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Victor H. Kriegshaber House (The Wrecking Bar)Designated: Landmark Building Exterior
June 13, 1990

292 Moreland Avenue, N.E.
Fronting 57.5' on the west side of Moreland Ave. and at the northwest corner of the intersection of Moreland and Austin Avenues.
District 14, Land Lot 15
Fulton County, City of Atlanta
Existing Zoning C-1

Constructed: 1900
Alterations: c. 1940
Architect: Willis F. Denny II

Located on the eastern fringe of historic Inman Park, the Kriegshaber house is one of the finest surviving examples of the great Victorian houses that have become increasingly rare in Atlanta. Often located along major thoroughfares, at least until the development of Ansley Park, Druid Hills, and Peachtree Heights Park in the early 1900s, these magnificent residences were built by the men who profited from the rise of the "New South" in the 1880s and '90s, and then hired prominent architects to display their wealth in buildings. They have rapidly disappeared in the face of commercial development, urban renewal, and freeway construction. The Victor H. Kriegshaber house is an outstanding example of that type, significant for its original owner and for its architect, Willis F. Denny. It also stands as an extremely important element in the fabric of the surrounding National Register districts of Inman Park-Moreland and Candler Park.

VICTOR HUGO KRIEGSHABER

Born in 1859 in Louisville, Kentucky, to Prussian immigrants, Kriegshaber came to Atlanta in 1889. Having left his civil engineer's position with the Central of Georgia Railway to become a contractor, he was soon president of his own building material supply company. Shortly before 1900, he commissioned Willis F. Denny II to design his elegant new residence at the eastern edge of Inman Park. He served in executive positions for countless business, civic, philanthropic and cultural organizations. In addition to his building materials supply business, Kriegshaber was founder and first president of the Atlanta Terra Cotta Company; a director of the Atlanta Art Glass Co.; and vice-president of the National Builders' Supply Association. He was a director of the Chamber of Commerce and, in 1914, was part of the committee from the Chamber that spearheaded the new development at Lakewood for the Southeastern Fair. The Fair opened in 1916, the same year that Kriegshaber served as president of the Chamber of Commerce. A notable accomplishment of his term as Chamber president was the first publication of the City Builder.

A charter member of the Rotary Club, Kriegshaber also served as director of the local council of the Boy Scouts of America; president of the Jewish Charities and of the Jewish Educational Alliance; and director of the Hebrew Orphan's Home. He was instrumental in establishing the city's first public playgrounds for children and was later vice-president of the Playground Association of America. In 1905 Kriegshaber was one of the organizers of the Standard Club, serving as its first vice-president.

Kriegshaber served on the executive committee of the Atlanta Music Festival Association from its founding in 1909 until his death. The first Atlanta Music Festival, held in 1909 in the just- completed Auditorium, was such a tremendous success that the Atlanta Music Festival Association inaugurated in 1910 the first of nearly twenty annual spring visits by the Metropolitan Opera to Atlanta's Municipal Auditorium. In addition, his belief in the ability of local musicians and choristers led to the establishment of the Atlanta Philharmonic Society, of which he was president at his death in 1934.

THE KRIEGSHABER HOUSE

Completed about 1900, the Kriegshaber house is a fine example of late Victorian architecture, designed by architect Willis F. Denny in the spirit of the Beaux Arts Classical Revival. Its elaborate and pretentious exterior ornament is unusual for what is essentially a one-and-a-half story, eight or ten-room house. The semi-circular portico features coupled Ionic columns supporting the conical slate roof, which is trimmed in terra cotta and was originally outlined by a wood balustrade. Two dormers are tucked into the north and south side of the roof. The portico covers part of the porch that wraps the front of the house. The original wooden porch has been replaced three or four times since 1940. Currently concrete, the porch floor is one of the few changes to the exterior of the house. On the north side is a porte-cochere characterized by smaller Ionic columns.

The house is set on a rough-cut granite foundation, finished above in creamy yellow brick set in common bond. The wood-framed section at the rear of the house originally housed the kitchen, bath, back hall, and a bedroom. Besides the impressive portico, Denny's window treatment is the most outstanding ornamental feature of the Kriegshaber house. Windows are trabeated with double-hung sashes capped by stained-glass transoms. Lintels are elaborate compositions of forms, crowned by a deep double-shell which emerges from curving, stylized wave elements. This same shell motif was used by Denny in the now-demolished DuBignon house on Peachtree near 14th St.

