AVONDALE ESTATES

Avondale Estates is the only documented example in the southeastern United States of an early twentieth century planned new community. The Avondale Estates Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in December of 1986 and is considered to be of national importance. This level of significance is attributed to the planning efforts behind the development of Avondale Estates, as well as to the architectural and landscape components present in the district.

Located approximately seven miles east of downtown Atlanta, Avondale Estates occupies lands that until the early 1920s consisted of a small community known as Ingleside and several large farms. Around the turn-of-the-century, Ingleside, founded in 1893 by J. H. Dabney, was considered to be a picturesque retreat and one of Atlanta's most attractive suburban residential areas. In 1895 The Atlanta Journal characterized the community as the "liveliest village of the Piedmont heights" and a "little town of lively residences with all the comforts and conveniences which create an ideal home, away from the busy marts of trade." Ingleside also had the advantage of being located on three major transportation routes: the Atlanta Street Railway/Stone Mountain Trolley Line, the Georgia Railroad and the Atlanta-to-Augusta highway.

In January of 1924, Atlanta businessman George F.Willis purchased 1,000 acres in DeKalb County, including nearly all of what was then Ingleside as well as a 400-acre dairy farmed owned by Judge John S. Candler. Willis' intention was to develop the property into a model suburb with extensive residential, commercial and recreational components. Soon after acquiring the property, Willis set out on a tour of successful suburbs in the eastern and Midwestern United States in order to begin developing ideas for the site he termed "the most attractive community site in the southern states." Assisting Willis in creating Avondale Estates were two prominent professionals, Atlanta engineer O. F. Kaufman and Philadelphia landscape architect Robert Cridland. By January of 1926 considerable progress had been made including construction of the community's streets as well as the commercial buildings, approximately fifty houses, and a park with pool, poolhouse, tennis courts and playground equipment. Many of the earliest houses were prominent two-story dwellings located in the northern section of the residential area; most of the later homes are smaller and only one-and-a-half stories in height. A lake was created by 1928 and a boathouse/clubhouse was under construction in that year. Before the Depression slowed the development of Avondale Estates, another seventy-five residences were completed.

During the 1930s housing construction in Avondale Estates was slow; and when the Second World War began, development stopped altogether. By that time, approximately one third of Willis' vision for the community had been built. After the war the remainder of Avondale Estates was completed in accordance with the primary ideals Willis had set out for the community. Avondale Estates incorporated in January of 1928, and thus became rare among suburban developments by having its own municipal government. Since that time, community leaders, as well as private residents, have seen to it that the community is well maintained. Some Information provided by http://avondaleestates.org/.

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