Sunday, May 3, 2009

Swan House and Atlanta History Center

Years ago when my mother came to visit us, we went to the Swan House in Buckhead and visited it. A couple of weeks ago, on a sunny day, Jim and I decided to go back to the Swan House gardens and see if anything had changed. We did not go inside the house but we saw a new museum on the grounds had been built, one of the largest history museum in the Southeast. The whole complex sits on 33 acres in north Atlanta. This house was built in 1928 by an heir to a cotton brokerage fortune, Mr. Edward Inman. His wife lived on the property until 1965 and then it was sold to the Atlanta History Center with most of its original 18th to 20th century's antiques and furnishings. The house was named the Swan House because Mrs. Inman was fascinated by these birds and had the birds represented in many rooms (wall paper, many object d'art, etc.)

The architect, Philip T. Shutze who had studied extensively in Rome, Italy, chose a classical Italian style for the house. The rear of the house is quite impressive also.

On the grounds, behind the Swan House, you can walk down a trail, come to a waterfall and little pond set in a garden containing benches
and life size metal sculptures of animals.

Continuing up the trail one arrives very shortly at the Tullie Smith Farm. This plantation house was built in 1840 and moved from nearby DeKalb County to this site. The Tullie Smith Farm consists of a farmhouse, a vegetable, herb and flower garden, a separate open-hearth kitchen, a smokehouse, a barn complete with animals, a rural pioneer log cabin and a blacksmith shop.

Click on the picture of the barn, upper right, where two sheep are eating. There are three Gulf Coast breed sheep living in this barn (one of the oldest breed in the United States). The two ewes are named Poppy and Peaches and the ram is named Napoleon.

The farm is more representative of the type of plantation houses there were in the South in that era rather than the lavish antebellum type plantations seen in the movies. The original owners of the farm, The Robert Smith Family, had 800 acres around their farm of which 200 acres were cultivated, including cotton.

Back tracking to the Swan House Gardens we walk by many Georgian indigenous wild flowers and native species of plants

and arrive at the formal boxwood gardens bordering a classical fountain.

Further still, we go around a stone elephant and keep walking along the shaded paths. It is hard to imagine that the vibrant Buckhead businesses and international restaurants and hotels are just a few blocks away.


Elaine said...

Very interesting post and beautiful photos. I love old houses and whenever we travel we try to tour as many as we can. I have never been to Georgia, so I enjoyed this post very much. Another place to add to my must-visit list!

Vagabonde said...

There is a lot to see in Georgia and I shall try to show some of the places we visit. Thanks.

Martha Z said...

A wonderful post, I love visiting old houses and gardens. I'm glad you liked the Yosemite pics. I love Sylvia's blog, there is always something to think about and enjoy.

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