Perched high on a hill in Ansley Park, the Peachtree Circle Apartments don't necessarily stand out among the grand mansions of the neighborhood. With a soaring colonnade of white ionic columns, the classical building — constructed in 1914 as the Woodberry Hall School for Girls — features just 32 units and none of the swanky amenities of today's apartments. It should really come as no surprise, then, that the aging building is now listed for sale, with fears it could be demolished. Atlanta's Architecture Tourist, Terry Kearns, took to Instagram to raise awareness of the sale and suggested that a likely fate for the building is demolition. But beyond its grandeur, a tie to Tara makes this place truly unique.
While the Peachtree Circle Apartments have stood for more than a century, the 12 soaring columns have a much deeper history in the city, according to History Atlanta. Each carved from a massive Ash tree, they first supported the roof of the Leydon House on Peachtree Street. Constructed back in 1858 between Ellis and Cain streets — where 200 Peachtree, the former Davison's department store, stands today — the Greek Revival mansion housed Union Commander George Thomas during the occupation of Atlanta in the Civil War. What makes the home (and columns) particularly interesting among the many long-demolished historic mansions of Atlanta is that in Gone with the Wind, protagonist Scarlett O'Hara specifically mentions the Leydon House by name as she narrates the trip into Atlanta.
It's likely no coincidence that the home gets mentioned in the book. After all, Margaret Mitchell, the author of Gone with the Wind, attended the school soon after it opened. And it's likely that she knew the columns came from the Leydon House, as she had grown up just down the street from the mansion (which was demolished in 1913). The mansion's appearance in the novel, then, isn't all that surprising. But what is surprising is that the magnificent columns that have stood since before the Civil War, which is a major feat in a city that only has two surviving antebellum structures. Let's hope that Kearns's prediction of demolition is just a reflection of Atlanta's bad rap for preservation and that the Leydon House columns are here to stay.
· The Old Leydon House Columns [History Atlanta]
· Gone with the Wind coverage [Curbed]
· Random Pieces of Atlanta's Building History Exist Today [Curbed]