Huge estate has the country’s largest private Chinese garden

One of the largest homes in Macon, Georgia is on the market for $ 2.5 million. For a buyer looking for a one-of-a-kind backyard, this mansion delivers.

Known locally as the Old Barnes Estate, the nearly 17,000 square foot Grand Dame at 1386 Waverland Drive sits on nearly 16 acres of private land. It comes with a history almost as sumptuous as the gatherings that were once held there.

The house was built in 1946 by a real estate developer, Emmett Barnes and his wife, Edwina, who hosted many extravagant parties at their mansion.

Over the years and several owners later, the house has grown. It now includes five bedrooms (each with its own fireplace), six bathrooms, a ballroom and a modern kitchen.

Additional amenities include built-in bookcases, cathedral ceilings and skylights, a wine cellar, media room and sauna.

Exterior of the estate in Macon, GA




Dining room


But what makes this huge property truly unique is the elaborate grounds at the rear of the house. There you will find everything from a gazebo, swimming pool and tennis courts to a free-standing chapel.

Outdoor courts


The property also claims to be the largest private Chinese garden and the largest residential fountain system in the country, according to a report filed with the zoning office.

At the back, you’ll also find a Chinese-themed entertainment room, a ballet studio, koi ponds, and a temple with a reflective pond.

According to the listing agent, Regan skinner by Keller Williams, this assemblage of a mansion, gardens, and additional structures is a feat that would be nearly impossible to replicate.

“If you were to build the property it is today, it would cost between $ 25 million and $ 35 million,” she says. “The house and grounds are unlike anything you’ve ever seen.”

Chinese themed courtyard
China themed backyard


Stairs leading up
Stairs to the temple


Skinner says the owner of the estate told him Barnes took an engineer with him on a trip to China and asked him to replicate a garden the couple fell in love with there.

“The current owner has owned the property for 10 years,” she adds, “and is selling the house because it is a large property. It’s just too big for his current needs, and he just doesn’t have the time to maintain it.



Entertainment room




And although the current owner is dedicated to building churches, he was not the one who built the chapel on the property.

“The Barnes were big animal lovers and went overseas to a place of worship where they could bring their animals, so they replicated that here,” Skinner explains.

As for the potential of this very special property, the options are wide open.

“The property would be perfect as a wedding venue, but I think the next buyer will be someone who makes it into something that embraces the community,” she says. “We have had a lot of out-of-state interest in the property.”

With 16 acres to work on, a buyer could also choose to head in a completely different direction. Some elements of the mansion and its grounds are worth preserving, but others may need modern refreshing. Or a buyer could reap the rewards of the land.

“You could subdivide some of the land, but there is a lot of rock on the property, so it could be difficult,” Skinner explains.



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