Designated: Historic District
August 9, 1994
District 14, Land Lots 106 and 107
Fulton County, City of Atlanta
Existing Zoning R5, C1, I1
Subarea 1 (Residential) of the proposed district includes properties fronting on the south side of Shelton Avenue from Lowndes Street on the west to the east property line of 656 Shelton Avenue on the east; also properties fronting on the north and south sides of Hugh Street from the west property lines of 671 and 668 Hugh Street on the west to the east property lines of 641 and 642 Hugh Street on the east; also properties fronting on the west side of Lowndes Street from the north property line of 774 Lowndes Street on the north to Gillette Street on the south; also properties on the east and west sides of Tift Avenue from the north property lines of 767 and 770 Tift Avenue on the north to Pearce Street on the south; also those properties fronting on the north and south sides of Gillette Street from the west property lines of 675 Gillette Street (north side) and Adair Park II (south side) to the east property lines of 643 and 648 Gillette Street on the east; also those properties on the north and south sides of Lillian Avenue from the west property lines of Adair Park II (north side) and 764 Lillian Street (south side) to the east property lines of 641 Lillian Street (north side) and 714 Lillian Street (south side); also those properties fronting on the east and west sides of Oakhill Avenue from the north property lines of 826 and 831 Oakhill Avenue on the north to the south property lines of 908 and 923 Oakhill Avenue on the south; also those properties fronting on the north and south sides on Bonnie Brae Avenue from the west property lines of 776 and 779 Bonnie Brae Avenue on the west to the east property lines of 713 and 714 Bonnie Brae Avenue on the east; also those properties fronting on the north and south sides of Pearce Street from the west property lines of 772 and 773 Pearce Street on the west to the east property lines of 641 and 646 Pearce Street on the east; also those properties fronting on the north and south sides of Elbert Street from the west property lines of 839 and 838-40 Elbert Street on the west to the east property lines of 645 and 646 Elbert Street on the east; also those properties on the north and south sides of Brookline Street from the west property lines of 850-52 and 853 Brookline Street on the west to the east property lines of 636 and 639 Brookline Street on the east; also those properties on the west side of Stewart Avenue from the north property line of 941 Stewart Avenue on the north to the south property line of 1147 Stewart Avenue on the south; also those properties on the east and west sides of Allene Avenue from the north property lines of 898 (east side) and 949 (west side) Allene Avenue on the north to the south property lines of 1055 and 1056 Allene Avenue on the south; also those properties fronting on the north and northeasterly side of Mayland Avenue from the east property line of 645 Mayland Avenue on the east to the north-westerly property line of 711 Mayland Avenue on the west; also those properties fronting on the south and southeasterly side of Mayland Avenue from the north property line of Adair Park I on the west to the east property line of 640 Mayland Avenue on the east; also those properties fronting on the west side of Mayland Avenue from the north property line of 898 Mayland Avenue on the north to the south property line of 746 Mayland Avenue on the south; also those properties fronting on the north and south sides of Catherine Street from the west property lines of 771 Catherine Street (north side) and Adair Park I (south side) on the west to the east property lines of 645 and 646 Catherine Street on the east; also those properties fronting on the north and northeasterly and south and southeasterly sides of Lexington Avenue from the north property lines of 780 Lexington Avenue and Adair Park I to the east property lines of 640 and 641 Lexington Avenue.
Subarea II (Transitional Commercial) of the proposed district includes those properties fronting on the west side of Stewart Avenue from the north property line of 795 Stewart Avenue on the north to the south property line of 937 Stewart Avenue on the south; also that property fronting forty feet on the south side of Lillian Avenue known as 636 Lillian Avenue; also that property fronting 59.8 feet on the north side of Pearce Street known as 635 Pearce Street; also those properties fronting on the east side of Allene Avenue from the north property line of 876-84 Allene Avenue on the north to the south property line of 892 Allene Avenue on the south.
