About the Tift College Alumnae House

The Tift House
House interiorThe beautifully restored Victorian structure that now serves as the Tift College Alumnae House was built in 1880 by Christopher DeSwan Findlay, a prominent Maconite and owner of Findlay Iron Works. It was Findlay’s own company that created the exquisite cast-iron fence and gate that frames this historical landmark.

Tift College Alumnae House InteriorA prominent politician and businessman, Findlay served as city alderman and chairman of the City Council from 1894-95. He, his wife, Ellen, and their seven children lived in the house after its completion. The house remained in the family’s possession until 1938, when Prentiss E. Findlay, son of Christopher and Ellen, sold the house to Mercer University. Evidence of the Findlay family still remains with the house. In fact, the name scratched on the windowpane to the left of the front door was the high school sweetheart of one of Findlay’s sons, and the Findlay name is displayed prominently on the gate.

Designated by Mercer as the Panhellenic House in October 1970, the old Findlay place housed the University’s four existing sororities. It contained four suites, two parlors, a kitchen and a bathroom. An upstairs porch (added in the 1920’s and since removed) allowed access to the outdoors from the second floor. The staircase in the front hall was also moved from the center of the hall to its present location. The original staircase curved to the right, stopped at a landing graced by a stained glass window, then continued to the second floor.

In 1995, meticulous restoration began on the structure by the Macon architectural firm of Brittain, Thompson, Bray and Brown, which transformed the Findlay’s home-place to near-original condition.

The graceful Victorian landmark now stands in proud tribute to the Tift College legacy by serving as home to the Tift College Alumnae Association, thus creating a prominent presence on the Mercer University campus.

We would like to thank Mrs. Delma Findlay, the granddaughter of Christopher Findlay, for graciously providing the preceding historical information.


Charles Brittain
Brittain, Thompson, Bray, Brown, Inc.


Ken Smith
Bibb Home Improvements, Inc.

Interior Decorator

Harriet Durkee