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Capitol View Manor Historic District

Atlanta City, Fulton County, GA

The Capitol View Manor Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013. Portions of the content of this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [‡]

The Capitol View Manor Historic District is an early planned subdivision on the south side. In the early 1920s, a group of investors led by banker and attorney Joseph E. Boston purchased a tract of land in southwest Atlanta from the Freedman's Aid Society in order to subdivide it for a new residential development to be named Capitol View Manor. The site was situated on high ground adjacent to Stewart Avenue (now Metropolitan Parkway), the major north-south highway through Atlanta, which provided convenient commuter access to downtown. The District represents an early planned modern subdivision in Atlanta and some of the predominant national trends of its time. It was built in response to the rapid population growth of Atlanta and the need for well-built affordable housing on the south side of the city. The district still retains the same layout of streets and lots, which were a departure from the gridiron pattern that had dominated previous development in surrounding neighborhoods. It is also significant for its design by Olin I. Freeman of Atlanta, a civil engineer who was involved in similar projects in Atlanta and other Georgia towns. The district contains a good, intact collection of house types and styles found in middle-class suburbs in Georgia from the 1920s through the late 1950s.

Residential development in Capitol View Manor began in 1926 as part of a larger population boom in Atlanta. The adjacent Capitol View neighborhood had already experienced growth in the decades prior to 1926. With such a great demand for housing in this area, Capitol View Manor was advertised as one of the newest and most popular residential subdivisions of the late 1920s and 1930s. Originally developed by Turman and Brown Company, Capitol View Manor is exclusively comprised of residential buildings, with the exception of the 1926 Tenth Ward Fire Station Number 20, built by Shaw Construction Company. Developers and builders responsible for neighborhood development after 1926 include Maddox and Tisinger Real Estate Company, Grisham Investment Company, W . G. Bush, Roy D. Warren, and Hillside Homes Incorporated. Included are a variety of excellent examples of early- to mid-20th-century house types and styles common in similar middle-class neighborhoods. Morningside, Sylvan Hills and Brookwood Hills were other Atlanta subdivisions that developed around the same time.

Many houses in Capitol View Manor were constructed in the popular English Vernacular Revival and Craftsman styles. The earliest houses were constructed along Shannon Drive, Mellview Avenue and Manford Road beginning in 1926 in the English Vernacular Revival style, the predominant house style found in the district. The characteristics of this style include a steeply-pitched gabled roof with a dominant front-facing gable. Most houses use brick veneer with stone incorporated into the front facade around either the entryway or chimney. Wood half-timbering and stuccoed gables also appear in the district but are not common. Several of the variants in Capitol View Manor have a few Colonial Revival details, usually represented by a broken pediment over the entry door. Most are good examples of small, affordable versions of this style, with construction continuing during the years of the Great Depression. Although Capitol View Manor is newer and was considered more upscale than its neighbor Capitol View, the houses in Capitol View Manor are generally not high style. Rather, they are good examples of how the middle class adapted the popular styles of the time to smaller houses.

There are also several good examples of Craftsman-style houses in the district, though this style was beginning to lose its popularity as the neighborhood developed. These houses (all bungalow house types in this neighborhood) incorporate a brick veneer, low-pitched gabled roof, and square porch columns in wood or brick. The Craftsman Bungalow style homes in Capitol View Manor were constructed in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

The most common house types in Capitol View Manor include English Cottage and American Small House with a smaller number of bungalows, ranch houses and one split-level house. Most of the American Small Houses found in the district were built between 1938 and 1946, and incorporate either a brick veneer or painted wood siding, but aluminum or vinyl siding is also used. Many of the American Small Houses also incorporate Colonial Revival features such as decorative woodwork, including entry-door pediments, window shutters, and dormers.

Ranch Style houses, mostly dating from 1950 to 1958, are commingled throughout the neighborhood and are good intact examples of early ranch house development in Georgia. The Ranch house represents a sleek and modern design that was easy to mass-produce and was a very popular house type in the1940s and 1950s, continuing through the 1970s. All of the Ranch houses in Capitol View Manor are one-story and feature a brick veneer and low-pitched roof. Only a few houses were built after 1958, and most pre-1958 houses are intact and retain their historic integrity.