Subarea III (Transitional Industrial) of the proposed district includes those properties fronting on the west side of Stewart Avenue from Shelton Avenue on the north to the south property line of 791 Stewart Avenue on the south; also those properties fronting on the south side of Shelton Avenue from the east property line of 640 Shelton Avenue on the east to the west property line of 652 Shelton Avenue on the west; also the property fronting 63.5 feet on the south side of Shelton Avenue known as 740 Shelton Avenue; also those properties fronting on the west side of Lowndes Street from Shelton Avenue on the north to the south property line of 763 Lowndes Street on the south; also those properties fronting on the east side of Murphy Avenue from Shelton Avenue on the north to Gillette Street on the south.
The great majority of the buildings within the boundaries of Adair Park are residential dwellings, built for single-family use or as duplexes. Frame structures with clapboard exteriors predominate with Lexington Avenue being the only street in the neighborhood with a significant number, approximately one-half, of brick- veneered, frame houses. The character of development throughout Adair Park is fairly consistent in terms of the materials and the density, but houses vary greatly in size and scale, ranging from three-room, gabled ell cottages to massive, one and one-and-a-half story temple-front cottages.
From the oldest section in the north to the last area to be developed south of Catherine, Adair Park undergoes a transition in stylistic influence representative of its developmental history. The predominant influence throughout the neighborhood is Craftsman, but, in the northernmost area, this influence is superseded by Folk Victorian, and, south of Catherine, Tudor Revival influences can be seen. The relative concentration of brick-veneered homes along Lexington is partly a reflection of this Tudor influence and partly the later date of development.
The physical layout of the Adair Park neighborhood also exhibits different design characteristics as one moves from the northern section (above Pearce Street) to the southern section. A typical grid street pattern is found in the northern half of the neighborhood; although blocks are not uniform in size, the feel is definitely that of a regular grid street system. Conversely, the southern half of Adair Park makes use of angled and curving streets and thus achieves a more self-contained quality. The resulting closed vistas and streets that end in perpendicular relationships to other streets contribute to this atmosphere.
Two parks are located in the neighborhood. Adair Park II in the northern half was built c. 1980 and occupies a site previously industrial. Adair Park, in the southern portion of the neighborhood, was added to the design very early and occupies a low-lying area providing expansive views.
DEVELOPMENTAL HISTORY: CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE
The well-defined neighborhood of Adair Park dates its residential development to the late 19th and early 20th centuries--a period that witnessed the successful transition of Atlanta from a "railroad town" to a true city. Following the Civil War, Atlanta's business center continued to be focused around Whitehall and Alabama Streets, south of the railroad tracks, and was a far cry from the urban complexes of New York and Chicago that it hoped to emulate. While the expansion and growth of the railroads provided the impetus for the city's continued growth, Atlanta strove to develop a more sophisticated image that defined it as more than a "railroad town." By the turn of the century, the city's core had begun to shift to the north away from the railroad corridor and was characterized by new commercial buildings which more closely reflected the city leaders' cosmopolitan aspirations. Vital to this expansion was the migration of residential neighborhoods to the periphery, in part due to the developing street railway system, so that residential areas in the new downtown zone could be converted to commercial use. Adair Park which developed from 1890 to 1925 was part of this transition which resulted in a true downtown surrounded by "trolley neighborhoods."
The history of ownership in the neighborhood can be traced to the early 1800s with significant links to the thriving West End community. Adair Park comprises almost the entire residential development of Land Lots 106 and 107. The history of the two land lots are, however, distinctly different. Land Lot 107 remained largely intact from the time it was a land grant in 1823 to its subdivision in 1878 and then developed gradually from the late 1800s into the 1920s. Land Lot 106, however, underwent a series of divisions and transactions from the 1850s until it was acquired in whole in the early 1900s by the Atlanta Real Estate Company. Land Lot 107, along with that portion of 106 north of Pearce Street, was developed earlier than the southern section of the neighborhood, and their histories are best dealt with separately. Northern Adair Park In 1823 William Little received a land grant for Land Lot 107. The portion of this lot east of the railroad tracks remained in single ownership until 1859 when E.E. Rawson sold the 50 acres south of Shelton to William Solomon and Sidney Root, 25 acres each. Ten years later Solomon and Root sold their properties to John H. James who had also acquired 25 acres in Land Lot 106 just south of 107 (Illus. 1). At the same time, Anthony Murphy acquired the Candler Warehouse property, to the north, which his estate retained until 1915, when it was sold to Asa Candler. Later in 1870, James sold his 75 acres to Thomas A. Alexander of West End.
