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The Edward C. Peters House sits on a wooded block
NPS photograph by Jody Cook

Dominating an entire wooded block near the center of downtown, the Edward C. Peters House is the best and earliest surviving example of residential architecture from Atlanta's post-Civil War era. This house is an excellent reminder of those years when Atlanta first became a city of national importance, when Atlanta became the capital of the "New South." Edward C. Peters, son of an Atlanta pioneer Richard Peters, built the house in 1883. The well-preserved two and one-half story red brick mansion is a fine example of high Victorian architecture--featuring both Queen Anne and Shingle Style elements. The architect of the Peters House was Gottfried L. Norrman (1846-1909), a Swede, who practiced in Atlanta from about 1880 until his death. A recent study of Norrman's career reveals that he was not only an important local architect but that his work is of some significance to the general American development of this period. His late work indicates his knowledge of progressive forms and ideas stemming from Chicago School architects such as John Root and Louis Sullivan.

The Peters family were among Atlanta's founders and played an important role in the city's development throughout the Civil War, Reconstruction and the late 19th-century rebuilding boom. Richard Peters, son of a well-known Philadelphia family, moved to Georgia in 1835 as an assistant engineer on the newly organized Georgia Railroad. Richard's grandfather, Judge Richard Peters, was Secretary of War during the American Revolution; tiles around the Peters House dining room fireplace depict scenes from the exclusive Philadelphia Fish and Chowder Society founded by Judge Peters. Richard Peters had served an apprenticeship with the noted architect William Strickland, prior to arriving in Georgia. He first visited Atlanta (then called Marthasville) in 1844 and in 1846 moved here permanently. In Atlanta, Peters was involved in railroad construction and management, the primary business concern of the young city, and real estate investment. Realizing the significance the city would have as a transportation center, he suggested changing its provincial name; a business associate coined the name Atlanta and Peters backed its usage. In 1871, Peters and George W. Adair organized the Atlanta Street Railway Co., the city's first. Initially horse-drawn and later electrically powered, the rail service opened up previously remote areas to residential settlement by the city's growing middle class. Both Peters and Adair owned land at the end of these rails lines. Peters owned 400 acres of land immediately north of downtown. In 1878 his Atlanta Street Railway Company's Peachtree line carried passengers north to Ponce de Leon Avenue. By 1893, that line ran as far north as Eighth Street, traversing the entire length of Peter's property.

Upon his death in 1889, his son Edward C. Peters became trustee of the Peters estate. Edward was a civic and business leader of Atlanta. In 1890 he formed the Peters Land Company, which developed many of the family holdings. He is primarily remembered for his association with the Peter's Park development plan which included the land in the original 400-acre tract bought by his father. Peters served as a member of the Atlanta City Council and was later an Alderman. After Edward's death in 1937 the house passed on to his son Wimberly, and then to Wimberly's daughter Lucille, who lived in the house until her death in 1970. Most recently, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) received the Peters House as a donation. SCAD rehabilitated the house, and it now serves as a cultural arts and writing center for SCAD students, as well as a center where community members can gather for literary events, lectures, and concerts. The house is also open to the public for tours and may be rented for special events.

The Edward C. Peters House, now referred to as Ivy Hall, is located at 179 Ponce de Leon Ave. in midtown Atlanta. Ivy Hall is open to the public on Fridays between 10:00am and 2:00pm for tours. To schedule a group tour call 404-253-3324, and for rental information call 404-253-3206. Visit the Ivy Hall website for more information.

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