Rhodes Hall, one of Atlanta's last remaining castles on Peachtree Street, is located just north of Pershing Point, in the vicinity of Brookwood. Built in 1904, prior to the development of Ansley Park, Rhodes Hall is one of the last remaining larger scale houses that originally lined Peachtree Street. Constructed of Stone Mountain granite in the Romanesque Revival style, it was designed by one of Atlanta's best architects for one of its richest men. Even in 1904, it was virtually one of a kind, at least for a private residence in Georgia, and is of state-wide significance for the quality and style of its architecture. Little changed from its original appearance, Rhodes Hall is an Atlanta landmark of the first order.
Between 1901 and 1906, Amos Giles Rhodes assembled an estate of 114 acres on Peachtree at Brookwood, stretching across Tanyard Creek from Peachtree and including most of the present Brookwood Interchange of I-75/85. There, in early 1902, he began construction of his great granite castle. By the summer of 1904, Rhodes Hall was complete and the family moved from the old property on S. Pryor Street to Rhodes Hall which they called "Le Reve."
Generally described as Romanesque Revival in style, Rhodes Hall is virtually unparalleled in Georgia. Very few residential structures were ever built in this style of architecture and Rhodes Hall is this state's best example. The sheer expense of construction that required massive amounts of masonry usually limited the Romanesque styles to ecclesiastical, civic, or commercial buildings. Moreover, by the time Rhodes demanded of Willis Franklin Denny II, the architect, a Rhineland castle on Peachtree, inspired by Rhodes' trip to Europe in the late 1890's, the style was already out of fashion. Rather than copying the Richardsonian Romanesque of the 1880's, however, Denny and Rhodes created a special example of the Victorian Romanesque Revival, taken from original medieval Romanesque sources and adapted for use as an early 20th century house. Out of fashion or not, Rhodes' new house was an instant success in the Atlanta papers and social scene. In fact, one author has said that "in the war of wealth and opulence waged along Peachtree Street at the time, it can probably be said that Amos Rhodes' fortress won hands down."
The interior of Rhodes Hall is one of the finest intact expressions of late Victorian architectural design in the city. The grandest feature of the interior is a magnificent series of stained and painted glass windows above a carved mahogany staircase. Executed by Von Gerichten Art Glass Company, winners of four gold medals at the St. Louis Exposition in 1904, the series depicts the rise and fall of the Confederacy, from Fort Sumter to Appomattox, and includes medallion portraits of over a dozen Confederate heroes. Certainly one of the most unusual Confederate memorials anywhere, its inclusion in a private residential building exemplifies the depth of feeling for the "Lost Cause" which survived as the old heroes passed on.
Wired for electricity when it was built, Rhodes Hall is a prime exhibit of the fascination that new technology held for Atlantans at the turn of the century. Over 300 light bulbs lit the house, producing a blaze of light that must have been astounding in 1904. The house also included electric call buttons in most rooms, as well as a security system.
Following the deaths of Mrs. Rhodes in 1927 and A. G. Rhodes in 1928, their two children, J. D. Rhodes and Mrs. L. O. Bricker, deeded the house and just under an acre of the original estate to the State of Georgia. Included in the deed was a restriction that the property could only be used for "historic purposes." In 1930 the building opened as the home of the State Archives and continued as such until completion of the present Archives on Capitol Avenue in 1965, when Rhodes Hall was designated the Peachtree Branch of the Archives.
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