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Atlanta’s historic home tours: The Wren’s Nest


The Wren's Nest is the home of Joel Chandler Harris. AJC file photo

The Wren’s Nest in Atlanta’s West End is our final stop on our tour of Atlanta area historic homes. We didn’t get to all of them, including the Herndon Home, which no longer keeps regular visiting hours, but is available for tours by appointment.

I’d love to hear your your likes, dislikes, suggestions and ideas about historic tours around the area. If there are other tours or sites to visit, let me know in the comments.

Till then, our last home.

The Wren’s Nest

History: Ideas about Joel Chandler Harris and the “Uncle Remus” tales he published have evolved over time, but the author’s Queen Anne Victorian home in the West End has changed little since it became a house museum shortly after his death in 1908. The museum is now led by Harris’ great-great-great grandson, Decatur native Lain Shakespeare, and the site of a growing number of programs for children and teens.


  • The story of the home and its caretakers is just as interesting as the story of Harris’ life and the characters he wrote about. It fell into disrepair as the number of visitors shrank, but recent renovations have returned it to the middle-class home it was when Harris lived there in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
  • Harris’ bedroom has been cleaned, but never changed. It has the same well-trod flooring, before-its-time wall art of black children being educated and String Man that Harris used to discipline his children – they had to tie all the pieces together, or untie them, when they’d been naughty.

Tour: Tours led by The Wren’s Nest’s guides can take about an hour, but with a story behind almost every artifact – gifts from readers, photos with presidents – they can go long. For families, there’s storytelling at 1 p.m. every Saturday.

Holiday offerings: From noon-4 p.m. Dec. 6, the Victorian Christmas Open House & Celebration of Joel Chandler Harris’ Birthday will include light refreshments and free storytelling.

Information: 1050 Ralph David Abernathy S.W., Atlanta. 404-753-7735,

5 comments Add your comment

Tony Shaw

December 14th, 2009
7:37 am

There’s the Mary Gay House in Decatur, but it only opens for special events such as weddings. My specific interest is literature, and I spent a month going around a number of literary places September–october this year, and have now got the majority of details, including a great number of photos, on my blog:

Lain Shakespeare

November 29th, 2009
1:46 pm

Additionally, here are some more interior photos of the Wren’s Nest, shot earlier this fall:

There are also plenty of photos on the Wren’s Nest’s Facebook Fan page:

Jamie Gumbrecht

November 28th, 2009
7:50 pm

It’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to get photos at each of the homes, but I disagree that the stories are worthless. I hear often from people who have questions about the tours, how long they last, whether they’re child-friendly etc. This isn’t meant to be a multimedia tour, but rather, an explanation of what you can expect from a tour. In this particular case, there are photos from inside The Wren’s Nest, if you click on the link about renovations — they weren’t shot for this particular story, but they were shot within the last year.


November 28th, 2009
7:34 pm

I agree with C. M.

C. M. Thornton, III

November 28th, 2009
6:52 pm

These stories are worthless without photos.