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Atlanta’s historic home tours: Rhodes Hall

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Rhodes Hall welcomes its Old World Santa in December.

Today’s stop on our Atlanta historic home tour is Rhodes Hall, an unmistakable building on Peachtree Street among office buildings, gas stations and roadways.

So far, we’ve seen Bulloch Hall, the Martin Luther King Jr. Birth Home, Margaret Mitchell House and Swan House. Rhodes Hall’s Old World Santa events begin next month, but there are others, too, like the 15-minute weddings on Valentine’s Day.

Rhodes Hall

History: “The Castle on Peachtree” was the home of furniture magnate Amos Rhodes and his wife, Amanda. They moved into the home, designed by architect Willis F. Denny II, in 1904. As other old Atlanta homes along the city’s most famous street were torn down, Rhodes Hall was donated to the state with the requirement that it be used to preserve history. It once housed the state archives, and is now the offices of The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, and is available for tours, weddings and other events.

Highlights:

  • Entry rooms and entertaining areas are lavish, but as the tour goes deeper into the home, visitors will see more of Amos and Amanda’s personalities. Behind closed doors, they lived a simple life more suited to Amos’ frugality. Just watch the doors: ornate wood and handle in the dining room are a simple push plate on the other side.
  • The dark, curving staircase and elaborate painted windows in the entry room were both removed to keep them safe while the house was vacant years ago. The windows are among the most eye-catching details, with some scenes that look straight out of “Gone With the Wind.” Maybe they were: Margaret Mitchell passed them while researching at the state archives.
  • If you can handle the stairs, head up to the roof, where the view shows just how much Atlanta has changed since Rhodes assembled 114 acres of land to build a home with Stone Mountain granite.

Tour: First floor tours examine only the elegant front areas of the house, but the more popular tour allows guests guided by a volunteer to take in every floor of the house. The whole-house tour takes about an hour, although you may be interrupted by couples stopping in to scout a wedding location.

Holiday offerings: “Old World Santa: Twelve Days of Christmas,” includes storytelling, arts, snacks and a portrait with Santa on Dec. 1-13. It costs $35 and includes a Santa photo. Call 404-885-7812 to register.

Information: 1516 Peachtree St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-881-9980, www.georgiatrust.org/historic_sites/rhodeshall.

One comment Add your comment

itsme

November 22nd, 2009
2:31 pm

I am glad there are still old houses to feature. The AJC would do well to highlight some of Atlanta’s endangered properties, like the Solomon Goodwin House on Peachtree Road in Brookhaven.