HOME OF THE FOUNDER OF ROSWELL'S SON
In the 1830s, Barrington King and his father, Roswell King co-founded the colony which became Roswell, Georgia. Together, they built a dam to capture the waters of Vickery Creek. Water was redirected to a millwheel to power the looms of the first cotton mill of the Roswell Manufacturing Company, chartered in 1839. Barrington King took over the mill from his father and doubled its size. By 1853, the two mills tripled the revenue of the original Roswell Manufacturing Company.
Barrington Hall is one of the best examples of Greek Revival Temple architecture in the United States, today. Willis Ball, a master carpenter and architect from Connecticut, built it. Timbers cut on the property were aged for two years for the construction. It took an additional three years to build the house.
Barrington Hall has been painstakingly restored and is furnished with many original family possessions. The surrounding six acres of original grounds look much as they did 160 years ago.
Barrington Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been called one of metro Atlanta's 50 Most Beautiful Homes by Atlanta Magazine.
Fourteen Doric columns line three sides of Barrington Hall, and Civil War bullets removed from the tops of the columns during the restoration provide evidence that the house was used as Union headquarters. Dignitaries, such as President Theodore Roosevelt, visited Barrington Hall at the turn of the century. Original outbuildings on the current 6-acre site include a smoke house, icehouse, kitchen, and two wells.
Francis Minhinnett, an English landscape gardener and stone mason, laid out the original gardens and grounds. At that time, these included a circular box maze nestled in bridal wreath spirea, crepe myrtle, Spanish bayonet and tiger lilies. On the west side of the house was an informal planting of cherry laurel, lilacs, roses, and sweet lavender.
The home was falling into serious disrepair when the last private owner bought the house from a member of the King family in 2002. Restorations were completed in 2004, and the Roswell City Council bought the house in 2005. Interpreting the lives of the three primary generations of residents (Kings, Bakers, and Simpsons) is the focus along with many educational and community programs.
The award-winning restoration of Barrington Hall began in 2002 and was completed in 2004. All restoration and rehabilitation work was done under the guidance and direction of the US Department of the Interior, The National Preservation Trust, and the Georgia Historical Preservation Division. In 2005, the Georgia Trust for Historical Preservation presented Barrington Hall with an award for Outstanding Restoration.
Barrington Hall has been restored as close to its original form as possible. The horsehair plaster walls throughout the house were cracked and severely damaged by fire and water. Craftsmen, skilled in the lost art of plastering, spent seven months restoring the walls, ceiling and moldings.
In 1970, Katherine Simpson made a detailed list of every item in the home. In this inventory, Miss Katherine described the history and origin of every item in Barrington Hall. Using this list and family letters, the original furnishings and paintings were restored. Historical books, letters, photos, china, sterling silver and other personal items left in Barrington Hall are included in the displays in the house.
In the last year of the Civil War, Roswell and Barrington Hall were occupied by Union Troops. After the war, the family returned to Roswell to rebuild the mills. Soon after their return, Barrington King was injured by a horse and died a few days later.
Barrington King had twelve children. Six of his sons served in the Confederate Army. Two were killed in the war and three were wounded. Of his three daughters, only one lived to become an adult. This daughter, Eva King Baker, purchased the home when Mrs. King passed away in 1887. Her granddaughter, Miss Katherine Simpson lived in the house until her death in 1995.