This October, we at the Vann House in Spring Place, Ga., have both good news and somewhat disappointing (yet completely unsurprising) news.
Since 1978, December at the Vann House has meant preparing for a historic-themed candlelight tours event. This event celebrates the Moravian missionaries 1805 Christmas at the Vann Plantation, likely the first Christmas celebration within the 19th-century Cherokee Nation.
This year, for the health and safety of our volunteers and guests, we will not be holding this program. While this news is a disappointment to many families who enjoy ringing in the holidays by touring the Vann House in all its Christmas glory, we ask for guests to be patient as we take a breath and become that much more prepared for December 2021.
However, we will not be completely void of holiday spirit. Our dedicated volunteers from the Friends of the Vann House are still going to adorn the house with wreaths, hand-collected greenery, nativity scenes, and all the trimmings in between. Guests who visit through December for regular daily tours of the Vann House will be able to see these natural and artistic decorations, albeit without the candles. We will return in 2021 brighter than ever.
Now for the good news: Under the direction of the Department of Natural Resources and made possible in part by a generous donation from Friends of the Vann House, our Vann Kitchen/Workhouse Exhibit is receiving a full restoration. Construction in this two-story cabin will replace or restore exterior cabin beams that have rotted out, chinking between the beams, shakes and eaves on the roof, exterior window treatments, and more.
In the 1950s the building was refurbished from a relocated historic cabin as an office for at the (then) newly established, Vann House Historic Site. The cabin has undergone many remodels but none so benefiting the site as the 2005 remodel that transformed the space into an exhibit featuring reality of slavery on the Vann Plantation. Our detailed panel, “Patchwork in the Quilt,” pieces together the names and origins of some of the enslaved Africans who appeared in the historic documents left behind by the Moravian Missionaries at Spring Place. This informative and heart-wrenching exhibit delves into the truth of life as an enslaved person and the horrors of the Euro-American Slave Trade and is the best exhibit of its kind in the northern Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites.
Construction on the Vann Kitchen/Workhouse Exhibit will begin in November and continue through the new year. During this time the exhibit will be closed to guests. If you have any questions about future events, daily tours, or cabin reconstruction, please do not hesitate to call our office during regular business hours. Until then stay safe and enjoy a peaceful holiday.
In 1804, Cherokee Chief James Vann was the wealthiest man in the Cherokee Nation and built a three-story brick house in the center of his 800-acre plantation. You can tour his Federalist-era brick mansion on a guided tour, held hourly during normal days of operation.