Around 1845, early Marietta settlers William and Hannah Root built a two story Plantation Plain style home at the corner of Church and Lemon Streets, just North of the Square. One hundred twenty five years later, their house was moved two blocks to its present location on North Marietta Parkway and completely restored. Each of the rooms was then furnished with authentic period furniture that accurately depicts the middle- class lifestyle in the 1850s era of North Georgia.
A large garden was created at the same time to surround the relocated house, and then was planted to replicate the original Root family garden. A variety of medicinal, culinary and ornamental plantings were placed in the recreated garden, but only those that would have been available to the Root family during the 1850s time period.
As its first Apothecary, Mr. Root grew and provided the residents of Marietta with much needed medicines and herbs in those pre-Civil War years. He used the wide variety of plants from his garden to compound medicines, tinctures and salves that met the early settler’s medical needs. He also planted shrubs, roses, herbs, bulbs and many other decorative plants in the family garden. The recreated garden includes many of these heirloom plantings that are true to that period
The ongoing management of the present Root House Garden is provided by the Master Gardener Volunteers of Cobb County. The same gardening practices used in the mid 19th century are now still followed in the recreated garden, using only organic amendments and no modern pesticides. Detailed research verifies the period appropriateness of any plant before it is added to the garden. For example, in the mid-1850s, hop blossoms were the primary ingredient in brewing beer, and they were also dried and used to stuff pillows because they were thought to act as a sleeping aid. Now, a vigorous hops plant grows up the back porch and provides the hops blossoms for a local micro-brewery to make an annual vat of special Root House beer.
In the rear of the house, a “period correct” outdoor kitchen and brick smokehouse has been added. Near this outdoor kitchen, raised vegetable beds and fruit trees were added to grow and harvest a wide variety of plants that would have been available to the Root family in the 1850s. Many of these plants are grown from heirloom seed in the participating Master Gardener’s personal gardens, and then transplanted to this site. The growing of rare seeds to seedling stage, and the transplanting of them at the appropriate time, ensures the garden always has something new, interesting and, of course, historically correct. Now, during the growing season, a table on the kitchen porch displays the fruit and vegetables that are harvested from the garden during each week.
An authentic swept yard in the rear of the house now offers a gathering place for tour groups, which often includes school children, and for visitors who are attending special events held at the facility. Special events held at the Root House now include beer tastings, weddings and corporate sponsored functions.
The Cobb Landmarks Historical Society owns the William Root House Museum and Garden. The preservation of this house and other historical homes throughout Cobb County is their primary mission. Since 1990, the Master Gardener Volunteers of Cobb County have managed the Root House Garden as one of their many and varied gardening projects. The dedicated volunteer gardeners spend countless hours each year working in this lovely garden to demonstrate to the visiting public the importance of historically correct heirloom gardening, and also to promote the legacy of the William Root family in Marietta and Cobb County.