A collectible book marks Georgia Trust’s golden anniversary.
Next year, the Georgia Trust will celebrate 50 years of supporting the state’s architectural history. For President and CEO Mark McDonald, the timing is right to produce a book highlighting the best examples of buildings from colonial days to the early 2000s. But unlike other retrospectives, this book will have a distinct difference.
“A lot of these books say, ‘This house was demolished in 1947,’” he says. “This book will feature all existing buildings, so people can go see them for themselves.”
A committee of writers is assembling the details with the goal of publishing next year. They’ve been sifting through the archives and verifying the existence of properties that represent the best in their eras, be that Greek Revival, Italianate, Victorian or early 20th century.
Titled “Architecture of the Last Colony: Georgia’s Historic Places,” the book also reflects on Georgia’s status as the last of the original 13 colonies to become a state. “We were the youngest, but we’ve grown to be one of the leading states of the South and U.S.,” says McDonald. “And in terms of architecture, Georgia is a rich place.”
Some of the featured structures are prominent Buckhead landmarks: the Dickey House, 456 W. Paces Ferry Road; the Alexander House, 2322 Mt. Paran Road; the Calhoun House, 3418 Pinestream Road; and the Buckhead library, 269 Buckhead Ave. But the book goes beyond houses and buildings.
“The last chapter will be about landscape architecture and urban design,” says McDonald, who has recruited Buckhead resident and noted landscape architect Spencer Tunnell to pen that chapter.
“Landscape is so often ignored or invisible,” says Tunnell. “But if you think about it, it’s the connective tissue that unites these historic buildings. They sit within a landscape fabric or context that you cannot divorce them from. I’ve always looked at the two together ever since I was a child.”
Growing up near Collier Mill and Howell Mill roads, Tunnell has vivid memories of visiting his grandmother on Old Ivy Road and driving by one West Paces home and landscape created by the famous Swan House architect Philip Shutze.
“The 1929 Goodrum house is still one of the most remarkable achievements in the field of design that has ever happened, probably in the state,” says Tunnell. “One thing that makes it so remarkable is the unity of the vision Shutze brought from the house through the plantings.”
The landscapes Tunnell plans to highlight will be ones “you can see, feel and touch,” he says, as well as a few gems few people might not know about. “One surprising place is the Hofwyl-Broadfield former rice plantation near St. Simons. It’s one of the last remnants of rice agriculture in Georgia that most people don’t know about. The setting of the house overlooking the marshes where rice was once harvested is stunning.”
The Trust is raising funds to publish the book in partnership with University of Georgia Press. The goal of $125,000 will print 2,500 copies of the 600-page work that will sell for $60. McDonald is confident he’ll have a best-seller and a second printing. Meanwhile, for a significant donation, patrons can have their names in the book and receive signed copies.
THE GEORGIA TRUST
Photos: Diane Kirkland
Atlanta-based writer and editor contributing to a number of local and state-wide publications. Instructor in Georgia State’s Communication department and Emory’s Continuing Education division.