Sunday, July 12, 2009

Visual Tour of 688 Peeples St in Motion

688 Peeples St in Motion:

While driving down the block of Peeples Street between Ralph David Abernathy and Oglethorpe Avenue you immediately feel as if you have stepped back in time. You notice the brick work, wrought iron fencing, and look up an see flag poles with street numbers and lantern type street lights. You are struck by the beauty of the homes and notice the lack of electrical or telephone lines ( the lines are buried so as not to obstruct your view of the historic homes). The Queen Anne Victorian located at 688 Peeples is special and deserves a closer look. The house was recently painted an inviting historic green color from the local Benjamin Moore paint store. Before entering the wrought iron gates you are struck by the beautifully landscaped gardens manicured by Lee May a life long gardener and former columnist with the AJC. You are also struck by the beautiful original stained glass that hovers over the front window and peers down from the second story.

Enter the Foyer and the see the sun tinged with the bright colors from the stained glass windows gleaming off the original heart pine floors, original staircase and pocket doors leading to the Parlor.

Next, step back in time and enter the Parlor where the soaring 10 + foot ceilings and original floors, pocket doors, fireplace mantle and tile. The home has five fireplaces that have been rebuilt and equipped with a gas burner - simply turn on and What did the original residents do in this room over 100 years ago?

Continue into the formal Dining room (or you can make this an awesome entertainment room with flat screen television mounted about fireplace) with another beautiful chandelier, period wall paper, original heart pine floors and original mantle and tile - just beautiful. Picture your next Thanksgiving dinner in this dining room.

Next, you can step into your first floor master bedroom/office or entrainment room which is across the hall from your gourmet kitchen. The Kitchen is in showroom condition and is large enough for a large kitchen table and also has the space for a beautiful sitting area or office. The kitchen appliances have been updated and you have enough cabinets to hold all of your fine china. The Kitchen offers amazing views of the rear garden and small goldfish pond. Additionally, there are new french doors which lead to a brick patio large enough for table and chairs perfect for morning coffee. Enjoy.

From the gourmet kitchen head upstairs to the second level passing the Laundry room at the first landing on the second floor. Then head up a few steps to the upstairs Upstairs Bathroom and prepare to enter a spa like environment where you may forget you are in a 100 + year old Victorian.

Then enter the large Master bedroom with another one of the five working gas fireplaces. The master bedroom will comfortably accommodate a king size bed and has plenty of natural light with two large floor to ceiling energy efficient Pela windows. Off the master bedroom is a large walk in closet with a half bathroom (keep the half bathroom or convert into an even larger walk in closet). Enjoy.

Next enter the Guest bedroom/Office and you are greeted by another one of the five working gas fireplaces and three floor to ceiling energy efficient Pela windows and beautifully restored original hardwood floors. Open the closet and see how the new closet system allows you to maximize the closet space.

Next, turn the corner and enter the Office/Guest bedroom and you greeted by an original stained glass window, a beautiful tin ceiling, floor to ceiling book shelves, another one of the five working gas fireplaces, two large floor to ceiling energy efficient Pela windows and new closet system. Picture this as a child's room, office, exercise room - the possibilities are endless.

Finally, walk out the Kitchen and enter the private bricked gardens that lead to the rear deck, small goldfish pond, trellis and secured gated parking in the rear of the home. The garden is quiet, peaceful and low maintenance. Sit on the deck and listen to the birds, smell the aroma of the fresh flowers and almost imagine you are in the North Georgia mountains - almost! Enjoy.

History of 688 Peeples ST

The Best part of owning an historic home, is well the history, and 688 Peeples has plenty. I have attached an article written by Lee May, one of 688 Peeples St.'s former owners, which details the rich history of the West End and the residence. Enjoy.
The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution

April 29, 1994 Section: HOME & GARDEN Edition: The Atlanta Journal Constitution Page: F/1
Unearthing facts about erstwhile residents ups home's allure
By Lee May

Columnist Lee May writes: Ever since we moved to southwest Atlanta's West End five years ago, Lyn and I have wondered about those who lived before us - long before us - in our home, built in 1890. What were their names? What did they do for a living? What were their favorite parts of the house? Did they entertain a lot? How long did a family stay? Was the house a one-family dwelling, or two? And what kind of gardens did they have? Like an amateur archaeologist on a fun dig, I trekked to the Atlanta History Center in search of scraps of information about the people who have lived in our house through the years.

