Laura Bowers Foreman, owner of the Bowers House and director of the literary center is a writer. Several years ago she decided to turn her large and elegant old family home into a multipurpose resource for writers and readers from the Southeast as well as from throughout the country.
She invited the long-established Georgia Review to be associated with the retreat center to help the Bowers House gain initial credibility and to serve in particular the interests of the Review’s authors and followers.
The Bowers House was constructed in the early 1920s as a hotel to accommodate railroad passengers, many of them businessmen in the cotton trade, who traveled the line that passed by a mere hundred yards from the hotel’s front entrance. The hotel failed during the Great Depression, and at that time the structure—with its eight bedrooms and some 4,000 square feet of space on two floors featuring classic southern columns and wraparound porches—was purchased by Foreman’s grandparents and converted to a private residence.
Family came to the old Bowers house for an afternoon of iced tea and stayed six months.
So begins The Lessons of Lilies, a memoir written by Laura Bowers Foreman (part of the collection of family memoirs, My Mother’s Tattoo) about The Bowers House. The home passed down to Foreman’s parents and then, at the death of her father five years ago, to her. Under her father’s guidance, the Bowers House was fully renovated to its original historic beauty in the early 1990s.
A longtime resident of the Seattle area, Foreman hit upon the idea of the literary center as a way both to keep the house in the family and to provide services to other practitioners of the writing craft to which she is devoted.
In addition to its designation as a writer’s retreat, The Bowers House also hosts workshops, readings and other literary and community events. Literary organizations and informal writer’s groups are also able to rent the Bowers House to conduct their own programs.