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This is part of a series of historic structure reports on the historic architecture of Georgia and the Southeast by Tommy H. Jones. It is posted here for educational purposes only and may not be used or reproduced for commercial purposes or without the express permission of the author.

 

 

 

Google Earth map of Inman Park, annotated to indicate location of Joel Hurt House.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 1. View of Hurt Cottage around 1980, when the Sequoia semperverins planted by Hurt had not yet been damaged by extreme head, drought, and cold in 1981 and 1982.

 

The Hurt Cottage, one of the oldest structures in Inman Park, is one of a very few Reconstruction-era buildings in the city, although there are surely many more than are known. But it, like the Hammond House and the Wrens Nest in West End, evolved out of a house that had been constructed in the decade after the Civil War. As the city’s economy boomed in the 1880s, all three of these houses were greatly enlarged and underwent major remodeling that hid but never totally obliterated the original buildings. In the history, both documentary and physical, of the Hurt Cottage echoes the history of the city, from the turmoil of Reconstruction to the prosperity of the New South and early twentieth century, through the decayed gentility of the mid-twentieth century and the restorations that began as the house entered its second century.

 

James and Mary Elizabeth Hurt Jones

Figure 2. Detail from "Map Illustrating the Siege of Atlanta...," drawn in the summer of 1865. Land Lots 14 and 15 occupy approximately the middle third of this image. The small black square to the left of "Col. Howard" marks the location of the Augustus Hurt House. The small square on the road running above that name could mark the location of the Jones' house in Land Lot 15.

 

Figure 3. Postcard view of a portion of Atlanta’s Cyclorama, showing the fierce fighting around Troup Hurt’s unfinished house during the Battle of Atlanta in July 1864. Twenty-five years later, Atlanta’s first garden suburb, Inman Park, would be developed on the land visible in the background in this image. (Personal collection of author)

Some of the earliest settlers in the area encompassed by today's Inman Park were James Vickers Jones (22 April 1812-24 May 1879) and his wife Mary Elizabeth Hurt (28 May 1824-24 June 1882) who, some time after their marriage in 1843, established a farm along the Georgia Railroad about half way between Atlanta and Decatur. Mary Elizabeth Jones was a first cousin to Joel Hurt II (1813-1861) whose son and namesake developed Inman Park in the late 1880s. Jones himself was a son of Henry Phillip and Sarah Vickers Jones of Birdsville, the family's plantation near Millen in southeast Georgia.

When the Federal census was taken in 1850, the Joneses and their two children, Joel, age seven, and Henry, age four, were enumerated in the Blackhall District of DeKalb County. James Jones listed his occupation as "farmer" and claimed $2,000 in real estate, but he also owned at least eight slaves who must have been working the farm. There were also another twenty-nine slaves on at least two farms that Jones appears to have owned in Burke County, probably in the vicinty of Birdsville.1 Located on the Georgia Railroad, the Jones farm in DeKalb County included the 202½ acres in Land Lot (LL) 15 and 140 acres north of the Georgia Rail Road in LL 14, which they bought in 1852.2

James Jones' father died in October 1853, and the following August, James Jones sold 100 acres in LL 14 to Mary Elizabeth Hurt's brother George Troup Hurt (1825-1901), although Troup Hurt appears not to have moved to Atlanta until later. In 1856, Jones sold all of LL 15, "being the place of farm upon which the said James V. and Mary E. Jones now reside," and the remaining 50 acres of LL 14 north of the railroad to another brother Augustus Fletcher Hurt (1830-1921).3 The Joneses apparently moved back to Burke County, where they were enumerated along with 66 slaves in the 1860 census.

On July 22, 1864, the Jones and Hurt farms became the site of some of the fiercest fighting during the Battle of Atlanta, one of three great battles fought around the city that July. Several historical markers in Inman Park, including one in Springvale Park and one in Delta Park, outline some of the details of that terrible afternoon. Joel Hurt’s older brother Elisha Fletcher Hurt fought under General Hood and was wounded in the fighting at Leggett’s Hill, a mile or so to the south of his cousins’ houses along the railroad. General Sherman used Augustus Hurt 's house as his headquarters that day. According to Franklin Garrett, the house, which was misidentified in some records as the "Howard House," was subsequently destroyed for fire wood and to build shelters for the troops. Troup Hurt's new brick house, which would later become the focal point of the great Cyclorama of the battle, stood unfinished facing the Decatur Road (now DeKalb Avenue near present-day Degress Avenue). Heavily damaged in the fighting, it was finally burned five days later. The location and fate of the house in LL 15 that the Joneses sold in 1856 is unknown.

