The Georgia College & State University Foundation has announced that Andalusia Farm in Baldwin County, Georgia, where writer Flannery O'Connor spent the last thirteen years of her life, has been donated to Georgia College.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980, the five-hundred-acre farm and the house where O'Connor, a Savannah native, lived until her death in 1964 have been open to the public since 2003. However, the Flannery O'Connor Andalusia Foundation, which was established in 2001 and depends entirely on donations, has struggled to maintain the large property and has lacked funds for upgrades such as a visitors' center separate from the house, board chair Donna Barwick told the Associated Press. Given the situation, board members recently decided to gift the property to Georgia College in Milledgeville, which O'Connor had attended when it was known as Georgia State College for Women.
Details of public tours and other programs still are being planned, but the college will continue to provide public access to the farm, said Georgia College president Steve Dorman. "Flannery is a Georgia treasure and she's an American treasure. To be able to share that with the public is really important."
According to the Andalusia Foundation, O'Connor's mother, Regina, inherited the farm from her brother, who had purchased the property in the 1930s and made her its bookkeeper. Regina expanded the farm operation and managed a sizable dairy, while her daughter later raised peacocks, swans, geese, and ducks there. While living at Andalusia, O'Connor completed the novel Wise Blood and wrote the short story collections A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Everything That Rises Must Converge, as well as a second novel, The Violent Bear It Away.
"When you drive into that driveway from U.S. Highway 441, it's like you go back a century," Barwick told the AP. "You look around and realize that's the barn or the field where her stories took place. More so than any other writer I know about, the place is so important to interpretation of her work."