Atlanta Preservation Center Purchases Grant Mansion


The Atlanta Preservation Center (APC) has purchased Atlanta's most significant and endangered house, the antebellum Lemuel P. Grant Mansion in the Grant Park Historic District, and plans to restore it as its headquarters, a preservation resource center and a house museum.

The two-story, Italianate mansion was built in 1857 by Grant (1817-1893), a railroad magnate, city builder and philanthropist donated 100 acres to the city for Grant Park. Surviving the Civil War, the house was the birthplace of golf legend Robert Tyre "Bobby" Jones and was at one time owned by Margaret Mitchell, the author of Gone with the Wind who filed a lawsuit to protect it.

The Atlanta Preservation Center paid $130,000 to purchase the house and pay closing costs and moving expenses. A capital campaign to cover a $500,000 restoration of the house and a $125,000 endowment for the Grant Mansion is planned for 2003.

"This is one of those rare moments when everything has come together to give us an opportunity for a positive, progressive course of action for historic preservation in the city. We are going to tackle Atlanta's most long standing preservation problem, and we believe we are ready for it," said Boyd Coons, executive director of the Atlanta Preservation Center.

Since the 1940s, neglect and a couple of fires have taken their toll on the buff house which originally had two-foot wide walls, nine fireplaces and a ballroom. The second story is now gone, leaving part of the first floor open to the elements; its three porches were ripped off decades ago. According to Coons, there is a prospective backup buyer who has plans to demolish the remaining structure in order to build two new homes on the site.

"Most people want to know the history of the city, and this house can be used to explain how Atlanta grew through the accomplishments of L.P. Grant, who helped bring the railroad to Atlanta and make it a transportation hub," said Phil Cuthbertson, President of the Grant Park Conservancy "For the Grant Park neighborhood, it is one more indication that it has a bright future."

Boyd Coons agrees that the preservation of the Grant Mansion will help the City build its historic tourism appeal through the wide interest in history. "Antebellum Civil War, Reconstruction and New South, Margaret Mitchell, Bobby Jones - the Grant Mansion does it all," said Coons.

Mr. Coons will be provided information on APC's plans at the December 11, 2001 Grant Park Neighborhood Association meeting. There will also be neighborhood meetings to discuss the plans. Meeting times and locations will be posted on www.gpna.org soon.

For more information on L.P. Grant, visit gpna.org's History section.