 

Joel Hurt

Augustus and George Troup Hurt were prominent cotton brokers in Atlanta in the 1860s and early 1870s and are listed as residents of Edgewood until the middle 1870s. Augustus Hurt moved to Gordon County, where he died in 1921. Although Troup Hurt rebuilt his summer home at Edgewood, by the 1880s, he had relocated to Cobb County, Georgia, selling part or all of his property to his brother John W. Hurt. Their bachelor brother Henry Hurt and their thrice-married sister Priscilla Hurt Hudson also moved to Edgewood after the Civil War. In addition, James V. and Mary Elizabeth Jones also returned to Atlanta after 1870, perhaps when she inherited property from her brother Henry in 1872. All of them, including Henry, appear to have had houses along and to the north of the railroad in LL 14 in the late 1860s, but it is not clear which one of those houses survives at the core of the present Hurt Cottage.

The core of the present Hurt Cottage appears to date to the early Reconstruction period, since there is no historical documentation to suggest a construction date before the Civil War. Traditionally, the house has been attributed to Elizabeth Hurt Jones, who as a widow sold the property to Joel Hurt in 1882. It was probably built by the Joneses when they returned to Atlanta in the early 1870s, although it could have been part of Mary's inheritance from her brother Henry in 1872. In either case, the house was almost certainly built in the late 1860s or early 1870s.

Originally oriented toward the Decatur Road (now DeKalb Avenue) and the Georgia Railroad, the original house was a substantial, wood-framed structure set on brick piers. On the interior, there were two rooms on either side of a wide central hall that ran through the house and two internal chimneys serving the fireplace that was present in each of the four main rooms. The house had a flat-topped and hipped roof, similar to the mansard roofs that were popular during the period but with the dormers that were typical of the true mansard replaced by two small, front-facing gables along with a side-facing gable at the rear of each side. The style of the house, which was covered with clapboard, painted white, might be typified as Italianate, a style that was especially popular in the 1860s and early 1870s. Some of the pairs of cornice brackets that were typical of the Italianate remain on the house.

In the 1870s, as Atlanta continued to grow, the Georgia Railroad served as a sort of commuter line for the city, with "whistle- stops" at Edgewood and Kirkwood. These communities were home to several prominent people in addition to the Hurts. Both General John B. Gordon and Senator Alfred H. Colquitt, two of the state's most important politicians in the 1870s and 1880s, had imposing mansions along the railroad near Edgewood and Kirkwood. In 1878, a new post office was established at Edgewood to serve the growing population. Incorporated in 1898, Edgewood was annexed into the city ten years later.

The Hurts' holdings in LL 14 and 15 benefited from the popularity of this early suburb of Atlanta. In the early 1870s, Augustus Hurt took advantage of the situation and subdivided his holdings into at least twenty-two lots. Deeds refer to Hurt Avenue (possibly present-day Moreland Avenue, although it was more usually designated County Line Road), King Street, and First Avenue along the old Turnpike Road to Decatur. It is likely that parts of present-day Washita, Colquitt, and Austin (east of Euclid) Avenues were originally laid out as part of Augustus Hurt's subdivision of his old farm at that time.

Joel and his brother Fletcher, both trained civil engineers, had spent the early 1870s surveying new railroads in the West. Deeds refer to a plat that Joel Hurt made for Mary Hurt Jones in 1872 and, by 1875, they had settled in Atlanta where they quickly became active in real estate and insurance. Joel organized the Atlanta Building and Loan Association that same year, Atlanta's first successful venture of its kind and builder of over five hundred houses in the city.

Joel Hurt's extraordinary career has been documented elsewhere and includes, in addition to Inman Park, a list o firsts that is quite long. Attributed to Hurt are the city's first skyscraper, the old Equitable Building (1891, demolished 1971); its first electric streetcar line, which made its first run to Inman Park in the summer of 1889; and the South's first fireproof theater, the Atlanta Theater (1911, demolished 1954). A charter member of both the Atlanta Athletic Club and the Piedmont Driving Club, Hurt was also first president of the Trust Company of Georgia (1893-1904) and the developer of Druid Hills (1904). The Hurt Building (1913-1926), which was the city’s tallest building until completion of the Rhodes-Haverty Building in 1929, capped off a remarkable career of over fifty years that left an indelible mark on the city. Hurt Park, downtown Atlanta’s first public since the 1860s, was created and named in his honor in 1939.

