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Front of Tompkins House
National Register photograph by Yen Tang

The Henry B. Tompkins House and its landscaped gardens are an outstanding example of the work of Neel Reid, one of the most respected early 20th-century Atlanta architects. Totally unaltered in design and plan since its construction in 1922, the house is one of the most complete remaining examples of a Reid villa. Reid studied at the acclaimed Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and returned to Atlanta to open the noted Atlanta architectural firm of Heintz, Reid, and Adler. His work can be seen throughout the residential neighborhoods of suburban Atlanta. In the Tompkins House, Reid's mastery of scale and ability to create controlled dimensions and open space with a small volume are evident. The house reflects both the freedom with which he used elements to maintain a consistently formal tone throughout and the skill with which he provided for the practical needs of the relatively affluent lifestyles of his clients.

The design of the house was adopted from a Georgian house in Chichester, England. Its exterior is built of natural limestone and its composition is basically a hipped roof capping a center block with flanking wings. The facade of the two-story building contains little ornamentation, but is accentuated with a stone stringcourse delineating the first floor from the second, stone strip pilasters that frame the corners of the house, and a pedimented central pavilion framing the entrance. This main entrance is over scaled to make it the focal point of the house. Framed with rusticated pilasters and crowned with a broken segmental pediment and ornate cartouche, the doorway is Italianate in style. The interior is composed of a round entrance hall, rectangular stairwell and octagonal library. This central axis forms a varied geometric plan. The entrance hall, with its domed ceiling and four rounded niches alternating with its four doors, repeats the geometric pattern. The formal garden completes the villa style of the house. It is cut into the hill, walled with granite from nearby Stone Mountain, and paved in part with brick. The three granite walled sides of the garden when coupled with the house creates an intimate and private atmosphere.

The Henry B. Tompkins House is located at 125 W. Wesley Rd, in NW Atlanta. It is a private residence and not open to the public.

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