During this period, the area now known as West End was undergoing the transformation from a mere crossroads, where an inn commonly known as White Hall was located, to an incorporated city. The arrival of the railroads in Atlanta (Terminus at the time) diminished the importance of White Hall as a point of commerce, but the completion in the late 1840s of the Macon and Western Railroad line (later Central of Georgia), which ran just east of the tavern, provided easy access to the "city" and thus increased the potential for growth around the White Hall area. Following completion of the railroad, speculators, notably George Washington Adair, John Thrasher and Thomas Alexander, bought lots surrounding the inn anticipating future growth. One in particular, Adair, would play a large role in the development of West End and Adair Park, and Alexander would likewise be responsible for the initial planning of lots in Adair Park.
During the Civil War, Whitehall was important as the location of a troop garrison and a cartridge factory. After the war, the garrison was converted into McPherson's Barracks which housed federal troops. In 1868 West End was incorporated west of the railroad and south of the Barracks, purposefully excluding the federal enclave. At the time of incorporation, commuter passes were available on the Macon and Western Railroad with trains running into town once in the morning and evening and back and forth for lunch at noon.
Although the railroad made it possible for West End to develop as a kind of commuter suburb, the real impetus to growth would be the promoters of the street railway system. George W. Adair was one of the incorporators of the Atlanta Street Railway Company in the early 1870s. Adair's involvement in the new commuter system was a way of increasing the value of his earlier land speculation. Fortunately for West End, Adair owned property and lived in West End. By the 1880s two trolley lines into West End had been built, one as far south as Gordon Street.
Though the area known today as Adair Park was not developed until the 1890s, one crossroads, known as McCall's Crossing, was the host to much activity prior to this time. McCall's Crossing was the intersection of what is today Lillian Avenue and the railroad tracks. McCall's served as the primary access point to West End for people living south of Atlanta; there were no other railroad crossings in the area. In 1874 Anthony Murphy built his residence southwest of the crossing. Murphy is a significant figure in the history of Atlanta for his involvement in the development of Atlanta's waterworks and the Atlanta public school system. His claim to fame at the time, however, was an incident involving the "General" locomotive, which today is exhibited at the Cyclorama. Murphy was supervisor of the railroad, and the story goes that the locomotive was stolen by the "Yankees" and recaptured by Murphy who brought it back to Atlanta. He became a true folk hero in Atlanta, and the proximity of his residence was used in the earliest advertisements of property in Adair Park as an added attraction to living in the neighborhood. The following is an example.
From the April 8, 1892 auction of the Bonnie Brae lots:
...meaning 'beautiful wood slope' and it is now the name of seventy pretty, rolling, shaded lots on the east side of the Central Railroad, this side of Anthony Murphy's home....
From 1878 to 1884 a Methodist Church, located across the tracks from Murphy's residence on property owned by Thomas Alexander, served residents from West End until the Park Street Methodist Church was built in West End in 1884. The Park Street Church later founded a seed church in Adair Park that eventually became the Stewart Avenue United Methodist Church. South of the original church, near Anthony Murphy's residence, was a pond which was used by blacks for baptisms in the latter part of the century with services being held nearby. In 1885 northern architect Alexander Russell, who designed and supervised the construction of buildings at Fort McPherson, built his residence across the railroad tracks from Murphy's, again on land previously owned by Alexander; it was the first east of the railroad. His personal manuscript includes accounts of the Sunday gatherings of blacks, in all their finery, at the "pond of baptism".
As stated earlier, Thomas Alexander bought a significant amount of property in 1870 from John James east of the railroad tracks. When he died in 1878, his estate in Adair Park was subdivided into two plats. Plat 20 consisted of the 75 acres bounded by Shelton-Murphy-Allene-Pearce-and Stewart. The plat was subdivided into six lots and divided among his various heirs. Alexander also owned property to the west of Allene, Plat 21; the southern portion of this property, located in Land Lot 106, was heired to his son T.A. Alexander, Jr. and will be discussed with the later development of L.L. 106 (Illus. 3).
