Luke and Mariah Flanigan, Fannie Henry, and others.

Gathering at Rockwell Church, late 1800s

Members met in the school building until the current church building was constructed in 1881, when it was renamed the Mulberry Church.  Much of the material and labor was donated by the congregation.  According to church histories, the lumber was forest pine, the sills full length, and the majority of that used for the flooring and walls was donated by Marcus C. (Mack) House.   The ceiling remained unfinished until 1895 when John B. O’Shields provided the lumber.  The original seats were replaced in 1905 and 1906 by new pews built by three brothers, John W., Henry M. and Robert A. Hill, who owned a nearby sawmill.  Another brother, Paul Hill, later donated the land to the church in perpetuity.

The "singing school" at Rockwell Church, late 1800s

Later changes to the church included the installation of concrete steps near the rear door, and the pouring of a concrete porch floor along the façade.  In 1950, the original floor was replaced with a new pine floor and the interior was truncated to accommodate a rear partition for class rooms.  New doors were installed along the front and rear during the early 1960s.  The church grounds were also landscaped at that time, including boxed plantings around the foundation and the addition of a large slab table and shelter, today used for lunch at the annual homecoming.

Rockwell Universalist Church is a local landmark of Barrow County for its rich historical associations with the early settlement and growth of the area, and its stark simplicity is a reminder of late nineteenth century rural religious architecture

Seeking Photo Contributions

The Barrow Preservation Society is asking for help collecting photos for a book that will highlight the history of Winder.

Around Winder, which is part of the Images of America series from Arcadia Publishing, will tell the story of the Barrow city from its earliest days through the present with an emphasis on the history through 1965. The book is scheduled for release in early November.

The Barrow Preservation Society is seeking clear images that show any of Winder’s houses, structures, commercial or government buildings or industrial sites — inside and out.

Images for consideration for the cover photo must be submitted no later than Jan. 25, while images to be considered for inclusion in the book must be submitted no later than Feb. 15.

The individual who submits the photo selected for the cover image will win a free copy of Around Winder and two tickets to the 2012 Christmas Tour of Homes.

In addition to photos, individuals are asked to submit descriptive information about each image.

First consideration will be offered to photos not previously includes in historical publications about Barrow County and Winder.

All contributors will receive acknowledgement in the book. No individuals will receive compensation for their participation in the writing or sales of this book. Proceeds from the sale of Around Winder will benefit the nonprofit organization’s preservation fund, which is supported by fee-based events, programs, activities and services, as well as designated donations and grants.

Submitted photos must be clear, not grainy or blurry. All photos will be scanned for submission and returned to the owners. Electronic files submitted for consideration must be in 8-bit grayscale, TIFF format, 300 dpi, with 8-inch output. They may be in vertical/portrait or horizontal/landscape orientation and can be e-mailed to

For more information on this project, call 678-425-9948, visit the Barrow Preservation Society’s Facebook page or e-mail

Welcome to Our Newest Forum!

Welcome to the newest forum for the Barrow Preservation Society.  Many of you have been following us on Facebook and we hope you continue to use social media to keep track of our events and successes.  This blog/forum was created to give us a little more space and flexibility.  Here, we will post helpful “Preservation Tidbits” for historic homeowners, showcase historic homes around the county, and blog about our special events. So, stay tuned as we learn the “ins-and-outs” of the blogging world; the page will continue to get better and we welcome suggestions on content and feel free to comment on our posts.

We also welcome guest contributions.  If you would like to showcase some of your own preservation skills or would simply like to discuss the history of a local building, shoot us an email ( and hopefully we’re smart enough to get it posted.  Remember, the information presented on this blog is for everyone, not just a few.

Our Short But Exciting History!

Back in 2008, many of us mourned the loss of the former First Baptist Church in Downtown Winder.  In Statham, Auburn, and Bethlehem, houses and commercial buildings significant to our county’s history were being lost to neglect or the dreaded wrecking ball.  As a result, a group of local residents, some native Barrow Countians and some beloved transplants got together in an effort to form a united citizens’ group committed to preserving Barrow County’s heritage through its built and natural resources.  The Barrow Preservation Society, Inc. became an official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2009.

Since we became “official,” our team has worked to save such local landmarks as the Granite Hotel.  Most recently, we have sponsored a Spring and a Christmas Tour of Homes, as well as the popular Noel, Nibbles, and Nogs.  We are a small organization, but growing with incremental successes.  While we may not always be successful in saving certain buildings, our organization looks ahead to supporting economic development using Historic Preservation as our tool.  We are excited about working with our elected officials, local businesses, and other stakeholders to make Barrow County “the place to be!”