Georgian Museum105 E Wheeling St.
Lancaster, OH 43130-3706
A Distinctive, Elegant House Museum
The Georgian Museum is one of the finest house museums in Ohio, located in a beautifully preserved and architecturally significant 1832 home, filled with important examples of period furniture, decorative arts, and material culture.
When it was built in 1832 by General Samuel F. Maccracken (1785 – 1852) and his wife Sarah, the Georgian Museum was the first “expensive and commodious house in Lancaster,” according to the 1897 town history, Picturesque Lancaster. Samuel, who was later appointed Brigadier General of the Ohio militia, had established himself in Lancaster in 1809 as a local merchant and prospered as the town grew, becoming one the most prominent businessmen in Fairfield County. He was a founding member of the Lancaster Lateral Canal Company, which built a connector to the Ohio and Erie Canal, completed in 1838. Standing under the imposing two-story portico, Samuel Maccracken could observe canal boat traffic a short distance away and the enterprises that had brought him much commercial success. The house was built by architect Daniel Sifford using native sandstone and brick. Its five Ionic columns and a double bow-fronted façade represented a fusion of Federal and Greek Revival architectural styles. The interior is filled with period antiques—many of them with Lancaster provenance—as well as textiles and fine decorative arts.
The house derives its name from a tea room that once occupied the premises in the 20th century. The name stuck, owing to the elegance of the house and its appointments.
Notes for Travelers
The Georgian Museum is a must-see for travelers who appreciate historic properties. The architecture, decorative arts, and material culture are highly significant, and they are exhibited in a way that offers visitors insights into the quality of life wealthy Ohioans enjoyed, and—with a visit to the cellar kitchen—what was required by staff to maintain that quality of life. Ask the guide to demonstrate the device that permitted ladies of the house to have their feet measured by travelling shoe salesmen—without sacrificing their modesty.
The Georgian Museum is also a repository for the community’s keepsakes. The nursery room upstairs includes a wonderful dollhouse with miniature figures and furniture carved by the well-known Columbus artist, Elijah Pierce (1892-1984). The dollhouse was discovered in an area church where it had once been used by Sunday School classes!
The Georgian Museum is part of Square 13, a landmark preservation district that is a veritable textbook of 19th century American architecture. In addition to canal-era prosperity, Lancaster was a boomtown after natural gas was discovered in the 1880s, resulting in new industries and a building spree of fine Victorian homes. To experience Square 13, upon leaving the Georgian Museum, turn left up East Wheeling Street and continue walking up the hill before taking a right on North High Street. Walk until you see the Courthouse and take a right on East Main Street. For more of Lancaster’s distinctive heritage, visit the Sherman House Museum at 137 East Main Street. A combined ticket for both properties can be purchased for $10/adults.
Additional ResourcesPicturesque Lancaster, Past and Present, Henry Wyncoop, 1897.
Heritage of Architecture and Arts, Fairfield County, Ohio, Ruth Wolfley Drinkle, 1978.
Equal In Goodness: Ohio Decorative Arts, 1788-1860, Andrew Richmond, 2011.