The subdivision of the property must certainly have contributed to its development, but the more important factor may have been the annexation by West End in 1885 of lots 5 and 6 and half of lot 4 in Plat 20 (Illus. 2). The earliest development took place on lots 2 and 6 (Illus. 4), which are 2 of the 3 western lots and closest to the street railway. From 1891 to 1900, approximately 48 houses were built on Lowndes, Tift, Gillette, Lillian, Bonnie Brae, Allene and Pearce, primarily west of Tift. Lot 4 never had residential development; in 1905 it was purchased by the Willingham-Tift Lumber Company and according to the 1911 Sanborn Map, a planing mill and factory had been built. Today, Adair Park II occupies this site.
The eastern lots were slower to develop, with the majority of the development taking place from 1902 to 1911. By 1902 the electric street car line of the Atlanta Railway and Power Company had extended south on Lee Street past the site of McCall's Crossing. Another development, which may or may not have been a factor, was the completion of a line into the Pittsburgh neighborhood to the east. Development of the eastern lots took place as follows. Lot 1 was purchased in the 1880s by "Leak and Lyle" (Illus. 5); the western half was successfully developed by Lyle's heirs in the early 1900s (Illus. 6), while the eastern half of this lot was developed in the 1910s. The A.G. Gillette Mansion on Lot 3 was an exception as it was built c.1892-94; the estate dominated the lot even after Gillette's death in 1903 (Illus. 7). The lot was subdivided in 1903 but not significantly developed until 1923. Lot 5 was first subdivided in the 1890s but was not successfully auctioned until 1904 when it was advertised by T.A. Shelton as Southside Grove (Illus. 8).
The primary method for selling lots was by auctions which were advertised on posters. These posters, dating from the early 1890s and 1900s, describe a neighborhood rich in natural beauty and all the necessary amenities of a happy home! Following are some excerpts from these posters.
From the July 4, 1891 auction of Lyle's 10 lots:
These lots all front east, lie nicely, are level and covered with beautiful shade trees. The property is surrounded with the very best of neighbors, is beautiful, clean and desirable, with no objectionable features whatever, and is convenient to street cars, schools, churches, etc. It lies in the most beautiful part of Bonnie Brae, just across the chert road from West End, between McCall's Station, Stewart Avenue, and in one of the best home-owning neighborhoods.
From the April 7, 1890 auction of Lot 6:
16 MAGNIFICENT, UNSURPASSED WEST END LOTS The above property...stands unrivaled as fine mansion property... this sale represents the rare opportunity of buying a most desirable, capacious and comfortable home.
From an 1891 auction of the east half of Lot 6:
This property is just the thing for a man of moderate means to get a good home in a good community where many good families who do not have sufficient means to get on streets where property is so high.
These flattering depictions may not have always been successful in selling property, but they do provide an interesting insight into the business of real estate, if not the neighborhood itself.
Southern Adair Park
The southern part of Adair Park, south of Pearce Street, has a much different history. In 1830 Robert Murphy obtained a land grant for Land Lot 106. The property remained in single ownership until the late 1850s and early 1860s when the owner, J.B. Loftin, began to sell portions of the lot. It has already been noted that the portion north of Pearce was sold to T.A. Alexander in 1870. The remainder of the lot consisted primarily of four sections which underwent a series of transactions. The major property owners in the late 1800s were J.K. Warner, who owned property in the southwest corner; Edward White who owned 80 acres north of Warner's extending up to the land lot line (Illus. 9)--this property was later sold off to Anthony Murphy (for his residence) and T.A. Alexander. Alexander's property was the aforementioned Plat 21 which in 1878 was willed to T.A. Alexander, Jr. Eventually the property was purchased by the Atlanta Real Estate Company and the L & N Railroad. H.B. Plant owned the largest portion of L.L. 106--99 1/2 acres located south of Pearce and east of Allene and extending south to what was known as the Seely property. Plant was associated with the Atlanta Real Estate Company and eventually sold his property to the company. For a period of time during the late 1800s, Plant wanted to build a railroad across the northern boundary of his property. He purchased property from Alexander for the purpose, and some early plats show the route of the railroad which was never built. Pearce was built just north of the planned route and accordingly is slightly curved as the railroad would have been.
