Saturday, February 10, 2007

The House on the Hill

Yeah -- more Atlanta buildings. I'll do something else soon, but this one has been bubbling on the backburner for a while.

Most of the year, Atlanta is pretty verdant -- a thick cover of foliage lies over the city, and it hides a lot. During the few months that the greenery's gone, you see new things.

For years, I only knew "The Mansion" by the sign above, at Peachtree and North. I vaguely knew there was something there, up the hill behind the sign, but whatever was there was hidden away.

Early in January, I drove by, and for the first time ever, got some glimpse of what was there.

The Mansion's "official" name is the Edward C. Peters House, a/k/a Ivy Hall. It dates back to 1883 -- Peters was an Atlanta city councilman. Between that and its Mansion era, I'm not sure what was there, and I'm not sure when the Mansion restaurant opened (though a friend says that it was the place to go for bridal showers and proms in the '70s and '80s). It closed in 2000, not long after I arrived in the city, and has been vacant since.

Even in a state of decline, it's an impressive building. Same friend as above describes the restaurant thusly: "tourist trap, mediocre food, amazing building." It's across the street from the former Abbey restaurant (and apparently had the same owner), about which the same could be said (that, I can vouch for firsthand).

I couldn't get too close to the building due to fences -- but for once, the barricades aren't just a matter of liability. They're actually renovating the building, and it's expected to reopen as an arts center in 2008.

In Atlanta, where a lot of great buildings sit unused, that's a nice change. The Abbey, likewise, as already been reborn as a church (after, I guess, a brief period when its future was in doubt). Two classic old buildings, not being torn down, being rejuvenated. And neither of them are becoming lofts!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I actually ate here once, back in the year 2000 during a business trip. The food was actually good, but I swear the place is haunted. It wasn't just me who got that feeling, my co-workers felt it had a spooky vibe as well. It was especially noticeable in the bathrooms, the ceilings were so high, you swear someone was up there watching you. Gave me the chills.