Friday, March 18, 2011

Grant Mansion Tour for Phoenix Flies

It was love at first sight for me, this stop on the Phoenix Flies tours. You can visit it tomorrow, March 19.

This is the Lemual Pratt Grant Mansion (1856), headquarters for the Atlanta Preservation Center. Mr. Grant was a railroad builder, one of Atlanta's most important businessmen and philanthropists in the 19th century.

The offices are back here.

In it's heyday it looked something like this.
It sits on a hilltop in Atlanta's hilly Grant Park neighborhood.

But by the time the Atlanta History Center bought it in 1991 the main house was in ruin. No floor, no roof, only the structural masonry walls were left and they weren't in good shape.

But what beautiful walls. See the slots for the side porch floor and ceiling joists?

In 1991 the Atlanta Preservation Society started the wonderful, outlandish project to rebuild the ruins.

It's a construction site with a ground floor, a front porch, and a roof. Here is Boyd Coons, executive director of the Atlanta Preservation Center, blowing off the front porch, preparing for the Phoenix Fliers.

The big beautiful windows are in.

The front door and porch columns are in.

What a porch.

People give you a sense of the scale. But it doesn't feel so big.

They aren't quite sure what it looked like inside. Right now it's just raw space.

They have some pictures and some of the original materials. I think they found this baluster in the yard.

Some of the wood for the deep paneling around the windows is original. Restoring them was a challenge. They are unfinished and beautiful

Bobby Jones was born here. Margaret Mitchell loaned money and filed suit over this house. Quite a bit can happen in 156 years.

It has a deep lot that opens to the street behind.

These are parts from some of Atlanta's demolished buildings. They might make you weep.


I'm in love with a ruin. History, mystery, charisma, fantasy, passion, pathos.

One more thing: Grant Park. You can live at any level of the social strata in Grant Park. But you can't live very far from your neighbor or very far from the street.

St. Paul United Methodist Church (1907) has been right across the street for that last 104 years.

To the east there is a cascade of neighborly porches.

Let me recommend this for your Saturday, March 19, they are across the street from each other.


  1. Is there any hope to rebuild the second floor and roof?

  2. Yes, they plan to keep going. How fast and how far is another issue.

  3. I'm so glad to see this project. Just securing the first floor is an accomplishment. Thanks.

  4. Windows and doors and porch columns- such a dramatic difference since last fall.


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