Photography, Videography & Artifacts

A Rose on Peachtree

You are cordially invited to share in honoring one of Peachtree Street’s last remaining Victorian homes. The Atlanta Preservation Center and M.H. Mitchell, Inc. are celebrating the house through the arts to advocate for its preservation and to forge new connections within these communities.

From September 20 – October 10, 2013, the Atlanta Preservation Center, in collaboration with M.H. Mitchell, Inc., will present A Rose on Peachtree. This exhibit honoring the 1901 Rufus Rose House on Peachtree Street will feature photography by Jason Travis, videography by Michael Joe Morgan and artifacts from the R.M. Rose Distillery courtesy of Jeff Clemmons. The opening on Friday, September 20, 2013 from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm at the LP Grant Mansion will include a talk with the artists and collaborators at 7:30 pm. Gallery hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. The APC is located in the 1856 LP Grant Mansion, 327 St Paul Ave SE, Atlanta GA 30312.
 
The image at the right is  a detail of a photograph by Jason Travis.
 
One of Peachtree Street’s last remaining Victorian homes, the Rufus M. Rose House is a constant through decades of history on Atlanta's most famous street. Travis' and Morgan’s work will focus on the house in its present-day environment. Artifacts from the R.M. Rose Distillery including bottles, jugs, advertising materials and historic photographs will be on display courtesy of author and historian Jeff Clemmons. The Rufus Rose House has been on APC's Most Endangered Historic Places List since 2007. The APC and M.H. Mitchell, Inc. are celebrating the house through the arts to advocate for its preservation and to forge new connections within these communities.
 
The exhibition grew out of the summer internship of Jessica Sheppard with M.H. Mitchell, Inc. which was supported by the Atlanta Preservation Center. Sheppard is an undergraduate student of history with Dr. Scott Matthews at Georgia State University. She was charged with taking historical information about Rufus M. Rose and the historic home and “repackaging for a contemporary audience.” For her research she interviewed APC Executive Director Boyd Coons and APC member and tour guide Jeff Clemmons and examined APC’s extensive files on the efforts to preserve the structure. She shared what she learned with her colleagues who also became interested in the story of the house. Towards the end of the internship, Sheppard asked the APC to support her desire to continue to advocate for the house with an exhibit of Travis' and Morgan’s art work. Clemmons then volunteered to lend his artifacts to enhance the exhibit.
 
M.H. Mitchell, Inc. is a non-profit that supports the preservation of Southern history. Led by David Yoakley Mitchell, the organization accomplishes this goal through education, protection, encouragement, research and promotion. Current projects include the Georgia Historic Marker Post Replacement Program and the restoration of Fort Walker in Grant Park.
 
The image at above right is a still from Micheal Morgan's video for the Rose house.
 
The mission of the APC is to promote the preservation of Atlanta's architecturally, historically and culturally significant buildings, neighborhoods and landscapes through education and advocacy. The APC is located in the 1856 Lemuel P. Grant Mansion which features a 680 square foot gallery in its Drawing Room. This gallery is host to exhibitions that underscore the Center’s mission. Its purpose is to demonstrate that the preserved environment is a valuable and inspirational part of the present.
 
The Rufus M. Rose House has been on the APC's Most Endangered Historic Places List since 2007. More information is available here.
 
Schedule
 
Exhibit - September 20 - October 11, 2013
Opening Reception - Friday, September 20, 2013, 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Artists & Collaborators' Talk - Friday, September 20, 2013, 7:30 pm
Gallery Hours - Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm during exhibit and by appointment by calling 404-688-3353 ext. 11
 
The following two sections were contributed by Jeff Clemmons.
 
The Rufus M. Rose House
 
The Rufus M. Rose House is a late Victorian, Queen Anne-style mansion located on Peachtree Street across from Emory University Hospital Midtown, one and half blocks south of North Avenue, in the SoNo district of Atlanta. Designed by architect Emil Charles Seiz, the approximately 5,200-square-foot home was built for Dr. Rufus M. Rose in 1901 at a cost of $9,000.
 
The mansion is a rare example of a nineteenth-century town house built for one of Atlanta’s wealthy citizens. Its red-brick exterior consists of bayed and multi-gabled facades interspersed with multiple window shapes and sizes and numerous fireplaces. Regrettably, the original slate roof and front porch have been removed. The property also includes marble steps that originally ascended directly from the sidewalk on Peachtree Street to the front porch. According to the City of Atlanta, the home’s tiny yard is the “singular survivor from Peachtree's residential heyday,” but the home is actually one of three that still remains on the City’s main thoroughfare. 
 
