The executive director of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation calls it “extremely disappointing” that owners of Glenridge Hall were issued a demolition permit for the historic mansion.
Mark McDonald said the house should be saved for its historic and architectural value. “The house is an extensive work of architecture and is situated on beautiful setting, representing an era of Atlanta growth and prosperity in the early 20th century,” he said.
Sandy Springs city officials issued the permit on March 9.
McDonald said the Georgia Trust in October placed Glenridge Hall on its list of “10 Places in Peril” after an announcement that the property was for sale and “we felt like we had exhausted our efforts” with the owners.
Ashton Woods Homes contracted to buy the property, which sits off Glenridge Drive and is divided by Abernathy Road. Mercedes Benz has announced it would relocate its corporate headquarters from New Jersey to a tract to the south of Abernathy.
The Tudor Revival estate was built in 1929 on 400 acres of farmland by Thomas K. Glenn, a pillar of the Atlanta business community. In the 1980s, Glenn’s granddaughter, Frances Mayson, fought to preserve the property, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Mayson and her husband restored the home with the purpose of it being available to the public, and the home has been host to numerous charity functions and retreats through the years.
The home and grounds have also been used in movies like “Driving Miss Daisy” and the TV show “The Vampire Diaries.”
The home is known to represent Atlanta wealth. After the Civil War, it took about 20 years for the then-rural Sandy Springs to come back to pre-war agricultural prices.
Wealthy Atlantans began to use Sandy Springs as a get-away location, as it was still fairly difficult to reach from the city of Atlanta. Families began building mansions as showcases, with Glenridge Hall being the remaining one in Sandy Springs.
While its placement on the National Register doesn’t protect the property from demolition, McDonald said that conservation easements and other tax incentives could work as an incentive to save the property.
He suggested that the building could continue to host special events while the land around it was developed.
McDonald said he maintains a little hope that the building could be saved.
“I never doubt that people can have conversions at the last minute,” he said.