The Herndon Home
The Herndon Home
The Herndon Home is a National Historic Landmark that eloquently tells the story of struggle and achievement. It was the residence of Alonzo Herndon, who overcame slavery, sharecropping, and Jim Crow to become one of the foremost African American businessmen of his era. Owned and operated by the Alonzo F. and Norris B. Herndon Foundation, the 1910 mansion seeks to tell this compelling story to a large and diverse audience through tours, exhibits, special events, publications, school programs, and other projects.
The Herndon Home is a memorial to the Alonzo Herndon family. It was built in 1910 by Alonzo Franklin Herndon, founder of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company, and his wife Adrienne McNeil, a teacher at Atlanta University. Their son Norris Bumstead Herndon would eventually assume the presidency of Atlanta Life and with his stepmother, Jessie Gillespie Herndon, would work to ensure the family legacy. The family's phenomenal achievement was its rise from slavery in Georgia to leadership of the nation's African-American business community. Its tradition of public service and philanthropy contributed substantially to the educational, social, and cultural development of Atlanta. This building, its furnishings and family papers richly document the significance of the Herndons within the broad patterns of American history.
The Herndon Home is a National Historic Landmark, one of a small number of historic properties in America that have exceptional value in the heritage of the United States. The house was designed primarily by Adrienne Herndon and was built by African American craftsmen. The 15-room house, which is Beaux Arts Classical in style, is a fine example of upper income dwellings at the turn of the century. The interior draws upon various design traditions, including the renaissance revival forms of the reception hall and dining room, and the rococo detailing of the music room. The house contains original furnishings and those acquired later in the century by Norris, who traveled extensively in Europe and collected decorative arts for what he envisioned as a museum in honor of his parents.
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