Figure 4. Advertisement for auction of lots in Inman Park, 1889. (Atlanta Constitution)

 

Figure 5. View southeast of Springvale Park, with Hurt Cottage visible at upper left. (Atlanta History Center)

 

Figure 6. Detail from photograph in Figure 7 showing Hurt Cottage as viewed from the northwest after the additions and alterations in the 1880s.

 

Figure 7. Drawing of the Hurt Cottage, viewed from the southeast, published in the Atlanta Journal in 1890.

 

Figure 8. View of the Hurt House on Elizabeth Street at Euclid Avenue, c, 1910, designed for the Hurts by W. T. Downing and completed in 1903. (Vanishing Georgia Collection)

 

Figure 9. Joel Hurt and his family on the front porch of their new house on Elizabeth Street, c. 1910. (Vanishing Georgia Collection)

 

Figure 10. Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1911, showing Hurt’s old house, with its servants house in the rear yard.

 

Figure 11. Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1932 after the Gould House next door to the Hurt Cottage had been replaced by a "miniature golf course."

The land transactions leading up to the development of Inman Park are extremely complicated but it appears that Joel Hurt bought forty-three acres on what would become the eastern side of Inman Park from John W. Hurt, another of Mary Hurt Jones’ siblings, in 1875.4 The 1876 City Directory lists Joel Hurt’s residence simply as “Edgewood” and he was probably living with one of his several relatives then residing in Edgewood, perhaps with the Joneses.

James Vickers Jones died in May 1879 and was buried in the Hurt-Jones plot in Oakland Cemetery. The next year, Elizabeth made her will in which she distributed her “property comprising my house in Edgewood, Fulton County, Georgia, and my personal property now in possession of my sons on their plantation in Burke County, Georgia.” She left her house in Edgewood, “with everything on the premises,” to her unmarried son H. Phillip Jones, in trust for the children of her other son J. Hurt Jones or, if Phillip should marry, in trust to any children he might have. Naming her sons as executors of the will, she gave them authority to sell the property at any time, provided that the proceeds of the sale were returned in trust for her grandchildren.5

Although it has been thought that Hurt purchased the house and much of the land that became Inman Park from his cousin Mary Elizabeth Hurt Jones, the only recorded purchase was that of a small parcel on the west side of Elizabeth Street for which he paid Mrs. Jones $80 in May 1882.6 However, Hurt was probably already laying his plans for the development of Inman Park and Asa Candler may have only been helping finance the purchases when he acquired the bulk of “the Mary E. Jones Home Place of Edgewood” on 5 June 1882.

The deed mentions that the property was “defined by the plat and survey made by Joel Hurt, C. E., in 1872,” but no such plat and survey have been located. However, Hurt’s 1891 plat of Inman Park does outline the boundaries of the tract, overlaid by the lot lines of his new subdivision. Although the house is not located on existing plats, it was probably originally sited near the middle of the DeKalb Avenue frontage of the property and set back from the road, perhaps where Edgewood Avenue now runs between Elizabeth and Hurt Streets.7

Elizabeth Jones’ death may have been anticipated, although she was only 58 years old. She died on 24 June 1882, less than a month after she sold her old house at Edgewood. She is buried in Oakland Cemetery next to her husband and near her bachelor brother Henry, who died in 1872 and from whom she inherited some of her property. It is not known who, if anyone, occupied the Jones house after Elizabeth’s death. Since Hurt continued living on Spring Street near downtown for several more years, the house may have sat vacant after Elizabeth’s death.

In 1884, Hurt organized the East Atlanta Land Company, which would be the vehicle for development of the property. By 1887, his plans for development of the property were beginning to gel and, in June of that year, he transferred title of the land that he had assembled through Candler and others, including the old Jones house, to the East Atlanta Land Company, the majority shares of which were owned by his wife and himself.8

According to family tradition, Hurt moved the old Jones house to face a new street that he named in honor of his cousin--Elizabeth Street, which would be at the heart of his new subdivision. After remodeling the house, he and his family moved from their old house on Spring Street in 1887 so that he could more closely supervise the development of Inman Park.9

The earliest images of the Hurt Cottage appear in the Atlanta Journal sketch in February 1890 and in a photograph of Springvale Park taken about the same time. These show the house as it appeared not long after Hurt had remodeled the old Jones house. The images are another indication, confirmed by the variability of the character of the existing building’s materials, that Hurt’s remodeling in the late 1880s was only the first of two major remodelings that have increasingly obscured the original Jones house.

In many ways, Hurt’s remodeling was similar to that which transformed two contemporaneous houses that survive in West End--Joel Chandler Harris’ Wren’s Nest and what is now known as the Hammond’s House. In 1884, architect George Pharis Humphries remodeled and greatly enlarged George Muse’s old two-room house (c. 1867) for Harris and he is also thought to have been the architect for Malcolm Johnston’s remodeling and expansion of the Hammond’s House (c. 1872) about the same time. Contemporaneous with Gottfried Norrman’s house for Edward Peters, which still survives in Midtown, these remodelings produced some of the city’s first high-style Queen Anne architecture. The result in all three cases was the transformation of smaller, simpler houses by expansions and alterations using recycled materials and the addition of Queen Anne style architectural features.

In 1904, Hurt completed and occupied a new house, a magnificent Italian Renaissance Revival mansion designed by W. T. Downing at 167 Elizabeth Street. The old house at 117 Elizabeth disappears from the city directories in 1905 and was presumably vacant for a year or two after the Hurts moved into their new house.

 

The Carltons

On 18 July 1906, James Ethelbert Carlton paid the East Atlanta Land Company $6000 for the old Jones-Hurt house, the title for which appears to have remained with the Land Company until that time.10 Carlton was not a stranger to Hurt; his wife, Louise Apperson Hurt, was the eldest daughter of Joel Hurt’s brother Dr. Charles Davis Hurt, who lived nearby on Delta Place. A prosperous merchant and owner of Carlton Shoe Company, Carlton was probably responsible for the early twentieth century remodeling that is apparent in the existing house.

After the original covenants that governed Inman Park’s early development expired in 1910, the neighborhood began to decline as the sort of elite residential suburb that it was in the 1890s and early 1900s. By 1914, the Carltons had moved out of the old Hurt Cottage.

 

After WWI

By the 1920s, the large houses that characterized the early years of Inman Park were beginning to be  subdivided or lost all together. Izwald Gould’s magnificent marble-faced mansion, next door to the Hurt Cottage but facing Edgewood Avenue, was lost during this period and, by 1932, was the site of a miniature golf course.

Changes to the house were minimal after that time. A bathroom, since removed, was added in the back hall, probably in the 1930s or 1940s but, otherwise, the house went into genteel decay along with the remainder of the neighborhood. The Hurt Cottage was one of the earliest houses to be renovated during the revival of interest in the historic neighborhood that occurred in the late 1960s and 1970s. About 1974, the house was purchased by Mimi and John Soper who, over the next few years, undid years of neglect and decay. Their treatment of the house was characteristic of the period and included some restoration of lost features as well as reconfiguration of the historic floor plan, especially at the rear of the house, to accommodate additional bathrooms and a modern lifestyle.

Today, with the exception of some regrettable losses at the rear of the house, the Hurt Cottage still retains most of its significant historical features. While it no longer appears as it did when the Hurts lived there, much less as it did when the Joneses started over after the Civil War, the house still retains important features from both these eras along with the magnificent early-twentieth century features that dominate the interior. Because of its associations with Joel Hurt, his family, and the early development of Inman Park, the Hurt Cottage must rank as one of the city’s great historic architectural resources.

 

Chronology of Building Development

Like many historic houses, the present house reflects a series of remodeling, additions, and other alterations that has brought the building into the modern era. The house that James and Mary Hurt Jones built shortly after the Civil War was enlarged and remodeled by Joel Hurt around 1887, and remodeled again for Hurt’s niece and her family in the early twentieth century. A bathroom was added to the back porch in the 1930s or 1940s, and there were major modern additions and alterations at the rear of the house beginning in the 1970s.

 

James and Elizabeth Hurt Jones House, ca. 1870

Figure 12. Reconstructed roof, floor framing, and floor plan of house as it was originally constructed, c. 1870.

