Flannery O’Connor featured her beloved Milledgeville farm, Andalusia, in several of her stories.
The 550-acre dairy farm includes the hay loft where an itinerant Bible salesman cajoles Joy Hulga out of her prosthetic leg in Good Country People and the walls of trees on the property conceal the fiery furnace of A Circle in the Fire. Of course, the iconic peacocks O’Connor raised were featured in her 1941 essay, The King of Birds.
The home is now being recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a “Distinctive Destination for Women’s History and Heritage.”
The privately funded, nonprofit organization will use the designation to promote Andalusia to its members and across its publications, including its website savingplaces.org.
Director of Historic Museums at Georgia College Matt Davis said the distinction not only affirms O’Connor’s importance to American letters, it elevates the story of Regina O’Connor, Flannery’s mother.
“Of somewhat equal importance is the interplay between her and her mother Regina Cline O’Connor, and how this single woman ran a successful dairy and later beef farm operation on the site,” Davis said. “(And how she) provided the financial stability and foundation for Flannery to give us these great works of literature that we all appreciate today.”
O’Connor lived and worked at Andalusia after being diagnosed with lupus in 1951 and until her death in 1964. During those years, she completed many works including the novel Wise Blood and the short story collection A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories.
Georgia College, O’Connor’s alma mater, operates the farm as a house museum celebrating the author’s life and work.