Designated: Landmark Building Exterior
659 Peachtree Street, N.E.
Located on the northeast corner of the intersection of Peachtree Street and Ponce de Leon Avenue, the Georgian Terrace Hotel once represented the northernmost expansion of the city. Recognizing the importance of these two major traffic arteries, the hotel was designed to address both streets and to create a fluid transition from Peachtree to Ponce de Leon through the use of a rounded element connecting the two facades. This effect was further enhanced by the curving facade of the Ponce de Leon Apartments on the southeast corner, also designed by W. L. Stoddart, which opened in 1913. Together, the Georgian Terrace Hotel, for many years considered the height of elegance for out-of-town-visitors, and the Ponce de Leon Apartments, one of the first high-rise luxury apartment buildings in Atlanta, form an elegant gateway for the expansive boulevard of Ponce de Leon.
The prominence of the intersection was assured with the construction of the "Fabulous" Fox Theatre in 1927, one of the largest theatres built during the height of the golden age of movie palaces.
THE GEORGIAN TERRACE HOTEL
The construction of the Georgian Terrace Hotel took place between July 21, 1910 and September 8, 1911, according to the records of the City Inspector. The ten story (148 ft. high) building, plus basement, was built at a cost of $500,000 by George C. Fuller Construction Company of New York. Joseph F. Gatins, Jr., who built the Georgian Terrace Hotel, was a native Atlantan whose father Joseph, Sr., was one of Atlanta's first residents. When the public was invited to inspect the Georgian Terrace Hotel on October 2, 1911, the Journal reported
Atlantans went by the thousands Monday evening to the formal opening of the Georgian Terrace Hotel, that rears its magnificent ten stories on the corner of Peachtree and Ponce de Leon. Probably 5000 people called between the hours of 8 and 11 to gain a first glimpse of the beautiful interior -- the outside had already been admired for months. Finished in the most exquisite style of any hotel in the south is this half-million dollar acquisition in Atlanta.
William F. Parkhurst, publicity agent for the hotel stated:
On all sides were heard expressions of approval for the quaint orchestra from Spain, in costume, and for the liveried white bell boys and maids on duty, and the general appearance of an up-to-date Fifth Avenue 'hotel beautiful', which was exemplified last night at the Georgian Terrace. This hotel marks a distinct step forward in southern hoteldom and as we expressed in our advertisements 'a Parisian hotel on a noted boulevard in a metropolitan city.'
Built of brick and marble, the Georgian Terrace Hotel was designed in the Beaux Arts style as a Southern interpretation of the Parisian hotel. Grand entries are located on both the Peachtree and Ponce de Leon facades and the street level also offers an outdoor cafe terrace, all designed for the purpose of attracting visitors.
The hotel's Peachtree facade features two-story high round arched openings set under a wide cornice, which is supported by narrow pilasters. The center of the Peachtree facade is set back, although the cornice is not, so a shallow entrance portico is created. A change in elevation takes place on the Ponce de Leon side of the building with the ground falling away to the east. The center of the Ponce de Leon facade also has a recessed element which emphasizes the Ladies Carriage entrance -- a projecting portico supported by four columns set on a rusticated arcaded base. This entrance provided access to both the main floor and the lower level of the hotel located underneath the cafe terrace.
Above the cornice of the base, both facades remain relatively simple. The operable sash windows have plain limestone sills and transoms. The primary decorative elements are balconettes which are placed at various levels and the ornamented spandrels which appear at the first story above the base and at the uppermost story. Originally, the hotel featured a prominent shed roof cornice supported by ornamented, paired brackets. This feature, which was typical of structures of the period in which the hotel was built, has been removed.
The transition between the two facades is achieved by a cylindrical tower device which is set back into the building and gives the cornice of the structure a rounded-off effect.
For many years after its opening on October 2, 1911, the Georgian Terrace Hotel was the most luxurious hotel in Atlanta. As such it played host to many prominent individuals from a variety of fields, including Calvin Coolidge when he was vice-president elect. Enrico Caruso and the Metropolitan Opera Company, during their Atlanta season, made the Georgian Terrace their headquarters each spring for several years after the hotel first opened. The hotel was also the choice for guests attending the world premiere of "Gone With the Wind" in 1939, including its two stars, Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh.
W. L. Stoddart (1869-1940) was a prominent New York architect who designed buildings in Atlanta and other southern cities (Savannah, Macon). His other works in Atlanta include the Ponce de Leon Apartments and the Connally Building in Underground Atlanta. His castle-like residence for David H. Dougherty, a leading Atlanta wholesale dry goods merchant was particularly notable. This imposing house was located at the southeast corner of Peachtree and Baker Streets until it was demolished in 1931.
Dunagan, H. Lee. "Fox Theatre District" National Register of Historic Places
Property Information Form, 1976.
Garrett, Franklin. Atlanta and Environs Vol II, Lewis Historical Publishing
Company., Inc. 1954.
Group I (1) (2) (3)
The proposed nomination of the Georgian Terrace Hotel 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.