Monday, February 21, 2011

Neoclassical Erratics in Decatur and Druid Hills

"A glacial erratic is a piece of rock that differs from the size and type of rock native to the area in which it rests." Henceforth, an Architecture Tourist erratic is a building that differs from those native to the area in which it rests.

Finding great houses in Buckhead, Druid Hills, Inman Park, Ansley Park is like shooting fish a barrel. It's a great pleasure but not really a sport.

If size doesn't matter, there are great houses all over Atlanta. Finding them IS a sport, a sport I dearly love, finding erratics most of all.

Here is a beaut: a POMO in Druid Hills with a neoclassical portico. Is it really a POMO? I haven't had my POMO lesson yet. (Hint hint Michelle.)

A modern in Druid Hills? I can only think of 4, one is effectively invisible except from the golf course.

This erratic is a modern married to a tiny Greek tomb, perhaps from Oakland Cemetery. It's a shape I can't resist. There's a bridge to boot. It's not the sort of thing you see in Druid Hills.

To my eye it's always a treat, always in flux. It's good sport looking for it. Email me for a hint.

Later, turning for home from Decatur I chose to do Oakhurst because I can't resist the Neel Reid designed Solarium, then Kirkwood because Howard Avenue never disappoints , then Edgewood because it's streets aren't thoroughfares and I don't know them well, then ... well I'm getting carried away now.

I turned down Wisteria for the first time. Among the very modest well kept ranchers, I found this neoclassical erratic. The shock faded quickly, the sensation was like finding a mansion in a small southern town. They all have a few mansions.

There are several of these around East Lake and Kirkwood. I'd guess the original estate was subdivided in the 50's. By then the gentry was long gone to Buckhead.

The Decatur - Kirkwood axis is amazingly flat for Atlanta. It makes for an uncharacteristically welcoming front porch, thus the "Keep Out" sign.

The semi-circular side porch is charming.

If the long dripping window unit is any indication, the house is long past it's salad days. But the roof looks good, the paint is pretty fresh.


There's a big 1 story porch on the back.


  1. Fun! Now I'm going to be looking for erratics!

  2. Terry, both of these examples are very interesting in their own way and I am sure each has a background story to match.

  3. The juxtaposition of modern and the classical on the first house is quite intriguing. Thanks for sharing.

    BTW, I'm planning to attend the Summerour lecture @ Switch tomorrow.

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  5. Interesting to say the least on the first one. Glad I am not their neighbor! It is odd, curious and you can't help but wonder the story behind it becasue surely with such a purposeful design, there is a story for sure.
    The second one is stately and classic, don't know the neighborhoods but if its anywhere like many areas of NY, it is likely that it was once on a large piece of land then it got "cookie cut" into smaller parcel, hence this house left to stand amidst much smaller less substantial ones..thats always sad to see, looks like it needs a little TLC...I agree Atlanta has many many beautiful homes!

  6. Yes Enchanted, this happens everywhere, neighborhoods change, few can keep an estate going,money to be made. The Green POMO is actually a delight. It's on a short block with an eclectic a variety of city homes, craftsmen, Spanish eclectic, Italianate. It's on a hilltop. The back side of the POMO has an amazing view and windows to take advantage of it.

  7. We recently drove pass the POMO during a weekend drive--I said, "hmm." Interesting--and, yes, I would love to know the story behind it.

  8. The house on Wisteria was built in 1947; from what I can tell (I have come across a few of these), there was a trend in Post-War Georgia to build these massive Colonial Revival style homes.

    The area around this house was part of the Sisson estate, and remained mostly undeveloped until after WWII. The exception is just north (south of the MARTA station); it was part of the Cassells Estate and there are a few blocks of bungalows all built between the mid-1920s and mid-1930s.


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