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Dilapidated ‘Dunrovin’ facing wrecking ball

By Kay S. Pedrotti Once known as the Murphey home place, a dilapidated home on Murphey Avenue in Barnesville is being demolished after condemnation as hazardous by the city. The present owner, David M. Wahlstad, has assumed responsibility for the demolition now underway, said city manager Kenny Roberts. The city followed due process for about a year in seeking a remedy for the unsightly house. Then a court ruled the owner had to proceed with demolition under a prescribed timeline or the city could undertake the wrecking and bill the owner, Roberts added. Information from Old Jail Museum records shows the home also was once owned by a Jones family but is better known as the location of Dunrovin, a tourist home from the early days of road trips along what was then Highway 341. J.J. and Jessie Bowen operated the guest house from 1947 to 1956. They offered three sleeping rooms for about $4 a night, access to the dining room when guests brought their meals in and other help the tourists might need, according to an undated Atlanta Journal Constitution article. In the story Jessie Bowen said they let their guests ‘feel right at home’ and made many friends through the years. She also noted, ‘If someone was sick then we would look after them for a bit.’ The house was originally built about 1876. About 1897-8 it was destroyed by fire and rebuilt like a fortress with 18-inch-thick concrete walls. During the Dunrovin days it was known for its pot-bellied stove that served as a mailbox stand, with the firebox clearly marked ‘Bills.’ Another unique feature was front fencing made entirely of real wagon wheels.

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