By 1905 the majority of these properties, with the exception of that portion purchased for the L & N Railroad, had been purchased by the Atlanta Real Estate Company, owned by George and Forrest Adair, sons of the company's founder, George Washington Adair. Adair's company was the largest developer of property in Atlanta and was likewise active across the country. Adair first became associated with Adair Park in 1883 when he chartered the company and subsequently purchased Plant's 99 1/2 acres. He died in 1889 of a stroke but his sons continued the company and went on to develop Adair Park.
West End was annexed into the city in 1894 and in 1910 the remainder of Adair Park was brought in. From 1910 to 1912 the Atlanta Real Estate Company designed the subdivision they named Adair Park and began the process of subdividing and selling lots in the neighborhood. Their first auction was early in 1910 and included the six block area bounded by Pearce, Allene, Catherine and Stewart (Illus. 10). In September of 1910, they subdivided the area south of Catherine bounded by Lexington Avenue and Stewart (Illus. 11 ). The curving of the streets in this section was typical of the subdivisions the company was doing at the time. The plat of this second subdivision shows the location of four lots on the northeast corner of Catherine and Mayland donated by the Adairs for use as a public school. In addition the plat shows 12 existing dwellings. In 1911 the triangular property bounded by the two railroad lines to the west and Allene on the east was subdivided (Illus. 12).
A 1977 article from the Atlanta Constitution entitled "Adair Park's Brookline Club Folds" provides some insight into the early days of the neighborhood. The Brookline Club was one of several neighborhood clubs, and the longest-running, that were formed when the southern section of the neighborhood was settled. According to a Mrs. Agnew who was quoted in the article as the only remaining charter member, the neighborhood was "just a beautiful cow pasture in 1910 before the Adairs began developing it." The article summarizes Mrs. Agnew as saying that "the community developed so quickly there was a need for an organization... to develop a sense of community and to enable the mostly young couples who bought the homes to get acquainted." Mrs. Agnew also remembered that the early deeds restricted occupancy to whites only, but, she said, "This was really very strange. When the Adairs began developing the area there was only one house there and it was occupied by a black man and his wife who were former slaves of the Adair family." According to Mrs. Agnew, the family remained in Adair Park and the streets Catherine and Elbert are named for them.
Another source of information regarding the early appearance of the neighborhood and its amenities is the poster advertising the Adair's 1921 sale of lots along the park. The poster states:
This street has water, gas and sewer, with a stub at the curb in front of each lot, so that it will not be necessary to cut the pavement in making these connections. The sidewalk, curbing and street pavement are all down and paid for, so that there will be no assessments against the lot owners for these improvements. The lots are convenient to churches, near one of the best schools in the city, and are right at an attractive little city park. Indeed, there is no subdivision in the City of Atlanta where lots for homes, surrounded by every convenience and attraction can be purchased on such favorable terms and prices.
The southern portion of Adair Park developed by the Adairs (Illus. 11) closely resembles the bungalow suburbs described by Dr. Timothy Crimmins in "Bungalow Suburbs East and West." Dr. Crimmins states that these neighborhoods were developed in the period after World War I. The Adair Park area experienced significant development prior to the war (79 houses were built on Elbert, Brookline and Catherine from 1910 to 1915) and so may have been a precursor to the later bungalow suburbs. The southern portion of the neighborhood does have many of the characteristics of a "bungalow suburb." First and foremost is the predominance of one-story bungalows, placed on lots of uniform size, primarily with a 50' frontage. The 1932 Sanborn Maps show the majority of these houses to have a garage placed in the rear of the 200' deep lot thus demonstrating their dependency on the automobile by the 1930s. Dr. Crimmins also states that these neighborhoods were normally equipped with electrical and telephone lines, water sewer and gas mains. The excerpt from the 1921 poster quoted above lists several of these amenities.
Adair Park also featured a school, built in 1912, and a park, completed in 1922. In 1916 a Carnegie Library was built on the corner of Pearce and Stewart. All these features are typical of the bungalow suburbs described by Dr. Crimmins as are the neighborhood clubs described by Mrs. Agnew in the excerpt from the Atlanta Constitution.