Joel Hurt is thought to have relocated the old Jones house to face Elizabeth Street about 1886, although that is not certain. Today’s Elizabeth Street appears to have evolved from a much older road, and it is quite possible that the house sits on its original site. The original house that James and Elizabeth Hurt Jones built around 1870 was a one-story, wood-framed house, probably set on an open system of brick piers. It measured approximately 43' side-to-side and 37' front to back. The house consisted of two equally-sized rooms about 16' x 16' on either side of a 10'-wide central hall that ran the depth of the house. There was a closet on one side of the fireplace in each room.

The house almost certainly had a front porch and, off the rear, there would have been some sort of porch and/or breezeway connection to a separate, detached kitchen building. Original fenestration is unclear but may have been little more than a single large double-hung window in the center of the outside walls in each room. Most of the original floor, roof, and exterior wall structure of the Jones house remains in place, although few, if any, original openings have survived and most of the original interior walls have been moved or rebuilt. Of the interior dividing walls, only parts of the north wall and the rear (east) end of the south wall of the original central hall may remain intact.

The existing bedroom, closet and bath at the rear of the house are part of a separate structure that appears, however, to be contemporaneous with the original Jones house, although its structural details are somewhat different. Featuring a hipped roof of its own until the 1970s, this small structure appears to have been a part of Hurt’s 1880s remodeling of the house and may have been an earlier building that was relocated along with the main house. The existing 4-over-4, double-hung windows that survive in these rooms are typical of the Reconstruction period, although three or four of the individual window sash appear to have been replaced at some point since the muntins differ in their profile. Similar windows may have been used in the original Jones house but none have survived.

The main roof of the house is hipped to a large flat roof at the top that may have been originally covered with metal. Three of the four small gables that were a feature of this original roof remain in place and were finished with the same bracketed cornice that was used on the rest of the house. Some of this cornice survives elsewhere on the house and it also survives, minus its brackets, in the attic behind the east end of the porch that was added to the front of the house in the 1880s.

Some of the existing exterior woodwork dates to the 1870s, including parts of the bracketed cornice around the house and most of the two rear (originally front) gables. Some of the siding is original as well, mostly above the windows. Some of the original brick may also have been reused in the subsequent remodelings of the house.

It is not clear how much of the original (c. 1870) interior finishes has survived. All of the original woodwork appears to have been replaced, although the three 4-panel doors (with their spindle-top hinges and rim locks) in the basement are typical of the period and could have been reused from the original house. At least some of the interior of the original house was plastered, as evidenced by the plaster-stained studs used in some of the 1880s additions, but much of the original plaster was lost during the the 1880s and early 1900s remodelings. The original wide-board, pine floors survive beneath the early 20th century flooring in the living room, dining room, and hall as well as in most of the rear bedroom, closets and baths.

 

Joel Hurt’s “Cottage,” c. 1887

Figure 13. Reconstructed floor and roof plans of house as it was remodeled by Joel Hurt in 1886.

It appears likely that, when Hurt moved the house and reoriented it to Elizabeth Street, he oriented the original front gables to the rear. The original back of the house, where there would have been porch and kitchen connections and no gables, was then rebuilt with the Queen Anne porches, gazebo and octagonal room that characterized Hurt’s remodeling. In the changes to the attic framing, there is clear evidence of Hurt’s reuse of building materials from the original Jones house.

Having moved and turned the house to face Elizabeth Street, Hurt created an entirely new front facade by adding an elaborate gabled front porch with a round, conical-roofed gazebo and porch wrapping the southwest side of the house. The 1890s images indicate that these porches had turned columns, a decorative frieze, and bannisters that, along with the shingled gables, gave the house much of its Queen Anne style.

On the north side of the house, Hurt created three rooms where there had been two by moving walls and expanding that side of the house toward the front. Although Hurt rebuilt the chimney between the two rooms on the south side of the house, the changes on the north side necessitated three additional fire-places and two chimneys in new locations. Because of the numerous changes, the original flooring was replaced on the north side of the house during this remodeling. Although the newspaper sketch appears to indicate a square parlor at the northwest side of the house, the 1890 photographs shows that the parlor was actually the existing parlor with its octagonal roof.

