The historic Randolph-Lucas House, on Peachtree Road, will soon move a few miles south to its new home.
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Christopher Jones and Roger Smith are the new owners who are restoring the 90-year-old mansion. It has been nine months since they began their dream of buying, moving, and restoring the house which currently sits on Peachtree just north of Peachtree Battle Avenue.
Right now, they are going through what you might call labor pains: the labor of seeing parts of the house dismantled so it can be cut in half and moved.
“It does tug at your heart strings,” says Smith. “It’s difficult to go over there and see it disassembled on the inside, remembering how beautiful it has been.”
The next step is removal of the brick façade and slate roof. In a few weeks, if all goes well, the home, in two pieces, will take a middle of the night trip two-and-a-half miles south to Ansley Park. Jones and Smith are currently working with the Georgia Department of Transportation to make the plans which will require closing streets for the trip. The hope is that the actual move will take less than two hours.
Jones says he and Smith plan to move into the house 90 days later. “Our hope is that, when people drive by, if they didn’t know the house was moved there, they would think it had always been there.”
The Buckhead Heritage Society (BHS) selected their application to buy the house from several others. According to BHS Executive Director Erica Danylchak, Jones’ and Smith’s plan was the best thought out. “They also had identified the lot in Ansley Park as the one they wanted to explore purchasing,” says Danylchak. “And we thought that it was the right fit in terms of fitting the architecture of that particular house into a compatible streetscape.”
Hollins Randolph, a prominent Atlanta lawyer and great-great grandson of Thomas Jefferson, commissioned architect P. Thornton Marye to design the home. Construction was completed in 1924. Danylchak says that Marye also worked on the Fox Theatre and Atlanta Terminal Station, but most of his residential work has been lost. Margaret C. Lucas bought the house in 1935 and lived there until her death in 1987.
In 1997, developer Blaine Kelly, Jr. purchased the house as part of the property to build a condominium development. In 1998, the home was moved a few yards to accommodate construction. At the time, Kelly said the house would be maintained and used for special events. But last year the 2500 Peachtree Road Condominium Association petitioned for a demolition permit, prompting BHS to begin efforts to save the house.
Danylchak says that expert preservation volunteers have helped document all aspects of the home before it is moved. Jones and Smith will spend $1.5 million for the project and hope it will spur others in Atlanta to tackle similar preservation efforts.