Ansley Park, one of Atlanta’s most prestigious neighborhoods, was developed as an auto-oriented suburb with wide, winding streets rather than a grid pattern typical of older streetcar suburbs.
Developed in four phases in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Edwin P. Ansley, the neighborhood was envisioned to be the home for Atlanta’s wealthiest citizens, and allowed for a short commute to offices and shopping. In 1905, an Atlanta Constitution article publicized: “In the very near future those who own homes in Ansley Park are going to sit on their verandas and see among their neighbors the best people in Atlanta and on the boulevards before their doors everybody who rides, drives, or ‘motors’ an automobile, for all roads must lead to these, the only driveways in Atlanta.”
Ansley Park remains significant to Atlanta because its original layout is intact, along with the variety of architectural styles built over the decades. The original layout includes parkway-like streets with extensive landscaping and Olmstedian inspired linear parks that extend deep into the neighborhood. Winn Park, Ansley’s most popular neighborhood park, contains a waterfall and series of pools that were built by the Iris Garden Club. The Iris Garden Club was formed in 1928 by a group of prominent women and who have continued to work throughout the neighborhood, with their current focus on the lower end of the Woodland Glen at The Prado.
Ansley Park includes single-family and multifamily residential elements, and a church, and is now designated a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. The majority of single-family residences and multifamily buildings were built within the first 25 years of development and most were designed by well-known architects of their time: Walter Thomas Downing, Neel Reid, Haralson Bleckley, Henry Hornbostel, Leila Ross Wilburn, P. Thornton Marye, and A. Ten Eyck Brown.
The architecture of homes and buildings ranges from interpretations of Colonial, Federal, and Greek to variations of Arts and Crafts, Victorian, and modern styles. Significant buildings that can still be found today include: Habersham Hall (270 Fifteenth Street), One South Prado (formerly known as Della Manta Apartments and home to Margaret Mitchell and her husband during the 1940s), First Church of Christ Scientist, 178 Fifteenth Street (considered the oldest home in the neighborhood), and 205 The Prado (former Governor’s Mansion from 1925 to 1967).
Today, Ansley Park continues to thrive as an urban oasis due to the efforts of the Ansley Park Civic Association, which was founded in 1908. Since the 1960s, the Association has been an active force in maintaining the neighborhood’s integrity and sense of community and published a history and overview of the neighborhood for its 100th anniversary, Ansley Park: 100 Years of Gracious Living. Visit the Ansley Park Civic Association website here.