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Lapham-Patterson House, Thomasville

#4 of 12 in Things to do in Thomasville
Architectural Building · Tourist Spot
The Lapham–Patterson House is a historic site at 626 North Dawson Street in Thomasville, Georgia. The house, built between 1884-85 as a winter cottage for businessman C.W. Lapham of Chicago, is a significant example of Victorian architecture. It has a number of architectural details, such as fishscale shingles, an intricately designed porch, long-leaf pine inlaid floors, and a double-flue chimney. Inside, the house was well-appointed with a gas lighting system, hot and cold running water, indoor plumbing, and modern closets. Its most significant feature is its completely intentional lack of symmetry. None of the windows, doors, or closets are square. The house is a Georgia Historic Site and is also a National Historic Landmark, designated in 1973 for its architecture. It is also a contributing building in the National Register-listed Dawson Street Residential Historic District.

The three-story structure has a mellow-yellow exterior with brick-red roof and chimneys. At the core of the house is a hexagonal-shaped room. There are at least 50 exits; Mr. Lapham had been in the Great Chicago Fire and subsequently became paranoid about being trapped in a burning building.

The house was deliberately constructed slightly askew to take advantage of sunlight entering the third floor during the Spring and Fall Equinoxes. Within is a gentlemen's parlor with a small stage featuring a stained-glass window in the center. In the fretwork outside the room over the balcony are animal and amorphous shapes cut into the wood. In the center is a cutout of what is presumably the head of Mrs. O'Leary's cow.

During the Spring and Fall Equinoxes the patterns are projected by sunlight onto the floor through the glass. The total effect is that, in the center of the stained glass window's colorful pattern on the floor, the shadow of the cow's head can be seen.

Mr. Lapham was a Quaker.

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Lapham-Patterson House reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
60 reviews
  • My wife and I knew the outside of the house was pretty, however, the inside was amazing. This is truly a one of a kind home. The structure and design of the house was beautiful. Our tour guide was.....  more »
  • Don't miss this! A very unique piece of history and architecture. A great way to expand your knowledge of the time period. Also, it so important to support this type of tour so it can remain open to.....  more »
  • Quirky, intriguing piece of architecture preserved in almost original state with guided tours which discuss the owners and their lives as well as some interesting facts about the home itself. It's an inexpensive and fun place to stop in and spend an hour or so when out in the downtown area.
  • We have visited Lapham-Patterson House several times over the years and it is always interesting and informative. This time the docent was particularly knowledgeable and made the experience especially enjoyable. If you like history and are in Thomasville, I would highly recommend.

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