When You Own Stone Mountain, Build a Granite Mansion!


Atlanta, GA – Ponce de Leon Avenue – This granite mansion, known as “Stonehenge” was built in 1914 for Samuel Hoyt Venable, along with his sister and her family. It’s now the home of St John’s Lutheran Church, and had an opportunity a while back to take a tour. Researching the family, I learned the Samuel Hoyt Venable went into business with his brother, and the company they formed was the first to own Stone Mountain in its entirety (1887).  They also owned Pine Mountain and Arabia Mountain in the late 1800s.  Guess they liked mountain ownership, huh?  Oh, and they had 2 (yes, TWO) summer homes at Stone Mountain.  I didn’t think traffic was so bad 100 years ago that your summer home needed to be 8 miles away…


They actually quarried granite at Stone Mountain, so naturally this house is built from Stone Mountain granite.  I got thinking “hey I bet my granite foundation is from Stone Mountain too!” but no, quarry operations were stopped early in the 20th Century.

Georgia Historical Society has a neat vintage postcard of the mansion, along with the Candler mansion next door, which has also become a church.

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As we toured the house, I was struck by the sheer scale of it, which doesn’t always translate in photos.  It’s ginormous!  I was thinking “wow, I’d hate to heat and cool this place”, just one more reinforcement that I am hopelessly middle class.  I don’t think they were clipping coupons at this mansion!

We entered into the sunroom, which is now the pastor’s office.  The tile in there, with 100 years of use had a worn, but beautiful finish.  Painted ceiling beams are found in several rooms.

Another one of Venable’s sisters was a talented painter, and did paintings in a room now being used for meetings.  This was my favorite room in the house.  I called it the dining room, but was corrected.  And no, ceiling fan is not original to the room 🙂




Another impressive fireplace on the first floor, and more of the painting that his sister did.  What talent!:


One feature that reminded me of an English County House was the grand hallway just inside the front entry.  The woodwork was amazing.


Check out some more of this woodwork!



Not much to take any pictures of up on the second floor, a multitude of beds as it operates as a cold weather shelter and houses visiting groups.

Another feature that I found unusual was in the basement – the family had a summer game room that they used, that can best be described as an English Pub theme.



With the home being purchased by a church in the late 1950s, they have added an octagonal sanctuary to the front of the house.  Sounds weird, but it has been done well, and blends as much so as it can with a great old mansion.

Definitely worth a stop by here if you’re out on Ponce!






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