Once upon a time, in 1904, when Decatur was but a wee city of about 2,000 people and Sycamore was its main street, a house was built at 845 Sycamore. The six-bedroom, four-bathroom house, which is newly listed at $950,000, was known locally as the "Red Cross House" because it served as the Red Cross headquarters from just after World War II until 1970 (behold the "Blood Donor" sticker on the front door). When MARTA came to town in 1975, it needed the land the house was sitting on for its rail lines. Andy Bailie of RE/MAX Metro Atlanta Cityside tells Curbed Atlanta that MARTA bought the then-vacant house under eminent domain. The railroad was a'comin'. Choo choo...
Decaturites were not exactly feeling the idea of taking down 70+ year old homes and went to work getting the area listed on the National Register of Historic Places. MARTA agreed to spare the Red Cross House as well as the ominously named Death House (the moniker stems from the name of the family who lived there rather than some horrific past) and the Mahaffey House and to build a stone wall to act as a visual and acoustic barrier between the trains and the historic homes.
According to Bailie, the Red Cross House was then sold at auction for $16,000 and moved, board by board, up the street by a former owner, who lovingly reconstructed it at its new 737 Sycamore St. location over the course of 16 years. Today, the 3,954-square-foot home includes eight fireplaces, original maple flooring and 12-foot ceilings on both levels. The Death House was also moved, from 719 Sycamore to 813 Sycamore, where it stands today. As part of the agreement, MARTA donated any extra land to the City of Decatur. It became Sycamore Park and Bailie notes that the steps leading into the park were once the steps to the Red Cross House.
· 737 Sycamore Street [Zillow]