Designated: Landmark Building Exterior
2238 Perkerson Rd., S.W.
Constructed: 1868, remodeling and addition 1930s
Located on a heavily wooded lot, the Jeremiah S. Gilbert House is one of Atlanta's oldest surviving structures and employs a distinctive building technology using field stones, mortar, and wood. It is one of the few examples of this construction type still found in Atlanta. The Gilbert House has threefold significance: first, as the home of one of Atlanta's earliest families; second, as a rare example of an exceptionally significant technology; and lastly, as a rare extant example of an Atlanta farmhouse complete with surrounding outbuildings situated on a relatively large parcel of undeveloped land.
Jeremiah S. Gilbert (1829-1932) was the son of an early settler of Fulton County, William Gilbert. William was the first physician in Fulton County and served as a member of the Georgia General Assembly in 1843. Jeremiah's grandfather, Charner Humphries, owned and operated the first- known inn in this area, the Whitehall Tavern. After acquiring 500 acres of land from his father in 1861 -- land previously owned by Charner Humphries -- Jeremiah married Sarah Matilda Perkerson, daughter of an early settler of Fulton County, who was the county's second sheriff. In 1861, Gilbert enlisted in the Third Regiment of the Georgia State Troops, one of the first Confederate companies to organize in Georgia. Upon his return from the war, he found that his first home had been destroyed by Union troops, at which time he began construction on the house that exists today. Jeremiah's son William became a prominent Atlanta surgeon and physician; son Hugh served as the tax assessor for Fulton County for twenty years; son Jeremiah Otis practiced dentistry in Atlanta; and daughter Annie Bell was a schoolteacher. The property remained in the Gilbert family until the City of Atlanta purchased it from Jeremiah's granddaughters in 1971.
The Jeremiah S. Gilbert House is a well-preserved two-story rectangular farmhouse. Its architecture reflects varying building techniques and styles that were popular when the house was first built, as well as when it was remodeled many years later.
The Gilbert House is of a concrete-like masonry and weatherboard construction. The first-floor exterior walls are constructed of fieldstone and rubble, and a mortar of clay and sand. The second-floor exterior walls are made of weatherboard. The shed-type dormer roof was added in the 1930s. The front facade of the house has been stuccoed. The porch of the front facade reflects only minor changes, with its tapered pier-columns that sit atop rectangular bases and the addition of screens.
The house has two interior end chimneys. A one-story weatherboard addition is located on the rear of the structure. A pantry and screened porch are located in the addition. Bricks surround the door and window openings. The lintels are of un-planed wood.
The house's earliest features reflect the necessity to use materials and techniques available to Jeremiah Gilbert on his farm land, due to scarce building supplies and loss in transportation and commerce during Reconstruction. Gilbert constructed the exterior walls of fieldstone and a mortar-like substance of clay and sand. He constructed the walls in wooden form twelve inches at a time until the mortar dried.
Another example of rural building techniques is found on the wooden lintels in the screened-in porch on the rear of the house. The lintels are rough, irregular pieces of wood. This is another example of how rural Georgians had to compensate due to the expense and scarcity of building supplies after the Civil War.
The Gilbert House is located on a slight rise of cleared land. Although the land is largely wooded, the area immediately surrounding the house has been cleared. Three outbuildings constructed of weatherboard are located on the property. They include a well house, a storage structure, and a garage which all appear to have been built in the 1930s.
Brunskill, R. W. Illustrated Handbook of Vernacular Architecture. New York: Universe Books, 1971.
Downing, A. J. The Architecture of Country Houses. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1969 (original published in 1850).
Draft nomination. John Culbreth, administrative assistant, Bureau of Parks and Recreation, City of Atlanta, March 20, 1979.
Draft nomination. Toni Jay Stultz, administrator, Atlanta Urban Design Commission, October 1, 1979.
Fowler, Orson S. The Octagon House: A Home For All. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1973 (original published in 1853).
Ginn, Kacy. National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination Form, 1980.
Haddow, David F. The Gilbert House. October 25, 1977.
Holly, Henry Hudson. Holly's Country Seats. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1863.
Teel, Leonard Ray. "Old House in Need of Friends, " Atlanta Journal, November 3, 1978.
Thomas, Mary Booth. "City Seeks Help to Restore House Jeremiah Built," Atlanta Journal, May 30, 1978.
Group I (1)
The proposed nomination of Gilbert 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.