The house was originally surrounded by 34 large oak trees and a semi-circular stone drive that provided access to both streets. Paved customer parking now covers the front and south side of the property and a large rectangular, aluminum-sided warehouse sits close to the rear wall of the house. Nevertheless, the house retains its original orientation, anchoring the eastern corner of Inman Park.

WILLIS FRANKLIN DENNY II

The architect of the Kriegshaber house was Willis F. Denny II (1874-1905), a native of Louisville, Georgia, who had first come to Atlanta in the late 1880s to attend private school at Col. Asbury F. Moreland's military academy at Moreland Park. The Academy, somewhat altered, still stands on Moreland Avenue just north of the Kriegshaber House. While studying architecture at Cornell in 1892, Denny designed his first building, the Louisville (Ga.) Baptist Church. After a brief period in Macon, he moved to Atlanta in 1894 and worked as a draftsman with the prominent Atlanta firm of Bruce and Morgan. The following year he married Col. Moreland's daughter and in 1897 launched his formal career with offices in Atlanta, Macon, and briefly in Augusta. About that time he also built his own house on Moreland Avenue and, possibly through his wife, acquired several lots on Austin and Alta Avenues. Three or possibly four of his early houses are still intact on Austin and Euclid Avenues. They are all frame houses, however, and not typical of the "mansions" that he was designing at the turn of the century, one of which was done for his next- door neighbor Victor Kriegshaber.

He was responsible for a number of important buildings during his brief 8-year career, including the Inman Park Methodist Church (1897), Bass Dry Goods Store (1899), the Hebrew Synagogue (1901, demolished), St. Mark's Methodist Church (1902-03), the First Methodist Church (1903), Rhodes Hall (1904), the Piedmont Hotel (1902, demolished 1966), the Majestic Hotel (1900, demolished 1928), and the Fleming Dubignon house (1900, demolished 1954). In addition, he designed two apartment buildings and a number of private residences that no longer exist. He also designed a number of buildings in other parts of this state, Alabama, and Tennessee, including the Jefferson County Courthouse in his hometown of Louisville, the Masonic Temples in Augusta and Columbus, and the Carnegie library in Newnan. He was considered one of Atlanta's finest architects, before his untimely death in 1905 at the age of 31.

PERIOD AND SETTING

Commercial development of Moreland Avenue at Little Five Points (one block north of the Kriegshaber house) began as early as 1910, resulting in the demolition of nearly all of the large Victorian houses, except for one that was relocated around the corner on to McLendon. Col. Moreland's house burned in 1913 and was replaced by the present Bass Community Center building.

Denny's own house was demolished in the 1940s. The construction of the Moreland Avenue underpass thirty years ago completed the commercial transformation of this street. Austin Avenue, however, has retained nearly all of its original houses, ranging from the larger Denny- designed houses of the late 1890s to smaller bungalows from the 1910s and '20s. The Kriegshaber house is an important, even critical, transitional element between the Little Five Points business district and the Inman Park neighborhood.

REFERENCES

Garrett, Franklin. Atlanta and Environs, Vol II. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1954.

National Register of Historic Places Inventory--Nomination Form. 1978.

Niles, Andrea. "Willis Franklin Denny II." Unpublished manuscript in files of Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. 1980.

Sawyer, Elizabeth and Jane Foster Matthews. The Old in New Atlanta. Atlanta: PEMS Publications, 1976.

Untitled biographical sketch of V.H. Kriegshaber. Submitted to Georgia Department of Archives & History by Mrs. V. H. Kriegshaber, 1936.

CRITERIA
(criteria descriptions)

Group I (1) (2) (3)
Group II (1) (3) (6) (7) (9) (10) (11)
Group III (1) (2) (3)

FINDINGS

The proposed nomination of the Kriegshaber House meets the above-referenced criteria for a Landmark Building or Site as set out in Section 16-20.004 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Atlanta.

Contact Info
City of Atlanta
Atlanta Urban Design Commission
(AUDC)
55 Trinity Avenue, Suite 3400
Atlanta, Georgia 30335-0331

Tel: 404.330.6200
Fax: 404.658.6734

Doug Young
dyoung@atlantaga.gov

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Last updated: 6/11/2013 1:07:59 PM