Rufus Rose died of heart failure in the home on July 21, 1910.  His family kept the home for another 13 years before selling it. From 1923 until the mid-1940s, it was used as a private residence, then as a rooming house, then as offices for the Fulton County Relief Administration, then again as a private residence.
 
In 1945, James H. Elliot, Sr. bought the house and used it as an antique store and museum which he named J.H. Elliot's Antiques and the Atlanta Museum. Open to the public, the museum contained many notable items: furniture belonging to Margaret Mitchell, personal items of Bobby Jones, Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie’s throne and a Japanese Zero war plane. After more than 50 years, the store and museum closed in 1998.
 
From 1999 to 2001, the house served as the headquarters for the Atlanta Preservation Center until it moved into L. P. Grant’s antebellum mansion in Atlanta’s Grant Park neighborhood.
 
The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (1977) and is designated as a Landmark Building Exterior (1989) by the City of Atlanta.  It currently is vacant and in need of significant restoration. Purchased at auction in 2011, plans for redevelopment are forthcoming. 
 
R.M. Rose
 
Rufus Mathewson Rose was born May 17, 1836, in New London, Connecticut. After receiving an education in that state, he moved to New York City where he practiced as a druggist and then worked at the Sailors’ hospital on Long Island. He later studied medicine, received his diploma and moved south to Hawkinsville, Georgia before the start of the American Civil War. When war broke out between the states, Rose joined the Tenth Georgia regiment of the Confederate Army, serving in the “medical department” in Williamsburg, Virginia, and Macon, Georgia.* After the war, Rose moved to Atlanta and in 1867 founded the R. M. Rose Co. Distillery (Mountain Spring Distillery), which was located in Vinings, Georgia. Rose used his retail whiskey and tobacco shops in Atlanta to sell his corn and rye alcohol. In addition, Rose was the owner of a large real estate business known as the Rose Investment Company. 
 
* An alternate story of Rose’s time during the American Civil War - though undocumented on Jack Sullivan’s website, Those Pre-Pro Whiskey Men! - states that Rose served in Virginia as a pharmacist, but was honorably discharged due to bad health in 1862. Thus, per Sullivan, Rose left Virginia and settled in Macon, Georgia, where he opened a laboratory to produce medicine “for the Southern cause.” 
 
- Written by Jeff Clemmons, 2013 - Sources: Atlanta Constitution, City of Atlanta Online, Atlanta Historic Resources Workbook, AIA Guide to the Architecture of Atlanta, Atlanta Preservation Center’s SoNo/Midtown Commercial District Tour Guide, Atlanta Time Machine, the National Register Information System and Wikipedia.
 
Thank you to Michelle Williams (new APC member) for graphic design support
Thank you to the Breman Jewish Heritage & Holocaust Museum for the loan of a display case for this exhibit.
 
Biographies
 
Jessica Sheppard is an undergraduate student of history at GSU interning for M.H.Mitchell Inc. By blending Atlanta's history with public outreach and art, she hopes to spark new interest in the preservation of the Rufus Rose House. Upon graduation, she plans to pursue a Master’s degree in historical preservation.
 
Michael Joe Morgan is an Atlanta native, Georgia State graduate, videographer and documentary filmmaker. His first feature-length documentary, MARAMASO, chronicles the recent elections in Kenya and is slated for release in Fall 2013. His current projects include coordinating the Atlanta Underground Film Festival and producing music videos and documentary shorts on Atlanta arts and culture.
 
Jason Travis, or "J. Trav" as he is known to most, approaches each day with a huge grin and seemingly boundless energy as a graphic designer, musician and photographer. After graduating from the Ernest G. Welch School of Design at Georgia State in 2007, he embarked on his most far-reaching project to date, the Persona photo series. This project has appeared on various sites including CNN, Gizmodo and USA Today.
 
Jeff Clemmons, author of Rich’s: A Southern Institution, is a member of APC; a board member of CIRCA, APC’s auxiliary organization; and the creator and tour guide of APC’s Guided Walking Tour of the So/No Midtown Commercial District. Jeff has graciously agreed to lend several R.M. Rose Distillery artifacts to the exhibit including bottles, jugs, a measuring tape for used for advertising and historical photographs.