Hurt may not have replaced many of the original windows in the house, although fenestration is not clearly evident in the 1890s images. In his new octagonal parlor at the front of the house, he may have installed the Queen Anne windows with small diamond panes (approximately 4-3/4" sqaure) in the upper sash and a single large pane in the lower sash and, if he did, the upper sash was probably originally glazed with colored glass, similar to the sash that were used at the Wren’s Nest. Differences in the size of the panes indicates that all of the present sash may not have been installed at the same time.

The 1890s photographs also shows that Hurt moved the old Jones kitchen, too, since the framing and flooring of the rooms there appears to be contemporaneous with the main house. He connected this building to the northeast side of the house by a short hyphen and renovated it for his own kitchen. Below it, and apparently reached by internal stairs, were two rooms, both with stone floors and which were probably used for laundry and cool storage. Along the south side of the kitchen wing and across part of the rear of the house was an L-shaped porch, featuring slender, octagonal columns that were most likely reused from the original house.

Finally, Hurt constructed a small room off the southeast corner of the dining room, perhaps for use as a bath room. Outlined on the 1911 Sanborn map, this room was connected to the dining room by a door opening whose outline is visible in some of the slides taken in the 1970s (see “DR Renovation, Jan-Feb 1975”). Also visible in some of those slides is stenciled decoration, uncovered when the walls were stripped and appearing to date to the 1880s.

 

Carlton House, c. 1906

Figure 14. Reconstructed floor plan of house as it was remodeled by the Carltons around 1906.

Since no documentary evidence has come to light that would allow precise dating of changes that were made to the house after the 1880s, stylistic and material clues are the best clues for establishing a time line for the building’s evolution after that time. It is believed that Hurt altered the house to accommodate his growing family but it is not clear what those alterations might have been, since the only major changes in the floor plan appear to have occured after the turn of the century.

By the time that Carlton acquired the house in 1906, architectural fashion had changed and second remodeling of the house reflects that change and indicates that it occurred in the early twentieth century. There was little building activity in Inman Park after the Panic of 1893 until shortly after the turn of the century and,

by then, many home owners found the elaborate exterior woodwork that was one of the hallmarks of the Queen Anne style to be difficult to maintain, besides no longer being in fashion. It was not unusual, then, for Carlton to have removed the Victorian porch features, including the original wood-framed floor, and replace them with a concrete porch floor, open terrace, and plain round Colonial Revival columns. In addition, Carlton replaced what were probably plain sash from the 1870s and 1880s with the existing diamond-pane windows which match the 1880s diamond-pane sash in the parlor although at a slightly larger scale. These changes gave the cottage a more fashionable appearance at a time when the west side of Elizabeth Street was being built up in mostly Colonial Revival and Craftsman style houses.

On the interior, Carlton removed part of the east wall of the central hall to create the sort of open “living room” that by then had replaced the old-fashioned idea of parlors.  He also removed the fireplaces and closets between the new living room and the dining room and replaced them with a wide opening closed by folding doors. Earlier plaster was repaired but new stained-and-varnished woodwork replaced was installed in both rooms along with a beamed ceiling in the living room which, unlike many such ceilings of the period, may actually have had a structural purpose where the wall was removed from the front hall. Finally, all of the original (c. 1870) flooring in these rooms was covered by the existing thin (approximately 1/4") strips of oak flooring.

It was probably at this time (although Hurt himself could have made the change) that the bedroom behind the parlor was enlarged. This required a new foundation and the break in the 1880s foundation when the room was expanded is clearly evident in the foundation below. The north- and south-facing windows were added at the same time but the Roman-arched gable vent and paired brackets (both of which were features of the earlier house) appear to have been reinstalled in the expanded gable.

 

“The Hurt Cottage,” after World War I

Subsequent changes to the house were not radical as property values slowly declined after 1910. However, by 1932, the small room off the northeast corner of the dining room had been replaced by the present kitchen building. Except for the evidence in the Sanborn  maps, the kitchen might be thought to have been part of Hurt’s 1880s house, but that is not the case. The 1911 Sanborn map does not show the present kitchen but it does show what was probably a servants’ house along the northwest side of the property.

The 1932 Sanborn map shows a servant’s house in a new location immediately behind the house (in addition to an earl twentieth-century garage, both of which are partially documented by contemporary photographs.) The fragments that remain from the ruins of the servant’s house, which was only recently torn down, suggest that it could have been contemporaneous with the Jones House and was likely the same building shown on the 1911 Sanborn map.

