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Burns Cottage
National Register photograph by Yen Tang

Burns Cottage, a replica of poet Robert Burns' birthplace in Scotland, was constructed by the Burns Club of Atlanta. The club was organized in 1896 as a social, literary, and memorial society and has held a celebration on the anniversary of Burns' birthday every year since 1898. In 1907 the club began an effort to obtain land and erect a "Burns Cottage" to be used as a clubhouse. A nine-acre tract of land was obtained on what is now Alloway Place. Atlanta architect and member, Thomas H. Morgan, obtained the exact measurements of the original Burns cottage in Alloway, Scotland, and prepared plans for the Atlanta replica. Construction of the Georgia granite building was supervised by Robert McWhirter, a member of the club and a skilled stone mason, and was finished in 1911. The asbestos-shingle roof with shallow eaves has gables that connect directly to the chimneys. Of the three doors on the front of the cottage, only one is used. The small windows reflect the Scottish practice of taxation, in which windows were taxed.

The low, one-story building is generally rectangular, but is slightly curved, as was the original, which accommodated the curve of the road it was built along. The interior of the house is also a close replica of the Scottish cottage, and was divided into the traditional four areas: but, ben, barn, and byre. At the far end is the but, which would have been the kitchen, dining room, and parents' bedroom. Next to the but is the ben, which would have served as the living room and childrens' bedroom. These two rooms are decorated with memorabilia from the life of Robert Burns. The assembly room, which replaces the barn and byre, is used for club meetings. The three fireplaces in the cottage are constructed of random stones with mortar joints raised and rounded. The fireplace in the center of the cottage has an inset stone plaque in memory of the poet. The only remaining outbuilding is a one-story stone caretaker's house, originally a log cabin. It was redesigned in 1969 to bear a closer resemblance to the cottage. The grounds once covered 10 acres and included a dance pavilion, barbeque pit and shed, a tennis court and putting green for club use and for rental to other groups. Changes to Burns Cottage include the rear addition of small, functional kitchen, porch and restrooms. The assembly room's original stone-flagged floor was replaced with a concrete one, a fireplace was added at the far end, and some of the small windows were closed.

Burns Cottage is located at 988 Alloway Pl. in Atlanta. It is privately owned by the Burns Club of Atlanta, and generally not open to the public. For more information please contact the club's president, Dr. James Powell, at 770-471-0725.

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