McRainey House, Elmodel, Baker County

McRainey House, Elmodel, Baker County

The Archibald McRainey house was constructed in 1909 for the McRainey family and their servants. Archibald McRaney was born in North Carolina and moved to Baker County and then made his fortune in turpentine and lumber. The McRainey operation put Elmodel on the map and helped make this community one of the largest in the county. The McRainey home was the first in the county to have running water, electricity, and three bathrooms. Pumping water up to the upper levels were difficult, however, due to there not being enough pressure to pump the water up the pipes. Behind the house is a brick cold storage house with eight inch thick walls, a marvel at the time. The house is rumored to have hidden doors which go to secret panic rooms and large murals on walls. Mr. McRainey had a wife and many children, and he eventually divorced his wife to marry Effie Holt, a teenager who lived as a border in his home. There was bad blood over this event that left Mrs. Effie emotionally ruined and it has been hard for her to trust people since. My great aunt lived as a border with Miss Effie and Mr. McRainey and gave the impression that Mrs. Effie was a kind and gentle girl who loved her husband very much. Mr. McRainey and Mrs. Effie had no children of their own. Mr. McRainey died and left Mrs. Effie a lifetime estate and upon her death the land would revert back to his children with his former wife. Mrs. Effie went on to remarry Mr. Charlie Fulgham. They adopted a daughter Angela, who sadly lost her battle with cancer two years ago. The family eventually had to move out of the home due to her Mr. Fulgham’s worsening health. As soon as Mrs. Effie and her husband were situated in the small trailer which sits beside the home, the large home was robbed during a trip to the doctor. Mrs. Effie says that any and all antiques were stolen down to the decorative trim. Also many of her personal items, including clothes, jewelry, and photos were destroyed. Mrs. Effie has not been to the doctor since. Due to Mrs. Effie’s age and health, it is impossible for her to maintain the amount of upkeep the house requires, which sadly resulted in its state today. This truly breaks her heart. I must advise you NOT to stop and visit Mrs. Effie and ask her about her home. She has had a very difficult life and trusts no one. She has pulled a gun on many people before and ran them off. I can not say that I blame her as it still isn’t uncommon for looters to show up. She is very protective of her home and her land, as it is all that she has. Please do not bother her. If you would like to photograph the home please do so from the other side of the road. The only reason I was granted permission to shoot the house is due to my family’s long history in the county. Perhaps some day I will be fortunate enough to shoot the inside, but the foundation is currently very unstable. Mrs. Effie is a kind good-hearted person, but she is very suspicious when it comes to strangers, please remember this. (PRIVATE PROPERTY!!! IT IS VERY DANGEROUS TO TRESPASS HERE! DOING SO COULD GET YOU SHOT!!!)

Smokehouse from the Back

Smoke House and Garage

Right Side

Right Side


Photo taken when the home was completed.

19 responses to “McRainey House, Elmodel, Baker County

  1. I pass by the house often and wonder about it, it looks so scary the way that it is hidden in the woods and now to see it as it once was….wow

  2. Hi Jessica! There is a mistake in this article concerning the adoption of Angela. Aunt Effie did indeed adopt her, but she adopted her around 1976 or 1977, and Aunt Effie was married to Charlie Fulgham at the time. GREAT article though, and yes she WILL SHOOT at strangers who “go poking around” her place. Take care, and keep writing, I enjoy your articles.
    Candi Mathis

    P.S. She is my aunt on my fathers side, my daddy was her brother, Marvin Holt. 😉

    • Thank you so very much for the info Candi!
      I’m fixing the article now. 🙂
      Your Aunt is truly a wonderful person and I have enjoyed sitting with her talking about her life. You come from a very kind and good family.
      Thanks for the kind words, you take care as well!

    • Hi, Candi. Is there any chance they would ever sell the property? I have a good friend who restores old houses. He is nearly finished with his current project, an antebellum home in Marietta, and is looking for the next one. I also take photos of old houses, and we’d love to hear from you to see if it might ever be for sale. Thank you!

      • Jehouse…as said in the blog, the house goes back to Mr. McRainey’s children at the death of Aunt Effie, she only has a life estate on the property. As is Candi, this is my Aunt. She is my dad’s sister.

  3. I was first struck by the house’s grandeur on a trip to watch a UGA vs. Auburn football game in the mid 70’s with my father. Over the last 40 years, I’ll find myself traveling on Hwy. 37 and view the home. My father told me that there were issues with the family’s estate. Today, I saw the house on the forgotten Georgia website. I read the blogs associated with the house. Up until today, I always had thought what a shame it was to see that grand old house falling apart. Although it is a still a shame, I do admire the wife’s effort’s to honor her husbands wishes. Maybe it’s not to far gone to salvage. My travels take me around South Georgia and North Florida. There are a lot of small towns that have those grand old houses that are slowly deteriorating. Unfortunately, there are no people moving back to those towns to renovate them because there aren’t any jobs in those towns.

  4. I was born and lived in Baker County, just a few miles from Elmodel, until I was 6 years old. I now live in Northwest Arkansas. I went through Elmodel the middle of April this year, 2015 on my way to Newton, Ga. to visit a cousin. The old house still looks as it does in the picture above, maybe a little more in disrepair. it is sad to see such a house as this one in such a state of needing repair.and no one willing to come and do the necessary rebuilding needed to make it into a beautiful home again, that people can see today what a beautiful house really looks. Is there someone out there that would make this place beautiful again?

  5. I love the look of that house and growing up in Baker County, I always wondered why no one was restoring something as beautiful and old and breath taken as that house.

  6. Awesome article you have written concerning the McCrainey House ! It would be awesome as a Bed and Breakfast ! People would stay there just to be able to see the architecture that went into that home in 1909 ! How awesome it would have been to have been close friends with this family early in “The Day” ! Can you just imagine as friend of the family being allowed to spend time in this home ? Thank you for a equally awesome article ! Sincerely, Frankie G .Creech

  7. Hello Jessica…my name is Bridget Godfrey Crews..I am one of Mary Alice McRainey’s daughters. Parts of your article regarding the house and it’s history is incorrect. Effie Holt was not a border in the house at any time….M.A. McRainey had only 2 children. There is much more McRainey history than this…you really need to get all the facts before you post your articles!

    • I’m sorry that you feel this way Miss Bridget, but alas, the history book only offers so much…and much of the information here is presented as I have found it…in the form of oral history, which may or may not be factual, of course. Many times that’s all that’s left. As far as the McRainey’s history, that comes verbatim from the Baker County History book, so if those facts are wrong, please take that up with the historical society. I strive very hard to get the history right before I publish it. My goal here is to preserve. I’d be happy to hear what you have to say, but please understand, if a family’s history is well documented by other sources and written down I’ll have to take that as fact vs. word of mouth. As I said earlier, oral history is only good so far back.

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