Skip to content

Owner Searches for Details About Historic Rising Fawn Home

News Editor

Photo Courtesy of Liz Simmons – Judge Hale House in Rising Fawn

Liz Simmons is in the process of registering the Judge Hale house, built in 1884, with the National Register of Historic Places. Located at 4269 US-11 across from Rising Fawn Hardware & Supply, the house is easily recognizable from the highway. (The historic address is 2406 Highway 11.)

While several notable people have lived in the house over the years, Judge W.W. Hale, a justice of the peace who married thousands of couples in the home, is one of the most notable.

Having purchased the property from Robin and Darlene Rogers in Oct. 2021, Simmons is in the process of converting the home into a bed and breakfast. “It will be both historic and sustainably restored,” Simmons said. “There aren’t any other bed and breakfasts or business homes in North Georgia that have both a green certification and a historic certification.”

She explained, “As part of the National Register of Historic Places application process, I am collecting information from the community about the home. Specifically, I’m requesting history and photos from when Judge Hale lived there.”

Simmons has been conducting research, utilizing the Dade County Public Library and the Dade County Historical Society. She said, “We found an architectural census from 1975. The architecture – Victorian Gingerbread – is unique to the area. At the time of the census, the state recommended it be added to the national register, but it was never done.”

According to real estate documents, the house is “a perfect specimen of the New England boom era architecture of the late 1800’s.” The home’s original owner and builder was John Cantrell.

According to the census, “Judge Hale was known all over as the ‘marrying squire of Dade County’ and ‘the marrying man’ and would sometimes marry up to 12 couples in one day. It is told that couples would pull up at all hours of the day and night, honk their horn, and Judge Hale would meet them in the living room to perform the service. This is how the house also got endearingly named ‘The House of Love.’”

Simmons said, “I have these snippets from the community. About 15,000 to 17,000 couples were married by him, but he didn’t live in the house that entire time, so not all of those marriages happened in the house.”

Simmons asks the local community to share any information about ownership and architecture of the home, marriage ceremonies that took place there, and any photos, specifically around the Judge Hale era. “All information would be greatly appreciated.”

She added, “Currently, Dade County has two listings on the National Register of Historic Places: the Dade County Courthouse and Lookout Mountain Hotel (now Covenant College). This would be the first residential historic register for Dade County.”

In order for a location to be listed on the register, it must be tied to a historically significant event or person, have a historically significant design/architecture, or be a historically significant archeological site.

This house is not tied to an event or archeological site, and while the architecture could have qualified it for the register, a fire impacted the interior, meaning it is no longer original. Therefore, Simmons hopes that information about Judge Hale (as a historic person) will qualify the home for the register.

Please contact Liz Simmons if you have any information to share. Her phone number is 731-217-6155, and her email address is


  1. Myra Payne Burns on March 7, 2023 at 6:12 pm

    My parents, Grady and Christine Payne were married there by Judge Hale in February, 1946 when Dad returned from the war. Before my Mom died we stopped by on day and I took their picture in front of the house. I love that place and I am so glad it will be restored.

    • Editor on March 14, 2023 at 9:32 am

      Thanks for the input, Myra!

Leave a Comment