Neighborhood Development Since 1910
The 1911 Sanborn reveals the status of the northern section of the neighborhood at this time. From 1902 to 1910 approximately 74 houses were built in this area so that by 1911 the majority of the area had been developed. The exceptions were the eastern half of Lot 1, Leak's property, bounded by Stewart, Lillian, Oak Hill and Pearce, and the Gillette lot bounded by Lillian, Stewart, Gillette and Tift. The only two churches in the neighborhood were, however, located on Gillette's lot; one, the Immanuel Congregational Church stood where the Stewart Avenue Methodist Church stands today, and, two, the Bonnie Brae M.E. Church was located on the northeast corner of Lillian and Tift. The Bonnie Brae congregation later moved into a building on Stewart Avenue which replaced the Immanuel Church building and became the Stewart Avenue United Methodist Church.
The entire neighborhood grew rapidly in the 1910s and 1920s. Lots along the south side of Pearce and along Elbert and Brookline west to Allene all developed in the 1910s along with about half of those on Catherine. The George W. Adair Elementary School was built in 1912. The blocks in the northern section which had not developed earlier were soon back on the auction block. The eastern half of Lot 1 was developed by J.T. Kimbrough in the 1910s (Illus. 13) and much of Gillette's lot was sold off by Carl Dolvin in 1923. One area in the south which failed to develop in the 1910s was that south of Catherine. While some lots were bought, nothing was built. The main reason for this was probably the fact that a virtual swamp occupied much of the land where the park lies today. Early in the 1920s, plans were developed for draining the swamp and building a park on land, once again donated by the Adairs. In November of 1921, the Adair Realty & Trust Company (renamed in the 1910s) held an auction for lots in the area surrounding the park (Illus. 14). The plat differs from the earlier one of the area in that it incorporates the planned park and, in addition, plats lots on the south side of Lexington Avenue. The park was completed in 1922 and over the next five years this entire area, including Catherine Street, was developed. Also, in 1924 Brookline and Elbert Streets from Allene to Murphy were re-subdivided and lots sold. A 1928 City of Atlanta USGS topographical map shows the entire neighborhood with residential development (Illus. 15).
City directories sampled for the years 1915, 1921-22, and 1925-26 show that the residents of the southern portion of the neighborhood were primarily middle-class whites with high-level blue collar and low-level white collar jobs. For instance, a sampling from 1915 and 1921-22 of residents living on Brookline show the most common occupations to be salesmen, contractors, store clerks and managers (many in stores downtown), bookkeepers, company managers and officers, police and firemen, and railroad employees, most often engineers. A 1925 sampling of residents on Lexington reveals a similar distribution of occupations. Sampling from the northern part of the neighborhood over the same time period shows a shift toward more blue collar jobs such as mechanics and machinists with fewer clerks, managers and salesmen. Railroad jobs are also well-represented.
Over the years, Adair Park has experienced a shift in the make-up of its population from primarily white to an ethnic mix. Much of this change has occurred over the last two decades. City directories from the early 1980s show a large number of retired persons and significantly more domestic workers. The West End MARTA Station and city bus service have replaced the street railway as the major forms of public transportation.
During the 1960s, Adair Park was part of Atlanta's Model Cities Area, a federal urban redevelopment program, but little was accomplished according to longtime residents. The entire area is still primarily residential with a few industrial and commercial intrusions on the edges. The northern area has suffered far more than the area to the south. A number of the original dwellings in the area north of Pearce have been replaced or their lots stand vacant. A recent, positive change has been the conversion of the lumber company lot from industrial use to recreational, Adair Park II. Another potentially positive influence in this area may be the redevelopment of the Candler Warehouse space directly to the north.
Adair Park's architectural significance stems from its display of styles and house types representative of working class neighborhoods in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Of particular importance is the proliferation and variety of Craftsman bungalow types.
Adair Park's architecture is most heavily influenced by the Craftsman style whose period of dominance lasted from c.1905 to 1930. While the form of the Craftsman bungalows in Adair Park tends to be simple, they display a number of high style details such as typical Craftsman porch supports, triangular knee braces and exposed roof beams in the gable ends, exposed rafter tails, transomed windows with or without decorative paning in the transom, decorative door surrounds, and grouped double-hung sash windows with multi/one pane configurations. There are excellent examples throughout the southern portion of Adair Park, but particularly expressive are the examples along Brookline.
The Folk Victorian style is also represented in the neighborhood, particularly in the northern section where porch details such as turned porch supports and decorative friezes and brackets are common along with shingling in gable ends.
The Tudor Revival style finds mild representation in the southern section where brick veneers are more common, and some houses incorporate multiple gable fronts and false half-timbering.
House Types and Distribution
With few exceptions, the houses of Adair Park fall into one of several house types. While the majority are Craftsman bungalows, a number of late 19th century types are present and apparently influenced the expression of the later bungalow types. This influence can be seen in a disproportionate number of hipped roof examples which, according to McAlester in A Field Guide to American Houses, normally comprise less than 10% of Craftsman houses. The front-gable and side-gable types are normally the most common, each making up approximately one-third of all examples. In Adair Park, however, the side gable type is relatively rare and the hipped roof type common.
The majority of houses throughout the neighborhood have a front to back orientation, often created or further emphasized by a front-facing gable extension on the facade. This orientation, however, is frequently compromised, particularly in front-gable and front-hip examples, by wide, low-pitched, massive roofs that disguise the length, not readily visible in the narrow lots.
One-story and one-and-half-story examples are both common in the neighborhood; the only two-story examples are found along Stewart Avenue.
Following are the predominant house types found in Adair Park, divided into three groups. The first, late 19th century folk forms, are most common in the northern section of the neighborhood, north of Pearce and west of Tift up to Gillette. The second, transitional folk to bungalow, are most common south of Gillette to Elbert but are really found throughout the neighborhood. The third, bungalow forms, are most common south of Pearce. (See Appendix 2 for house type definitions.)
Four house types stand out in the category of late 19th century folk forms. They are the New South Cottage, Queen Anne Cottage, gabled ell cottage, and the side hallway. All four typically have hipped roofs (sometimes pyramidal) with front gable extensions, the only exception being the gabled ell cottage which has both a gable and a hip form. The front gable is part of the main floor plan except in the side hallway type where it is expressed as a porch.
There are two house types common in Adair Park which stand out as being transitional folk to bungalow. Both have hipped roofs with front gable extensions. What distinguishes them from the late 19th century forms is the front gable which, in the 19th century forms, tends to be one-half or less the width of the facade, but in the later examples begins to take on the proportions of the front gable in front-gable bungalows, two-thirds to almost full width. Also, in the later examples, the front gable is expressed as a porch.
One of the two types is a front-hip, hall-parlor plan with an almost full-width front gable. The other is a side-hip with a front gable (either centered or off to the side) that is approximately two-thirds the width of the facade.
The temple front cottage is a common house form throughout the neighborhood, frequently with Craftsman elaborations. Three basic variations of the temple front cottage occur in Adair Park: front gable, front hip, and a gable-on-hip variation.
Two typical bungalow forms are common in Adair Park; they are the front gable and the cross gable. The front gable form typically displays a double gable front, or sometimes hipped, with the front gable being a porch. The cross gable is simply a main, side gable roof with a front gable projection, usually the porch, constituting about two-thirds the width of the facade. The placement of the front gable varies from being centered to off to one side. In some cross gable examples, particularly those with Tudor influence, the front gable is one-half or less the width of the facade.
The majority of houses in Adair Park fall into one of the above-mentioned house types. Other types do exist in the neighborhood but do not occur with any sort of frequency.
Individual Noteworthy Buildings
Also architecturally significant in Adair Park are several individual buildings. The Gillette Mansion, built c.1892-94 at the corner of Gillette Street and Stewart Avenue, is a large brick house in the Queen Anne style situated on property once part of the Gillette Estate. It is by far the dominant residential building in the neighborhood and also the most architecturally elaborate.
Located on the east side of Mayland Street between Catherine and Brookline is the classically-inspired George W. Adair Elementary School, built in 1912. The original portion of the school was designed by Edward Dougherty. A prominent local architect, Mr. Dougherty also designed the Home Park School, Forrest Avenue School and the Christian Science Church (with Edward Neal Robinson). The auditorium addition (1928-29) was designed by G. Lloyd Preacher, the architect for Atlanta's City Hall. The 1937 classroom addition was a project sponsored by the New Deal and designed by the noted, local firm of Tucker and Howell. The cafeteria, which was added in 1950, was designed by a less well-known architect J. W. Kreis. This Adair Elementary school building along with the large Prairie-influenced brick apartment buildings across Mayland create a contrast with the scale and materials seen throughout most of the Adair Park neighborhood. The school was used during World War I as a draft registration center and an election poll; during World War II it served as a nursery for children of working mothers.
The Stewart Avenue United Methodist Church, built in 1921, was listed on the National Register in 1989. The church derives its significance from its architectural distinction as an example of the Beaux Arts style and its apparent attribution to a Methodist minister-architect, Rev. Charles M. Lipham (1880-1964). The church's restrained classicism and cream-colored brick veneer are in sharp contrast to the rest of the neighborhood's predominantly Craftsman influence.
"A Century of Growing with Atlanta: An Account of the Firm Adair in Real Estate and Loans, 1865-1965." Atlanta Historical Society Library.
Adair, James Barnett, M.D. "Adair History and Genealogy." 1924.
Atlanta City Directories, 1890-1929.
The Atlanta Historical Journal. Volume 26, Number 2-3, Summer/Fall, 1982.
Atlanta Historical Society Library. File "Adair Plats."
Atlanta Historical Society Library. File "West End."
Atlanta Historical Society Library. Historic maps of Atlanta and Fulton County.
Atlanta Historical Society Library. Manuscript file "Mitchell & Mitchell Land Title Abstracts."
Atlanta Historical Society Library. Topographic Atlas of Atlanta, 1928.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1884, 1904, 1957, 1977, and 1991.
Fulton County Courthouse. Deed and plat books.
Fulton County Probate Court. Minutes, Appraisements and Inventories.
Georgia Department of Archives and History. Historic maps of Atlanta and Fulton County and 1884 Probate Court Minutes.
Martin, Thomas H. Atlanta and Its Builders, Vol. 2. (Atlanta, 1902).
McAlester, Virginia and Lee. A Field Guide to American Houses. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1984. National Register of Historic Places nomination for Stewart Avenue United Methodist Church. Submitted January 23, 1989.
National Register of Historic Places nomination for George Washington Adair Elementary School. Submitted June 6, 1977.
Sanborn Map Company. Fire Insurance Maps, 1911, 1926, 1932 and 1956.
Group I (1) (2) (3)
Group II (1) (3) (6) (7) (9) (10) (11)
Group III (1) (2) (3)
The proposed nomination of the Adair Park Historic District meets the above referenced specific criteria as well as the minimum criteria for an Historic District as set out in section 16-20.004 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Atlanta.
APPENDIX 1: Chronology of Street Names
Allene 1870 to present.
Shelton 1885 to present. Previously Leonard, 1863-1885.
Hugh 1904 to present.
Lowndes 1890 to present.
Tift 1904 to present. Previously Benjamin, 1866-1870; James, 1870-1904.
Gillette 1883 to present. Previously Root, 1866-1870; Reynolds, 1878-1883.
Stewart 1908 to present. Previously Kreis, 1890-1908.
Oakhill 1905 to present. Previously Emerald, dates ?.
Bonnie Brae 1892 to present.
Pearce 1892 to present.
Elbert, Brookline, Catherine, Mayland, and Lexington 1910 to present.
Murphy 1870 to present. Previously Whitehall extended.
APPENDIX 2: House Type Definitions According to the Georgia Historic Resources Survey Manual, Georgia State Historic Preservation Section
Gabled Ell Cottage-- T- or L- shaped plan; typically gabled; entry in the recessed wing parallel to the facade; typically interior chimneys.
Queen Anne Cottage-- Square main mass with projecting gables on the front and side; no central hallway; main mass typically pyramidal roofed; typically interior chimneys.
New South Cottage-- Square main mass with hipped roof (not pyramidal) and Georgian plan (central hallway, two rooms deep), modified by one of the two front rooms projecting forward; one or two rear ells; projecting blocks are typically gabled.
Temple-front Cottage-- Long rectangular plan shape; full-width front porch recessed beneath the hipped or gabled roof; central passage or hall-parlor plan, three or more rooms deep.