In 1975, Mulberry Grove was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Mulberry Grove is replete with names and events familiar to many of us, having multiple significance for economic, historical, and archaeological reasons. As for economic ones, during the period when silk production was an industrial objective for colonization, a mulberry nursery was supported. With failure of the silk industry, Mulberry Grove was among the first estates to have its marsh acreage cultivated for rice production, and to prosper. When the rice market fluctuated, cotton was experimented with. The cotton gin was invented at Mulberry Grove during this time.
The historical significance begins when Mulberry Grove was a portion of river acreage designated by Oglethorpe as Joseph's Town, prior to John Cuthbert's 500 acre grant in 1735. The settlement failed while Mulberry Grove, as Cuthbert cooperated with the Trustees by starting a mulberry nursery.
Cuthbert's daughter and heiress married Dr. Patrick Graham who rose to the presidency of the Board of President and Assistants of the Colony. Under his direction, the planting of rice was successfully experimented with. After Graham's death in 1755, Mulberry Grove passed through a number of ownerships being bought in 1774 by John Graham, member of the King's Council and later Lieutenant Governor of Georgia. However, pre-Revolutionary disturbances between patriots and loyalists halted plantation work. Graham left Georgia for England in May of 1776.
Mulberry Grove, as a "Gift Deed," was conveyed to Major General Nathanael Greene by the State on April 13, 1785, as a reward for patriotic activities in Georgia. After moving to Mulberry Grove in October of 1785, Greene died in June of 1786. His family continued to reside at Mulberry Grove, receiving President Washington in 1791.
In 1793, Mrs. Greene's guest Eli Whitney, recognized the need for a more expeditious means of preparing cotton for an expanding market. Whitney experimented with various models, developing a working model from which he built a large ginning machine in 1794.
After Mulberry Grove was lost to Greene's creditors, it passed through a number of ownerships without restoration of its potential as a working plantation. In the mid 1800's the Ulmer family bought Mulberry Grove, providing 16 years of steady rice production. Zachariah M. Winkler in 1856, purchased the property. By 1860, he had 300 acres planted in rice, then war broke out between the States, bringing the days of renewed prosperity to an abrupt end.
The main house and many of the outbuildings were destroyed by Union troops. The following years never again saw the restoration of Mulberry Grove to its former status, although some of the fields were cultivated by subsequent owners. The property now lies overgrown with weeds and trees.
The archaeological significance of Mulberry Grove, considering the above factors, is as a resource of data for documenting land use under a variety of changing economic and social conditions in space and through time. The foundation of the main house is extant. The relationships of this feature to other assumed remains mentioned in the literature potentially will serve to give us a continuum of data regarding land use on a river plantation that was established shortly after Georgia became a British colony. On the river's edge below the bank, on which the ruins of the main house stand, numerous prehistoric ceramic fragments were found indicating the site was of more than European importance.