Ever since we moved to southwest Atlanta's West End five years ago, Lyn and I have wondered about those who lived before us - long before us - in our home, built in 1890. What were their names? What did they do for a living? What were their favorite parts of the house? Did they entertain a lot? How long did a family stay? Was the house a one-family dwelling, or two? And what kind of gardens did they have?

These and a million other questions have surfaced as we've sat in this old home, eyeing the listing floors and hearing them creak when our 15-pound cat, Calvin, waddles from one of the 10 or so rooms to another.

Of course, not all these questions could be answered, but I was delighted at what I did learn at the center - with a lot of help from Tammy Galloway, manuscript archivist, who helped me leaf through pages and pages of street directories. And, as a bonus, Ted Ryan, visual arts archivist, provided me with a copy of a poster (on exhibit at the center) announcing the May 9, 1883, auction of our lot and 10 others on Peeples Street. Ours is labeled No. 9, located near the intersection with Baugh Street, now Oglethorpe Avenue.

The poster, distributed by auctioneer C.W. Adair, notes that the properties car line running down Gordon Street (now Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard), that the area had "pleasant neighbors, good water, good titles and good schools" and that the lots were "just the spots for nice, small cottages." Those attending the auction were promised a free ride on the streetcar and "a cool drink of mineral water from the celebrated Stanton Springs near by."

Terms of the sales were cash, except for one lot with an existing dwelling. That one was offered for half cash immediately, with half financed at 8 percent. So began our home. Someone bought our lot that day, or maybe later, and built a two-story Queen Anne Victorian in 1890 in West End, a suburban community that wouldn't join Atlanta until the turn of the century.

The year 1905 was the first in which Galloway and I found the house listed in the Atlanta street directory. Price E. Allison and his wife, Alice V., were the residents. His occupation was listed as "electrical supplies." By 1910 he had moved to Ivy Street and was working as a "mgr." The electrical connection made me wonder if Mr. Allison had installed any special, wonderful electrical gadgets or superwiring in the house. Or was he like so many of us who dislike doing personally what we do professionally, like the auto mechanic who never repairs his own car?

In 1906 Benjamin and Hortense Ulmer were in the house. The directory said he was editor of Southern States Publishing Co., information that resonated with the writer in me. But what did his company publish? And did he work at home? What kind of desk did he have? In which room? Did his children always interrupt him just as he was about to write that great thought that he could never quite retrieve in its original greatness? In any case, some four years later, Mr. Ulmer went on to the car business, according to the directory, working at Seldon Car Co. of Georgia.

In subsequent years, our house was home to James L. Murphy, a railroad vice president; Robert Freeman, a chief clerk at Liquid Carbonic Co.; Fred A. Raleigh, a salesman; and by 1927 Walter D. Marshall, a civil engineer, and his wife, Renee.

It was in the 1927 directory that the current Peeples Street addresses first appeared, our block having been renumbered from the 200s to the 600s. It was also at this point that I realized how many people have lived in our home. That Carole King song that asks, "Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore?" could have been written 100 years ago.

I continued to look through the names and the occupations, finding in the 1930s a Boy Scout executive and a clerk for the Federal Reserve.

Then, in 1960, I saw the ravages of time, as two women were listed, one a widow. Did she lose her husband after a long marriage, or did he die young, maybe in an accident? It may have been coincidence, but the names were the same as those of some 1920s residents, indicating that the widow and her husband may have moved and rented out the house for many years.

Local historians say time also took its toll on the houses in West End in the 1960s, wearing many of the Victorian dwellings down to a nub as absentee owners failed to keep them repaired. History continues to repeat itself.

And history continues to intrigue. What we have learned about our home has only whetted our archaeological/detective appetites. "I want to know more and more and more," Lyn said the other night, as we pored over old maps of neighborhood properties.

We are not alone. Galloway says digging for facts on residences is "a real popular thing" at the Atlanta History Center library. "A lot of people want to restore them, duplicating the original gingerbread, for instance. So they're looking for anything that will help return their homes to their heyday."

We have already fought the physical restoration wars, living through what seemed a lifetime of knocked-down walls, stripped-down floors and lowdown contractors. Thus, this quest was a spiritual one; we wanted to restore some memories. We have made a start. Color photo: In digging through old street directories at the Atlanta History Center, Lee May (left) - here with neighbor Wade Burns - learned that former owners of his West End home included a railroad vice president and an editor./ DIANNE LAAKSO / Staff
Photo: An 1883 auction poster shows the site of Lee May's house: lot No. 9.
Copyright 1994 The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution