The Swan House in Atlanta, Georgia, built for the Inman family from 1924 to1928, is perched on the top of a hill on 38 acres of prime land. It is now owned by the Atlanta History Center. There is a staircase at the back/front of the house, that originally featured a dramatic water cascade running down the hill. The cascade was inspired by the Palazzo Corsini in Rome, which was studied by the architect, Philip Trammel Shutze, who designed the house and the gardens of Swan House.
In 1966, the Swan House was purchased by the Atlanta Historical Society, with the goal of preservation and a new headquarters for the Society. Proving to be of significant interest to the community, the Headquarters and the Swan House was turned into a museum and in 1993 the Atlanta Historical Society consolidated its property into the unified Atlanta History Center. The Atlanta History Center was one of our favorite finds while visiting Atlanta. The house has been restored to its original state, with both the interior and exterior refurbished to be historically accurate. It provides a glimpse into the society and wealth of Atlanta in the 1920’s.
First, another quick look at the outside, for those of you, who might have missed the previous post.
The gardens, around the house, were inspired by the Italian style and featured terraced lawns, stone walls and a formal motor court. Also, featured are grand lawns and small private boxwood courts.
Stone obelisks and fountains are reminiscent of Renaissance architecture and the Roman Doric columns on the portico were inspired by Duncombe Park in Yorkshire, UK. Sculptures by the entrance represented the seasons of Summer and Fall and contributed to the “Italian villa feeling,” that Mrs Inman wanted.
What made the Swan House even more special were the docents, who were first introduced to us, upon entering. We toured the house with none other than the architect himself, Philip Trammel Shutze, who never strayed from his character! Hats off to Swan House, so let’s get a move on!
Inside, there is a vestibule, a library, a morning room, a dining room, a sitting room, and an apartment in the attic. The interior decoration was a collaboration between Shutze and Mrs Emily Inman, to insure a home that was able to feature her collection of antiques, especially her fondness for Swans! I had to look very carefully to find any swans in the house now! Most of the “Mrs Inman’s Swans” have been removed, but I did find a few!
The photo is Edward and Emily MacDougald Inman in the early 1900’s. The Inmans’ were one of the wealthiest families in Atlanta. During his lifetime, which was cut short, Edward was President of the Kimball House Company, Vice President of the Atlanta Woolen Mills, and Director of the Atlanta Ice and Coal Company. In 1915 and 1924, he was elected to the Atlanta City Council. At the time of his death in 1931, at the age of 49, he was also Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners and Director of the First National Bank of Atlanta.
The Kimball House was actually a large hotel. The Kimball House was rebuilt twice after the Civil War, to replace a hotel that had been near the train depot. The first hotel was burned to the ground during the Civil War. In 1870, a newly constructed hotel, was built on the same site. The original estimate of the new hotel build was $250,000. However, the price tag turned out to be much larger at $650,000. That is when Edward Inman stepped in and purchased the hotel. That hotel had seven floors, 31 stores, 22 public rooms and 357 hotel rooms! That hotel, also burned to the ground in 1883, when a careless lemon salesman left a burning cigar.
By 1885, the Kimball House Hotel had again been rebuilt, (fireproofed supposedly) on the same site. By 1893, the hotel was given to Annie Inman, sister of Edward Inman, as a wedding present, when she married John W Grant. Now that’s MONEY!
Going into the library…….
then the sitting room……
and the dining room…….This was one of my favorite rooms! I like the plaid draperies with the floral wallpaper! And, there are a few swans too!
One of the bedrooms……..
and, Mrs Inman’s bathroom…….. Mrs Inman did not like the original marble in the alcoves of her bathroom. She had Philip Shutze tear it all out and he then featured the starry night and stars to show off the alcoves, where some of her swans were displayed!
The upstairs nursery………..
and the attic, servants quarters….. They were fortunate to have a window!
Speaking of windows, this one on the second floor, shows the front garden. At the top is the fountain where the water would have cascaded down from that balcony! There is grass there now!
I hope you have enjoyed learning a little about this historic house (listed on the National Register for Historic Places) and the life of the Inmans’ of Atlanta! Next, we will be going to the kitchens, where a housemaid will be our guide! See you there! Cady
PS I have also included this post for Thursday Doors……….Follow our leader, Dan, at No Facilities, to see doors from all over the world, or to add your doors too, look HERE!