The Tenth Ward Fire Station Number 20 is the only non-residential building within the Capitol View Manor Historic District. The firehouse was constructed in 1926 by Shaw Construction Company to serve the already established communities of Pittsburgh and Capitol View, and the burgeoning communities of Sylvan Hills and Capitol View Manor. It was one of the city's most up-to-date stations at the time of its construction, but was also designed to fit in with the neighborhood. The station is still in service today and looks much as it did in 1926, incorporating a brick facade and front gabled roof. The second story, located toward the rear of the building, is still intact and was part of the original building's design.

The district is an excellent example of a planned early- to mid-20th-century suburban, automobile-oriented neighborhood. In contrast to some of the surrounding suburbs, such as Capitol View and Pittsburgh, which developed first as streetcar suburbs, the Capitol View Manor Historic District was primarily planned for the middle-class residents of Atlanta as an automobile suburb. The emphasis on catering to automobiles is also evidenced by the fact that the city paved the major streets through the district at an early date. The district represents the characteristics popular in middle-class suburbs during the early 20th century by featuring curvilinear streets lined with mature hardwoods, uniform setbacks, and informal, picturesque landscaping. It is a good example of the widespread use of the subdivision for middle-class housing.

Capitol View Manor was created in response to the rapid population growth of Atlanta in the early part of the 20th century and the need for affordable housing in the southwest region of the city at that time. With the continuation of the streetcar and advent of the automobile, people could live farther from downtown yet still travel from home to work with ease. Stewart Avenue (renamed Metropolitan Parkway in 1997 and part of the old Dixie Highway) was a direct route for commuting residents of Capitol View Manor into Atlanta and back again either by streetcar or automobile. Furthermore, the 1928 expansion of the Southern Railroad headquarters, near Spring and Mitchell streets, led hundreds of its officers and employees to relocate to the southwestern part of Atlanta, increasing the importance of residential development in Atlanta's south side. The Capitol View Manor subdivision features smaller lot sizes and a uniform layout, which reflects the increased demand for well-built, affordable housing. Most lots feature driveways and garages or carports, indicating the growing importance of the automobile in urban planning in Atlanta and its outlying neighborhoods toward the middle of the 20th century.

The plan of Capitol View Manor also reflects changes in landscape design during the first half of the 20th century. Capitol View Manor was laid out by Olin I. Freeman who was heavily influenced by the landscape principles established by Frederick Law Olmsted during the middle part of the 19th century. In his plans for cities and parks throughout the U.S., Olmsted designed curvilinear streets that reflected the land's topography rather than imposing a traditional grid pattern similar to that found in the adjacent neighborhoods of Pittsburgh and Capitol View. Freeman worked for renowned Atlanta civil engineer Orin F. Kauffman until 1920. Kauffman had previously worked for Frederick Law Olmsted and was responsible for the design of the historic Druid Hills neighborhood. Kauffman also designed the layout for the Atlanta subdivisions of Brookwood Hills and Garden Hills before his death in 1930.

In 1920 Freeman started his own civil engineering business in Atlanta and eventually designed the layout for the Glenwood subdivision (a National Register Historic District) in Thomasville, Georgia, and a short time later for Capitol View Manor in June 1926. The streets in Capitol View Manor are curvilinear, taking into account the topography of the area. The influences of Kauffman and Olmsted are obvious in Freeman's design for Capitol View Manor, although on a much smaller scale. Most streets are edged by granite curbing with grass-filled strips separating the curb from the sidewalk. The majority of the streets in Capitol View Manor are tree-lined, and sidewalks are found throughout the neighborhood with the exception of Deckner Street and certain parts of Hillside Drive and Lynnhaven Drive. House setbacks are approximately 35 feet and uniform on every street, allowing each house an open front lawn for grass or a garden. Dill Avenue Park is a small, landscaped traffic island located at the fork of Manford Road Southwest and Mellview Avenue Southwest. This small green space was part of Freeman's original plan and can be seen in a 1949 aerial view of the neighborhood. Capitol View Manor has retained the original design features created by Freeman in his 1926 plan, adding to the integrity of the neighborhood's historic character and significance.

Denise P. Messick, Historian, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Historic Preservation Division, Capitol View Manor Historic District, Fulton County, GA, nomination document, 2013, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Nearby Neighborhoods

Street Names
Charlton Place SW • Clinton Place SW • Deckner Avenue SW • Erin Avenue SW • Everett Place SW • Hillside Drive SW • Lynnhaven Drive SW • Manford Road SW • Manor Place SW • Mellview Avenue SW • Shannon Drive SW • Wayne Place SW