Figure 15. Reconstructed plan of house as it existed in the 1970s.

Several features distinguish the existing kitchen structure from the remainder of the house and suggest that it might have been moved to the site from elsewhere. These include slight differences in framing, the use of diagonally-laid sub-flooring beneath the present, later flooring; the treatment of the eaves and gable decoration, and the detailing of the eave brackets. As early as the 1910s and 1920s, nineteenth-century buildings were being replaced in Inman Park. All of the original houses on the block around the Inman Park Methodist Church, for instance, were replaced by commercial buildings or church expansion during that period, and even the magnificent Gould mansion next door burned and had been replaced by a miniature golf course by 1932. It is possible the present kitchen building was salvaged from one of these sites since the decoration of the gable end indicates its late-nineteenth-century origins.

The earliest bathroom that survived after 1911 may have been located in the hyphen between the northwest room and the rear bedroom in the main house. A second bathroom was added in the 1930s or 1940s in the rear hall, which necessitated closure of the original back door to the hall and relocation of the bedroom door.

In the late 1970s, the house was completely renovated. The front and rear bedrooms were completely reconfigured to accommodate three modern bathrooms and the rear rooms’ original hipped roof was replaced by the existing flat roof. The c. 1887 back porch was replaced by a new den which was combined with the kitchen by removal of part of the wet wall of the kitchen building. In addition, a large screened porch above a two-car garage was constructed at the north end of the bedroom wing. The deteriorated garage (c. 1920s) was taken down about 1978 and the servant’s house (c. 1870?) was removed about 1996.

 

Figure 16. Plan of house as it existed in 1999.

 

Figure 17. Roof, attic framing, and foundation plans of house at it existed in 1999.

 

Figure 18. Views of Hurt Cottage in 1999.

 

 

 

Notes

1. 1850 Federal Census, #135, Blackhall District, DeKalb County, Georgia.

2. The earliest transactions were recorded in DeKalb County. See Fulton County Deed Books for transactions after 1854.

3. Fulton County Deed Books C-228, Z-623, TT-159. One important transaction was recorded in Book B, which was stolen from the Court House. The deed recording the sale of LL 15 to Augustus Hurt in 1856 suggests that the Augustus Hurt House that served as General Sherman's headquarters during the Battle of Atlanta was actually built by his sister and her husband, the Joneses, in the late 1840s. The house did not survive the Civil War.

4. Fulton County Deed Book Y, p. 224.

5. Fulton County Will Book B, p. 91.

6. Fulton County Deed Book QQ, p. 64.

7. Fulton County Deed Book NN, p. 517.

8. See Fulton County Deed Books GGG, pp. 584-585, and HHH, pp. 1-4.

9. Sims, p. 106, relates the tradition that Hurt moved the Jones house to face Elizabeth Street. The house is not specifically mentioned in the deeds recording Hurt’s acquisition of the property that became Inman Park.

10. Fulton County Deed Book 327, p. 9.

 

 

Sources of Information

This history of the Joel Hurt Cottage in Inman Park was originally produced in the spring of 1999 at the request of the property’s owners Jeffrey and Allison Ezell. The general history and significance of the house had long been established, but its actual origins were forgotten, beyond the fact that Joel Hurt bought it from his cousin in the mid-1880s. The design and character of the original architecture was poorly understood, and it was unclear precisely what alterations Joel Hurt and, later, his niece and nephew, made to the house. As a result, the present study was focused on a comprehensive, visual examination of the building itself in order to establish a physical chronology for the building that could be associated with known historical documentation. No materials or finishes were removed during the course of the investigation, but large portions of the framing are visible in the attic and in the basement and, along with other features and finishes, provided good evidence for changes to the building over time. Critical historical documentation, including the earliest photograph of the house, was located at the Atlanta History Center.

Atlanta City Directories.

DeKalb County, Records of Deeds and Mortgages.

Fulton County, Records of Deeds and Mortgages.

Garrett, Franklin. Atlanta and Environs. University of Georgia Press, 1954.

Poe, Capt. O. M. "Map Illustrating the Siege of Atlanta, GA., by the United States Forces under Command of Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman . . . Drawn in June, July, August, and Sept., 1865." Library of Congress.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, Atlanta, 1911 and 1932.

United States Federal Census, 1850-1930.

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