Atlanta, GA – Sitting on a high point on Peachtree, this castle (a mere 9,000 SF) was built in 1904 for Amos Rhodes – a furniture store magnate, you may recall Rhodes Furniture or Rhodes-Haverty – well, he was king of this castle. Total cost $50,000. That’s in 1904 dollars, so today it’s $1.45 million. I thought that sounded low, but inside you find that Mr. Rhodes went to lengths to cut costs in parts of the house. And yep, this is built out of Stone Mountain granite. It’s been a private home, the state archives, and a non-profit headquarters – and a haunted house too!
The historical marker outside has some good info:
They call this Romanesque Revival architecture, inspired by medieval castles on the Rhine, with a big dose of Victorian decor inside. Now the home of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, tours are offered on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
The house had state of the art features for 1904 – including over 300 lightbulbs (both gas & electric, more on that in a sec), electric call buttons, and a security system. The entrance hall is large, and the wall fixtures have 3 lights in them – 2 are electric, and 1 is gas. Remember electricity was still fairly new, so gas was a known quantity for lighting. Seeing 1 bulb out of 3 unlit set my OCD off, I was ready to go change the lightbulbs! I learned this was the gas part of the gas/electric lighting fixture.
So this was the Ga State Archives for quite some time. When they moved out they took the staircase and painted windows. Glad to see these came back home after many years. The windows along the curved staircase are painted. No. Not stained glass. Painted. They are a variety of scenes of the rise and fall of the confederacy. The hallway and staircase are quite huge, I felt like a shrimp here!
The front parlor is a historically accurate color, though I just call it PANK. Really PANK. The home is often rented out as a wedding venue, so not much in the way of furniture in here. You know it’s a big room when a grand piano looks small in it.
The dining room is just as large as you’d expect in this kind of home, with huge built ins for china and serving ware. I got sidetracked by the biggest cuckoo clock I’ve ever seen.
What’s interesting walking through this house – you see such contradictions when it was built. Really intricate mosaic work, painted windows – then you see where Mr. Rhodes cut costs, using prefab molds on some woodwork and of course much plainer trim in the family areas of the house.
Here’s a floorpan of the first floor, courtesy of the Georgia Trust (the second and third floor are Ga Trust offices etc):
When you go up to the 3rd floor, you go into the Billiard Room, which was an exclusively male domain. I always think of that game “Clue” when I hear Billiard Room. I’m looking for Colonel Mustard and a candlestick.
And yes – it’s supposed to be haunted as well. Some have stated it’s Mrs. Rhodes ghost, others say it is the children, and some say it was a caretaker. Lots of theories that I read about from multiple sources. Ghost Hunters ran a segment on this several years ago, and is hosting a Ghost Hunt Weekend THIS weekend at Rhodes Hall.
Right here in Atlanta, this one is worth a visit!