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South of Atlanta, Rare Antebellum Home Reduced to Rubble

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There are few things still standing in the greater Atlanta area that predate the Civil War — and according to the AJC, that list just got a bit shorter. The historic Wilson House, constructed in the 1850s for Judge William Wilson, is now no more than a pile of stones and wood. The home had been occupied by his decedents until the 1960s and used by a hospital, which operated on a portion of what was once a 1,200-acre estate. But, vacant and exposed to the elements for years, the stately domicile was ravaged by time and nature. Ultimately, listing on the National Register of Historic Places did nothing to protect the home from demolition (not unlike Glenridge Hall last year).

Last year, plans to stabilize the remains and create a park out of the surrounding land were announced by the Atlanta Preservation Center. But sometime this month, demolition crews finished off a job started years ago when the Wilson Home was left to decay. It's truly a loss for all Atlantans, as it embodied an important period of history and told a story we should never forget.

However, even with the loss of the building, things are generally looking up for preservation in the city with other historic structures — a Philip Shutze-designed mansion, the Bell Building and the Forsyth-Walton Building — fighting off demolition attempts. With the loss of the Wilson House, the survival of that 1830s Buckhead home seems even more incredible; though, according to the Atlanta Preservation Center, only two Atlanta-area antebellum homes remain in their original locations.

· Atlanta antebellum mansion now a pile of rubble [AJC; subscriber]
· Judge William Wilson House [Atlanta Preservation Center]