Swan House, west facade
National Register photograph by Yen Tang
The Swan House is an excellent example of the Second Renaissance
Revival style and represents the architectural and decorative tastes
of affluent citizens in the late 1920s. Built by Edward and Emily
Inman, heirs to a cotton brokerage fortune, the house was designed
by well-known Atlanta architect Philip Trammell Schutze in 1928
and decorated by Ruby Ross Woods of New York. Swan House and its
gardens are together considered Shutze's finest residential work,
in which he adapted Italian and English classical styles to accommodate
20th-century living. The house is set on a rising slope and presents
an Italian Mannerist facade complete with double stairs descending
on either side of a cascade. Baroque inspired lawns, stone obelisks
and retaining walls, and two stone fountains are other Renaissance
elements found on the grounds.
The name of the house is drawn from the swan or bird motifs that grace
many of the interior rooms. The interior of the house is as elaborate
as the exterior and features five rooms of distinction: the entrance
vestibule, the entrance hall, the library, the Morning Room and the
Dining Room. Other rooms include four bedroom areas, a sitting room,
a full basement and an apartment in the attic. Of the two impressive
exterior facades of Swan House, the west facade facing Andrews Drive
that is the rear of the house is the more impressive of the two, being
strictly Italian in derivation, although not imitative of any one
architectural monument of the past. Symmetrical in every way, the
facade has a central doorway at the top of a double winding staircase.
Heavily framed, the door is topped by a segmented pediment supported
on scroll brackets with sculptural decoration at its apex. The east
facade serves as the main entrance and is English Palladian in origin.
With its four-columned portico, it reflects the characteristic severity
of the main entrances to this style of house. In 1966, the Atlanta
Historical Society purchased the Swan House and most of its original
furnishings, which range from 18th-century antiques to 20th-century
objects. The house opened to the public in 1967.
Swan House, east facade
Courtesy of Atlanta History Center
The Swan House is located at 130 West Paces Ferry Rd. in NW
Atlanta. It is owned and maintained by the Atlanta History Center.
Tours are generally available daily from 11:00am (1:00pm on Sundays)
until 4:00pm, although during the current renovation of the interior,
these times are subject to change. Please call 404-814-4000 or visit
http://www.atlhist.org to obtain the most up-to-date tour information.