By Ann Boutwell

Picturesque Ansley Park is an ambling, eclectic neighborhood originally developed 106 years ago by Georgia native Edwin Percival Ansley (1865-1923). On Saturday, Oct. 2, and Sunday, Oct. 3, the Ansley Park Civic Association will celebrate the community and one of the South’s most celebrated architects – J. Neel Reid.

Eight of the homes and apartment buildings Reid designed in Ansley Park while working for architectural firm Hentz, Reid & Adler are on the tour. The entire neighborhood, located in Midtown west of Piedmont Park between Piedmont Avenue and Peachtree streets, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in April 1979.

About the Home Tour

The tour features six historical homes and two landmark condominiums, originally apartment buildings:

  • 218 Fifteenth Street (1911) home of Mary and Barksdale Collins
  • 17 Inman Circle, (1915) home of Susan Branch
  • 1325 Peachtree Street, Reid House Condominium (1923) Unit #103, home of George Lanier
  • 109 Peachtree Circle (1921) home of Gail and Barry Spurlock
  • 132 Peachtree Circle (1911) home of Don Easterling and Michael Proctor
  • 262 The Prado (1911) home of Bill Lowe
  • 230 The Prado (1913) home of Kathy and Pete Hendricks
  • One South Prado Condominium, The Della Manta (1917) home of Jim Borum and Quinn Brack. Residence of Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell and husband John Robert Marsh from 1939 to 1949.

About the Architect

Born October 15, 1885, in Jacksonville, Ala., Joseph Neel Reid (1885-1926) relocated at age 18 with his family to Macon, and apprenticed under architect Curran Ellis. To receive more architectural training from Willis Franklin Denny II (1872-1905), Reid moved to Atlanta in 1904. Here he met future partner Hal Fitzgerald Hentz (1883-1972) a recent Emory Oxford College graduate. Both decided that leaving the South was the only option they had to further their study of architecture.

In 1905, they enrolled in New York’s Columbia University School of Architecture, studying under beaux-arts architect Charles McKim. Future aspirations then led them to classes at Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. After a year, Reid returned to Atlanta, while Hentz remained.

By 1909, they joined forces briefly with architect Gottfried Leonard Norrman (1846-1909) forming the partnership of Norrman, Hentz & Reid. Upon Norrman’s death the firm became Hentz and Reid Architects with offices in Atlanta and Macon. In 1913, Atlanta native   Rudolph Sartorius Adler (1889-1945) joined the firm as a draftsman, becoming a partner in 1916.

Hentz described the Hentz, Reid, Adler partnership as a very harmonious one with Adler acting as the business man, Reid the creator and designer, and himself as the public relations man.

At age 40, Reid died on Valentine’s Day in1926 of a brain hemorrhage at his home “Mimosa Hall” in Roswell and is buried at Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon.
Late Atlanta historian Franklin Garrett said in his tome, Atlanta and Environs, “Indeed, no one architect wielded a stronger influence on the quality of Atlanta’s best residential area from the close of World War I to the mid-twenties than did Neel Reid.”

About the Kick-off Party

The Ansley Park Tour of Homes will have Kick Off  Party on Friday, Oct. 1, at the Piedmont Driving Club. The party is open to the public. Tickets are $125 per person for dinner, cocktails, a tour of the renovated Piedmont Driving Club and valet parking. Highlights of the evening include a special presentation by J. Neel Reid historian William R. Mitchell, and an exhibition of portraits of the Neel Reid Homes on the tour by Atlanta artist Gilbert Young. Tickets are very limited and may be purchased on the Ansley Park Civic Association website: www.ansleypark.org/tourofhomes2010.

Tour of Home Tickets

Tickets for the home tour are $20 in advance and $25 if purchased on the days of the tour. Tickets are available online at www.ansleypark.org/tourofhomes2010 and at locations throughout Midtown, which are also listed on the website. On tour dates, ticket booths will be located in the neighborhood at 15th Street at Peachtree Circle; The Prado at Inman Circle; and The Prado at Piedmont Road across from the Atlanta Botanical Garden. All “will call” tickets will be held at the 15th Street booth.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.