History and Style
Lookaway Inn is an example of the Beaux-Arts style, and was built between 1895 and 1898, just a few years after the Columbian Exposition in 1893. The home was then , and is today, the focal point of the community and a symbol of “the good life” that North Augusta provided. The home showcases the crossover from the Victorian Period to the Eclectic Period. Although the home holds true to classical detailing, the interior, especially fireplace mantels and fixtures, is strongly influenced by the Victorian style. The home is said to have been modeled after Barrington Hall in Roswell, Georgia.
Walter Jackson, manager of the North Augusta Land Company, built Lookaway. Legend has it that he and his brother James cut a deck of cards and Walter won drawing the high card and chose the most beautiful piece of land in the city. Lookaway was purposely sited on a hill centered between Georgia and Carolina Avenues overlooking a city park, the river and Augusta beyond. It was Walter’s son, George, who inherited the home and gave it the name “Lookaway Hall, inspired from the lyrics of the beloved old southern song “Dixie”, as well as the dramatic and commanding 180-degree views into Dixieland from the grand veranda.
The architectural plan of Lookaway Is called a modified “T” shape with octagonal bays at the protruding sides and four rooms symmetrically placed around a center hall downstairs. Nine two-story fluted Ionic columns with Scamozzi capitals at the corners accent the facade. The classical ornate exterior details include a frieze above the columns and is festooned with garlands. The porch or veranda is flat roofed and the hip roof beyond is highlighted by a dormer featuring a Palladian window and a double pediment. Four brick chimneys with corbelled caps and inset panels punctuate the roof symmetrically. Apart from the courtyard additions at the rear of the home added in 1992, the interior and exterior of the original home are basically unaltered.
The grand entry, centered on the south side facade, consists of a recessed set of doors with a stained glass transom surrounded by ornate detailing including two fluted pilasters on each side of the door with framed stained glass sidelights. The front doors are split into two panels by miniature entablature molding and features oval and circular raised moldings and medallions in each corner. Above each window is a panel with a “wedding knot” motif in raised trim. The door recess is topped by a scrolled keystone which supports a cornice upon which rests a second-story double-hung sash window centered over the door recess.
The first floor plan of the original main home consists of a center hall flanked by a women’s and men’s parlor. The entrance hall features rosemary curled pine wainscot and a pair of Ionic columns framing the stairway. The stairway is beautifully detailed and u-shaped. Stained glass windows highlight the stairs at each landing. At the front door, curved built-in benches are situated under stained glass windows that flank the entry way. Each of the front rooms is accessed by a pair of pocket doors . The fireplaces in the front rooms have brick hearths and elegant Georgian mantles. The other fireplaces in the home feature ornate cast iron coal stove inserts, tile hearths and Victorian mantles. All rooms have beautiful quarter-sawn pine floors. The second floor has a hall that extends the length of the main home with bedrooms opening onto it. The doorways have classical surrounds with corner rosettes and large transoms. All bedrooms, except one, has a fireplace.
Lookaway has played host to many guests through the years. From 1922-1923 the Detroit Tigers held their spring training in Augusta and some of the team stayed at Lookaway. The widow of George Jackson, Walter’s son, sold the home to Dr. and Mrs. Henry G. Mealing in 1936 and they lived there for over fifty years. Dr. Mealing was well known for his horticultural interests including his magnificent gardens and greenhouses. He grew exotic plants and provided some of his prized orchids for Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding. Dr. Mealing’s hybrid camellias can still be found on the grounds. His family sold the home in 1990 to a development firm who added ten courtyard rooms and turned the property into a bed and breakfast inn. It has had a few owners since becoming an inn. Diana and Kelly Combs, the current proprietors, purchased Lookaway Inn as well as Rosemary Inn Bed and Breakfast in 2009. Both Lookaway and Rosemary are listed in the National Register of Historic Places In America.