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Geoff Lambousis award winner

Featured Article

The Magnificent Magnolia Ball

Article by Roswell City Lifestyle Staff

Photography by Diane Crow Photography

Originally published in Roswell City Lifestyle


“There was something in the air that night. Everyone was on a cloud and having a ball,” say Magnolia Ball co-chairs, Chris & Tracy Archer. It was true, the stars aligned and everything was perfect for the biggest, best, and most successful Magnolia Ball in years, grossing over $100,000. The amazing night began with a very social cocktail reception followed by fine dining and the Emerald Empire band that would not let you stop dancing, an irresistible silent and live auction, and items from Mittie’s Gift & Museum Shoppe were available for purchase if you didn’t win your favorite things in the auction.

For 38 years the Magnolia Ball has been the primary fundraiser for the preservation of Bulloch Hall, built in 1839 and on the National Register of Historic Places. It was the childhood home of Mittie Bulloch, mother of President Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States. 

While the Magnolia Ball has been an outstanding and highly coveted Roswell black tie event for 38 years, Friends of Bulloch, Inc. received their 501(c)(3) nonprofit designation in 1993, which made this the 30th year of the organization. The Magnolia Ball theme highlighted the accomplishments that Friends of Bulloch, Inc. has achieved over the last 30 years thanks to the generosity of the sponsors who donate to this event and the incredible skills of master carpenter, Geoff Lambousis.  

Geoff Lambousis was the honoree of the evening for his 30 years of reconstructing every historic structure on the Bulloch Hall property including the summer house gazebo near Mittie’s Gift & Museum Shoppe on the front drive (used by the Bulloch family to stay cool during the hot summers); the main well on the other side of the front drive which supplied all the water for the home and a cooling well behind the home for food storage. The reconstructions in the service yard included two dog trot cabins (a dog trot is a southern style house with two separate living spaces under one roof with a center breezeway used as a sitting area to stay cool) and the carriage house. One cabin became the offices with the Osage Terrace Room below opening onto the Osage Memorial Terrace with the pavilion, blacksmith hop, and fireplace nearby for events. Orchard Hill, a multi-year project, included Malon’s pond with a fountain and a dock for musicians surrounded by an earthen amphitheater. A gazebo and bridge grace Hagan’s Hollow, and a nature trail extends from Orchard Hill to behind Bulloch Hall. A beautiful pergola is underway that will define the entrance to Orchard Hill. These reconstructions were captured in a video shown at this year’s Magnolia Ball. Bob Hagan said, “The Magnolia Ball this year was outstanding. I am so grateful to all our sponsors and the people who gave so generously of their time and creativity. “

The mission of this year’s Magnolia Ball fundraiser is the restoration of the interior of Bulloch Hall which has suffered neglect since the pandemic with a pressing need for the replacement of plumbing, repair of furniture and floors, and cleaning of period fabrics, rugs, and draperies. Thanks to a Friends of Bulloch, Inc. grant many years ago, Dr. Page Talbott of Philadelphia was consulted to restore the Bulloch Hall furnishings and period-appropriate fabrics for chairs, sofas, dining room curtains and English-made wool runners for the main hall staircase. Sara Chase of Boston was consulted on the original interior house colors to restore Bulloch Hall to the original 1839 colors. Historic restoration is tedious and expensive and only experts in historic restoration are employed. With that in mind, the Friends of Bulloch, Inc. were excited to have the greatest number of sponsors ever! Comments shared that it was the best ball in years, how much fun was had, and the great anticipation for next year’s Magnolia Ball.

  • State representative Scott Hilton and wife Meredith at Magnolia Ball
  • Geoff Lambousis award winner
  • Magnolia Ball committee
  • Roswell Womens Group
  • Bob Hagan presenting Mr. Mimms sponsorship award
  • Co-chairs Chirs and Tracy Archer
  • A festive table celebrating