Candler Park – This community of about 1,700 homes is just a few miles east of downtown Atlanta. Founded in the 1870s, this neighborhood, along with the surrounding ones were among the first “suburbs” of Atlanta. They were built along the streetcar and railroad lines, and this area was annexed by the City of Atlanta way back in 1909.
Candler Park, along with many Atlanta in-town neighborhoods, went into decline around the 1950s with the growth of suburban living. Fast-forward a few decades and the rejuvenation of this neighborhood is apparent. There’s an active Neighborhood Organization that hosts a big fall festival and tour of homes in early October.
The Smith-Benning House is considered to be both the oldest and largest house in Candler Park – and it’s fresh off a 27 YEAR restoration. Yes, 27 years of restoration to bring this house back. The pictures below will show you quite a transformation.
As I was reading up on this house, early owners of this house found it impossible to heat this place – in 1905 they built a “winter home” literally next door to their house.
Looking all the way back to 1982, this house was ready for renovation. The style is considered Victorian Eclectic – it’s got a whole lot going on. These black & white pics are from the National Register of Historic Places Nomination.
Now I gotta say, looking at that picture above, here’s exactly what came to mind!
Let’s take a look at the first floor before renovation – you get a sense of how grand this place was – I spy some pocket doors. The stairwell has a lot of Eastlake details.
Upstairs – while plaster was removed, the original woodwork was also removed and stored for restoration.
This grand house had gone into quite a decline before renovations began. Even outside, a lot of the woodwork and trim was replaced.
Fast Forward to 2015 and look at the result of 27 years of effort! Yes, the owners spent 27 years bringing this beautiful home back to life and making all the needed repairs and renovations. They received a couple of awards for this:
Atlanta Urban Design Commission Award – Historic Preservation
- Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation – Excellence in Rehabilitation
I’d give them the patience and perseverance award for sticking with a multi-decade renovation!
This is a large house on a small intown lot, so hard to get a lot of pictures between trees, power lines, the street, and whatnot! Here’s a look around the other side of the house. It keeps going and going and going….
I was so impressed with the woodwork on this house, here’s a close up of the detail on the front.
This house was originally the house of Judge Charles W. Smith (1856-1923), who was one of the founders of Edgewood (as Candler Park was originally known). He was the first mayor after it’s incorporation in 1898, and went on to the Atlanta City Council after the area was annexed by Atlanta in 1909. It was purchased by Augustus Harrison Benning in 1889, and it stayed in his family’s ownership until the 1960s. Interestingly, he was a partner in the development of Atlanta’s Flatiron Building (built 1897), which is Atlanta’s oldest remaining skyscraper. And while New York has one too – Atlanta’s was completed a few years earlier than NYC’s!
Remember how I mentioned they built a winter home across the street in 1905? Yes, that was the Benning family that did that in 1905 – quite a change from the big house above! But hey, I understand drafty old houses, though I’ve never thought to build one next door for the winter.