The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’s Historic Preservation Division recently added 11 sites to its register of historic places, and few people will be surprised to learn that most of them are in Atlanta.
The most notable additions, perhaps, are Poncey-Highland’s revitalized Hotel Clermont and the Westside’s colossal Westview Cemetery.
Built in the early 1920s on Ponce de Leon Avenue, the eight-story Georgian Revival-style building now known for its gloriously seedy basement strip club and stunning rooftop patio initially served as apartments.
In 1939, it was transformed into a motor inn—the Hotel Clermont—and it served travelers and tourists and even some longtime residents until shuttering in 2009.
The infamous strip joint beneath the hotel rooms, the Clermont Lounge, however, has been running strong since 1968—the oldest nightclub in Atlanta—and it shows no signs of faltering.
Today, a $30 million restoration has brought the nearly century-old hotel back to its former glory—and then some. The boutique hotel’s rooftop hangout boasts one of the best skyline views in the city, and new restaurant Tiny Lou’s serves up high-end French fare downstairs.
Over on the Westside, just south of the MARTA rail line between the Hamilton E. Holmes and West Lake transit stations, the Westview Cemetery is the largest civilian cemetery in the Southeast, spanning more than 500 acres.
Founded in 1884, the historic site houses burial monuments that tell a story of the changes the cemetery has witnessed.
The cemetery showcases numerous forms of “decorative burial monuments (mausoleums, obelisks, headstones, and other markers) reflecting funerary traditions from the mid-19th century to 1976, as well as the Spanish Plateresque-style Westview Abbey (1943), a Romanesque Revival-style gatehouse (1890), and several additional buildings and structures,” according to a Department of Natural Resources news release.
Westview Cemetery also features two distinct cemetery design styles—lawn-park and memorial park—which further illustrate how landscape design trends have evolved since the graveyard’s advent.
Lawn-park style, a design movement that began after the Civil War and survived into the 1920s, looks like sprawling green space with an abundance of headstones and other effigies jutting up from the ground, whereas memorial park-style, a trend started in 1913, features monuments that are flush to the ground, according to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
Being listed on the Georgia and National Register of Historic Places does not restrict the “use, treatment, transfer, or disposition of private property,” as officials noted, but properties on the National Register can be eligible for federal and state tax incentives.
Other Atlanta landmarks recently added to the state’s historic register include the Briarcliff Plaza (home to famous Plaza Theatre and Majestic Diner); Collier-Perry-Bentley House; F.H. Ross & Company Laundry Warehouse; First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta; and the Whitehall Street Retail Historic District.