Overview

The House O’ Dreams is a large stone, board-and-batten cottage on top of Lavender Mountain. Built in 1922 by students and staff as a gift to Martha Berry on the 20th anniversary of the Schools, it sits at 1,360 feet above sea level and 600 feet above Frost Chapel. Its water/fire tower offers an amazing view of the campuses, the reservoir, the city of Rome, the Northwest Georgia area, and neighboring states, Alabama and Tennessee (House o' Dreams).

History

In the early 1920’s, there was a movement by the Board of Trustees and Alumni Association to build Martha Berry a mountain retreat. Letters were sent to alumni and friends of Berry in which they asked for donations to make a gift to Miss Berry for all her years of hard work. The letters stated that the estimated cost to build the house was $10,000. Students would do most of the work, which would be a way to pay for their schooling (Berry College Advertisement). The donations came from Mrs. Emily Vanderbilt Hammond, alumni, and friends. The architectural plans for the house were drawn by Mr. Carlson of Coolidge and Carlson of Boston (Berry Trails). During construction, the students were able to use natural resources that the mountain provided to build the house. Students were also able to build the furniture and wove the fabric for curtains and slipcovers. The Mountain Top House was finally completed in 1922. Originally, the house was to be a surprise for Martha Berry,but she eventually found out. The house was officially dedicated on Martha Berry’s birthday in 1922. Martha Berry acted surprised and said enthusiastically “I christen thee my House O’ Dreams” (Henry).

Martha Berry not only used the House of Dreams as a retreat but as a place to entertain her guests. Some of the most notable guests include Mrs. Sarah Delano Roosevelt, mother of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Mrs. Edison, Thomas Edison’s wife. Other famous guests include Amelia Earhart, Will Keith Kellogg, and Henry Ford. When Miss Berry was not entertaining her famous friends, she invited Berry faculty and staff to “dream sessions” (Byers). During these sessions, the guest would take part in a dinner and would discuss new ways to expand Berry to make room for more students. One of Martha Berry’s customs in which she used the house was to celebrate with the students. She invited each graduating class to the mountain and held a farewell picnic for them. During this celebration, students would enjoy a delicious meal, explore the gardens, listen to stories of Berry’s beginning, and Miss Berry’s hopes for Berry’s future (Henry).

Over the years, the house and grounds have been maintained by a caretaker who lives in a small cottage nearby. Through a Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Stokely provided funding for the full restoration of the mountain-top retreat. Completed in 1984, the restoration has guaranteed the preservation and continued use of this historic structure (House O' Dreams).

The Gardens

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View of Gardens from inside of the House o' Dreams

The garden is located in the front of the house and was designed by landscape architect, Robert Cridland. He also designed the gardens at Oak Hill and the grounds of the Ford Buildings on main campus. Martha Berry wanted the terraces for fruit trees and berry patches to be patterned after the grounds of Castle Nemi in Italy where Eugenia Berry Ruspoli, Martha Berry's sister, lived. Therefore, terraces for fruit trees were added by Martha Berry on both the north and south sides of the hilltop just below the formal gardens.

The Stone Tower

Alongside the House o' Dreams, there is a stone tower. It was built in 1928 to house the water tank for the house. At almost 1,400 above sea level, the tower offers superb views of the Berry Campus to the south. On clear days, Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga, Tennessee, can be seen from the north side of the tower.

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The Stone Tower, located behind the House o' Dreams

House o' Dreams Current Uses

Today Berry College alumni, students, faculty and staff members can view the House O’ Dreams by reservation, Monday-Saturday. Visitors that wish to visit the House O' Dreams that do not fall into this category may visit the House o' Dreams by booking a campus tour. The House o’ Dreams can be used for many reasons. Whether it is a nice hike, romantic picnic, weekend getaway, small event, or to admire Georgia the beautiful, the House O’ Dreams provides a beautiful atmosphere and view of Berry's land. (House o' Dreams).

Miscellaneous

When visitors go inside the House O' Dreams they can tour the house or just sit in the living room to rest after the long hike.There is a collection of books located in the living room that visitors can read if they are curious about the books Martha Berry enjoyed reading in her free time. Two rope swings are located under a large tree just outside the house. There are benches located in the garden, where visitors can catch a glimpse of the beautiful surrounndings. When sitting on the bench one can see three states, Tennessee, Alabama, and of course Georgia and the view is breathtaking. There is legend of a deer with goat horns that lives on Lavender mountain and walks around the House O' Dreams. The legend dates back to when the house was first being built. Reports date as recently as last year when the masonry department was building a wall behind the public restrooms.

Works Cited

Berry College. Advertisement. Mountain Top House. Date unknown. Print, Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

Berry College. Berry Trails. Mount Berry. 2001. Print, Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

Byers, Tracy. House O' Dreams. Mount Berry: Berry College Printing Service, 1966. Print, Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

Henry, Inez. Letter to the author. Dec. 25,1970. TS, Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

"House o' Dreams". Berry College, 2012. Web. November 11 2012.