Huston House: Step Inside This Abandoned Home On Butler Island, Georgia

The well-known co-owner of the New York Yankees, Tillinghast L’Hommedieu (T. L.) Huston, played a crucial role in the Major League Baseball team’s ascent to the top. After selling his share in 1922, Huston used the proceeds to construct an elegant clapboard mansion in Georgia, which sadly now lies in a state of disrepair. Photographer Leland Kent from Abandoned Southeast has captured images of this abandoned property, revealing its intriguing history.

Born in Buffalo, New York, in 1867, T. L. Huston, affectionately known as ‘Cap,’ started as a civil engineer and later served as a captain in Cuba during the Spanish-American War of 1898. Following the war, Huston stayed in Cuba, where he made a substantial fortune overseeing the construction of highways, ports, and sewage systems.

In 1915, Huston joined forces with Jacob Ruppert to purchase the struggling New York Yankees for a substantial sum, equivalent to millions today. They spared no expense in recruiting top talent, and the team’s fortunes took a remarkable turn for the better.

Their greatest achievement came in 1920 when they acquired legendary player George Herman ‘Babe’ Ruth, a move widely celebrated as ‘The Deal of the Century.’ This acquisition solidified the Yankees’ success, and by 1921, the team had enough resources to construct a new stadium in the Bronx.

In 1922, Huston sold his stake to Ruppert and used the proceeds to buy the Butler Island Plantation near Darien, Georgia. However, this property had a dark past, having been established in the 1790s by Major Pierce Butler, a Founding Father who subjected hundreds of enslaved people from West Africa to abhorrent conditions.

The estate later passed to Pierce Mease Butler, who, along with his wife, British actress Frances Anne ‘Fanny’ Kemble, spent time there in 1838/39. Kemble, an abolitionist, documented the harsh treatment of enslaved people, leading to her publishing an influential anti-slavery journal.

After the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, Butler attempted to operate the plantation with free labor but couldn’t make it profitable. In 1926, T. L. Huston purchased the estate, which still bears the chilling reminders of its grim history.

Huston’s mansion was completed in 1927, boasting a Colonial-style design with a pitched roof, dormer windows, brick chimneys, and clapboard siding. It had 11 spacious rooms, frequently hosting guests, including notable baseball players like Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb.

Huston attempted various ventures on the estate, such as a dairy farm and an iceberg lettuce farm. After his passing in 1938, the property changed hands, eventually falling into disrepair and government ownership.

Today, the mansion bears signs of neglect, with peeling paint, deteriorating ceilings, and worn floors. Despite its current state, the mansion’s grandeur is still evident. The parlour features wood paneling, built-in bookcases, and a remarkable marble fireplace that could be restored to its former glory.

The property’s fate remains uncertain, with no clear plans for renovation. Recent hurricanes in Georgia have posed additional threats to its preservation. It would be a tragic loss to see such a historically significant landmark deteriorate into ruins.

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