Named for a family of wrens that once nested in the mailbox, Wren's Nest is the former home of Joel Chandler Harris, who chronicled the wily deeds of fictional African characters Br'er Rabbit and Br'er Fox. It's been open to the public since 1913, when Harris's widow sold it to the Uncle Remus Memorial Association.
Harris's literary career began at the age of 13, when he apprenticed on the Countryman, a quarterly plantation newspaper. During the 4 years that he spent learning at the Countryman, young Harris spent many an evening hanging about the slave quarters, drinking in African folk tales and fables spun by George Terrell, a plantation patriarch who became the prototype for Uncle Remus. When the Countryman went out of business, Harris went on to other newspapers, working his way up to editorial writer at the Atlanta Constitution by his early 30s. There, filling in for a sick colleague, he remembered the plantation stories of his youth and evoked Uncle Remus to fill his column. Enthralled readers clamored for more, and the rest is history.
The house itself is an 1870s farmhouse with a Queen Anne-style Victorian facade added in 1884. Harris lived here from 1881 until his death in 1908, doing most of his writing in a rocking chair on the wraparound front porch. On the 30-minute tour, you'll see a good deal of memorabilia: the stuffed great horned owl over the study door (a gift from Theodore Roosevelt, whose White House Harris visited); the original wren's-nest mailbox on the study mantel; and all of Harris's books, along with signed first editions from major authors of his day (an unverified Mark Twain among others) displayed in a bookcase. Guided tours are held every half-hour on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
The house itself is certainly more than worthy of a visit here, but a favorite attraction is the storytelling every Saturday at 1pm, when the resident storyteller shares stories culled from African and African-American folklore; it's a real treat.