Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services responded to the fire just after 10:30 a.m. at 200 Old Dawsonville Highway to find heavy smoke coming from three corners of the two-story home.
Tim Cavender, spokesman for the county fire department, said a 74-year-old woman who rented the home escaped without injury.
“Firefighters worked hard to contain the fire, but were unable to so and the home was completed destroyed,” Cavender said.
Cavender, a Ball Ground native, said the home was built around 1905 by the late Henry Calvin Farmer and was built on the property before Old Dawsonville Road was constructed.
“Farmer was a very well known man in the city and was a major contributor in bringing power to Ball Ground,” Cavender said.
The Ball Ground city park adjacent to the home is named in Farmer’s honor.
Mayor Rick Roberts said Farmer’s granddaughter, Sue Haynes Malone, is heartbroken over the loss of her childhood home.
“It’s always a shame to lose an old structure,” Roberts said. “Of course, we do have Calvin Farmer’s memory forever memorialized with the park — that was where he lived and raised his family.”
Malone said her grandfather, born in 1877, built the house when he was 28 years old. She said he lived in the home until 1969 when he died.
“He was just an intelligent, exceptionally intelligent man,” Malone said.
Malone said she grew up just down the street from the home but spent a lot of time with her grandparents there and lived in the home for about five years before she married.
“My grandaddy’s building, it was just a very special, special place,” Malone said. “It just touched all of us to see it go like that.”
Malone said the renter, Betty Strom, lost everything she owned in the fire, excluding her car.
“I’m just happy nobody got hurt,” Malone said.
Stefanie Joyner, executive director of the Cherokee County Historical Society, said the home was a contributing building to establishing the city of Ball Ground as a historic city on the National Register of Historic Districts.
“It’s always a tragedy when we lose a house that old and has that much historic significance,” Joyner said.
Cavender said the cause of the fire is under investigation.