Know any fearless, monied individuals looking for a preservation project? That’s the kind of buyer needed for Ansley Park’s Craigie House, which is currently on the market at the fire sale price of $399,900. You know the building: it’s the, um, weathered one with the four Corinthian columns sitting forlornly across from the Piedmont Driving Club. It was built in 1911 by the Daughters of the American Revolution, which still exists as a volunteer organization with membership restricted to those who can prove lineage to Revolutionary War patriots, and whose mission includes promoting historic preservation. Why then does one of their former headquarters exist in such a sad state of decay?
The answer is a triple threat of unfortunate events. First, there’s the deferred maintenance that’s been an issue since, oh, the Great Depression. Eighty years of rot and termites have taken their toll, and repairs undertaken in the 1950s might have done more harm than good. Then there’s the damage caused by a large magnolia tree that fell on the north side of the building in 1988. Not only did it cause structural troubles that still haunt the Craigie House, but the harm done to the gutters wasn’t addressed and continues to exacerbate its moisture problems. The most recent misfortune was the sale of the structure from the DAR to now defunct Inman Park Properties. The buyer was basically a real estate hoarding company that did zilch to maintain their holdings, and you can get an awesome rundown of their rise and fall with this Creative Loafing article.
So is all hope lost? The DAR House needs Money Pit-levels of repair; the absence of any dedicated parking is no small matter in a place like Atlanta; and the odd layout of the place could make re-use a challenge. But look on the bright side. It sits in one of Atlanta’s most cherished and envied neighborhoods, and two of its former Inman Park Properties brethren that sat in similar states of disrepair have attracted buyers and were lovingly restored or are undergoing restoration (the Wrecking Bar and the Castle). After decades of adversity, something's gotta give - hopefully, we're not talking about the roof.
· 1204 Piedmont Avenue [Zillow]
· History of the Craigie House [Tomitronics]
· Daughters of the American Revolution
· 2011 Places in Peril [Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation]