Home Park School
Developmental history / historic context
When the Home Park School was built in 1911, the Atlanta Board of Education was undergoing major transitions. Changes came about through the alignment of the curriculum with more progressive, less traditional studies; through the need for new and improved physical facilities; through the administration of personnel who were becoming more self-directive and outspoken; through political realities of having to deal with Ward politics to sustain support for the schools; and through an assortment of crises which emanated from the city's rapid growth in early 20th century.
Home Park School was a new educational facility, but it replaced an older private school, Ethel Street School, which had its origins near the Home Park neighborhood in Chastaintown. Founded in 1900, Ethel Street was already in difficulty in 1905. According to the County School Superintendent, more than a hundred applicants for enrollment had been turned away from the school due to "lack of accommodation." A new building was an absolute necessity, and there was great pressure on Ethel Street School because of the manufacturing interests, mainly the Atlantic Steel Company, located nearby that provided a community anchor in the Home Park area. In 1909, the superintendent noted that things had gotten so bad at Ethel Street that it had reached "undesirable conditions." In 1909, two classrooms were added to the original structure, but nothing more was done because of the imminent annexation of Ethel Street to the Atlanta public school system.
The agreement between Atlanta and Fulton County required that the Atlanta system take over the Ethel Street School in mid-term, January, 1910. The Atlanta Board voted to lease Ethel Street until the close of the term and began to make plans for its expansion.
In April, 1910, the sites for new schools were selected for all but two schools, of which Home Park was one. In July, the school boundaries committee made its report and the Home Park school district was finally set. At this time the architects and contractors were also selected and in November, 1910, after considerable reworking of designs and specifications, the contracts were let for construction. In all, twelve school buildings were targeted for construction, none to cost over $40,000. The Home Park design work went to local architect Edward Dougherty, the contractor was George A. Clayton.
On March 3, 1911, local citizens, the mayor, the school board, dignitaries, the principal of Ethel Street School, teachers and pupils gathered to lay the cornerstone for the Home Park School amidst what newspapers describes as "impressive" ceremonies. George Napier placed the stone; Hugh Richardson, donor of the school lot and one of the developers of Home Park, spoke of the occasion; the mayor praised the North Atlanta Improvement Club which had advocated the school's placement and wondered, once he saw all the children, if it would be big enough.
With the beginning of the new school year in September, 1911, Home Park School was functional. The School Board had appropriated $40,000 for the school, none of which had to go towards the purchase of land, since the lot, had been donated. The construction cost $28,254, for a building approximately 250' x 3201. The plumbing, heating, and ventilating systems cost another $10,000 approximately, and the architect's fee, under $2000.
Besides Home Park School, Dougherty also held the design contract for Lee Street, Fair Street, Crew Street, Forrest Avenue, and Highland Park Schools. The remaining 18 contracts were spread among ten other architects and contractors. When Home Park opened for the school year in 1911, it had eight classrooms, seven teachers, one principal, and a student population of 382 pupils. Capacity at Home Park was 448 students. By academic year 1921-1922, the enrollment stood at 629 pupils. The basement, the auditorium on the second floor, and the teachers' room were all appropriated for classroom use. In 1928, Home Park had 724 students, the highest pre-World War II enrollment. Double sessions were discussed but never adopted; the school day began at 8:30 a.m. and ended at 2:00 p.m.
In the early 1920s, the Atlanta School system again came under critical review--this time by professional educators and at the School Board's own request. In 1921, a team of consultants from the Columbia University's education laboratory reviewed Atlanta's educational programs and facilities. Out of a possible 1000 points, no elementary school rated higher than 666 points. Home Park rated second with 646 points. The school buildings were uniformly criticized for being "poorly planned" and "placed incorrectly on undesirable site[s]." The Strayer and Englehart Report (taken from the names of the two principal investigators) criticized Atlanta for not keeping up educational progress with its urban growth.
The investigators described the "ideal" school and then outlined the steps necessary to bring each of Atlanta's closer to this model. Home Park School was listed as one which could be brought up to standards by minor alterations and changes. The school would require some repairs, installation of fireproof stairwells, and the removal of the auditorium from the second floor. Home Park fared well in the assessments where total "abandonment" of the facilities was frequently recommended.
It took time to accomplish the recommendations for change at Home Park. The auditorium was moved and a new one built onto the existing structure in 1929. School capacity was not expanded, however, until the 1930s, when the 1936 school bond and monies from the WPA combined to fund the erection of a three-story addition to the original building on the end opposite the auditorium. The new addition housed the cafeteria, teachers' room, a kitchen, a storage room, kindergarten suite, and two standard sized classrooms. A temporary structure, which had housed the kindergarten from 1924, was dismantled. In the 1930s, playground equipment was added, and the school yard was landscaped.
In recent decades, changes in the makeup of the neighborhood, pressures of integration, and declining enrollment, brought about the eventual closing of Home Park School. Georgia Institute of Technology, (Tech), between 1963-1975, expanded its campus facilities into the Home Park area, taking 1150 homes in the process. The expansions of Tech also changed the demographics of the neighborhood, adding more students to the population. Many of the single family dwelling were converted to rental properties for Tech students. Expansion in other nearby industrial and commercial enterprises also encroached on the neighborhood, altering residential patterns even more. As the neighborhood aged, its population was not replaced by young families with children who could attend the Home Park School.
In the early 1970s, Home Park School was under capacity and predominantly white. In 1973, 52 black students were moved to Home Park when the Luckie Street School closed, but this did not bring Home Park up to capacity or even up to the minimum for minority enrollment. A pupil transfer program brought the enrollment up to a better racial balance, but in 1974 the School Board voted to close Home Park. However, the school did not close but continued to operate for ten more years. By 1984, enrollment was down to 182 students, and the Board again voted to close Home Park. The decision was reversed and the school was kept opened for one more year. In 1985, the sixth grade class was transferred to Inman Middle School. With this action, the remaining enrollment was small, and the school finally closed its doors permanently at the end of the 1985-1986 school year.
Narrative statement of significance (areas of significance)
Home Park Elementary School is significant within the areas of architecture and education.
Home Park School is significant in architecture, because the building retains much of its historic architectural characteristics popular during the early 20th century. The 1911 school, with 1929 and 1937 additions, is an excellent example of elementary school design in Atlanta during this time period. The building is significant as a 1911 educational facility designed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style by Atlanta architect Edward Dougherty. Dougherty also designed five other facilities for the Atlanta school system during this same time. Home Park School is designed with a symmetrical front facade with projecting side wings. The centered main entrance features a semicircular terra cotta arch, brick pilasters and an elaborate terra cotta cornice. Foliated keystones are located at the center of the main arch and above the second floor windows. A pressed metal cornice and terra cotta frieze wraps around three sides of the building. other features include parapet walls, a rusticated stone foundation and brick corner quoins. Also significant are the 1929 and 1937 additions that represent a more modern design approach with almost no ornamentation. The overall architectural integrity of Home Park School remains intact and in good condition and provides a fine example of the style used for schools during Atlanta's major school building program in the early 20th century.
In the area of ' education, the building is significant as an example of schools constructed during a period of expansion and improvement in Atlanta city school facilities. Home Park School resulted during an important transition period in the history of the Atlanta Public School System. Between 1909-1921, the Board of Education was becoming stronger; the curriculum was becoming more progressive and modernized; the educational system less inbred and more open to non-Southern ideas and personnel; and the outreach of the entire system became far more extensive as Atlanta grew and expanded its boundaries. Home Park School is also a symbol of its neighborhood. In its early years, it was the only non-religious social service institution in the area. Home Park is also an example of an educational facility commonly used in the early 20th century and which continued to serve as a school until the mid-1980s.
National Register Criteria
The areas of significance supports this building's eligibility under National Register Criteria A and C.
This building meets National Register Criteria A as it is associated with the activities of developing an educational system within the Atlanta City Schools and has made a significant contribution to the development of the community. Home Park School, established in 1911, was part of the expansion and improvement of the Atlanta City Schools during the early 20th century. Home Park represents the type of educational facility commonly used during this time period and has been the scene of grade school activities for 75 years, dating from 1911 to 1986.
Home Park School meets Criteria C as it possesses the distinctive characteristics of a type of educational architecture used during the 1910s. The Italian Renaissance Revival style of Home Park was the work of Atlanta architect Edward Dougherty, who also designed five other educational facilities in Atlanta. The school is also a good example of a typical institutional design commonly used throughout many major southeastern cities during the early 20th century.
Description of present and historic physical appearance:
Home Park School was constructed in 1911 as an elementary school for the Home Park neighborhood in northwest Atlanta. The two-story brick structure with a basement was designed by Atlanta architect Edward Dougherty in an Italian Renaissance Revival style. The symmetrical front facade has slightly projecting side wings with grouped windows and a centered entrance with a semicircular terra cotta arch resting on brick pilasters and topped with an elaborate terra cotta cornice. A pressed metal cornice with terra cotta panel frieze is continuous around three sides of the building, and a parapet wall with terra cotta coping rises above. Other details include a rusticated stone foundation and brick corner quoins. Both a 1929 auditorium addition and a 1937 classroom and cafeteria addition are constructed of brick with concrete copings and bands. On the interior, a certified rehabilitation to convert the building to apartments has retained the wide corridors on each floor, original wood moldings, hardwood floors, and stairways. The classroom, auditorium, and cafeteria space have been divided as needed to form apartment space (photograph 6-8). Also, a new three-story apartment building of brick and wood with rusticated stone foundation has been constructed on the building's north side next to the 1937 addition (photograph 5). A playing field and sand lot on the lot's rear are now used for parking. The building ceased to function as a school in 1986.
The historic Home Park School complex consists of three interlocking buildings with mixed styling. The main (and original) portion was built in 1911 and follows the detailing of the Italian Renaissance style, more familiar in Atlanta in a derived Mediterranean form used in apartment houses in the early twentieth century, than in institutional structures. The two additions to the main structure, the auditorium, and the classroom, follow the minimalist manners of the Art Moderne or International style. As part of the recent certified rehabilitation project, a small apartment building has been constructed adjacent to the historic school complex on the historic school grounds.
The main facade of the original building is broken into three sections with the middle section recessed, giving the impression that the school has two wings and therefore more mass than is actually true (photograph 1). The parapet roof line, capped with terra cotta coping, accentuates the building's mass. The roof line is further highlighted by a prominent molded cornice with terra cotta architrave and frieze panels. The architrave encircles the entire original building; the frieze panels run intermittently throughout. Several panels carry the name of the school; one over the central section of the front facade, and one on the south side facade still visible over the roof of the auditorium. The cornice returns to the rear (east) facade, but does not run the full length of the back of the building.
The foundation level is marked by a girdle of rusticated stones reminiscent of Italian Renaissance buildings, but the stone is not carried up the full height of the basement level. The stone layer is topped by a row of terra cotta coping and surrounds the entire building. The building's cornerstone was laid in 1911 and is located in the southwest corner.
The main entrance dominates the front facade and is the most elaborate feature of the building. The entrance rises from the ground at grade level between the basement and the main level and continues to rise to the bottom of the upper level (photograph 3). The entry arch features terra cotta entablature and is topped by a foliated keystone. Keystones are also used above the second story windows on the front facade. A set of wide pilasters surround the door and support the entablature; the entire oversized entry offsets the horizontal lines created by the large window ribbons and the cornice. The main door is recessed behind the entry at the top of a flight of concrete stairs on the first floor.
The fenestration in the main building is symmetrical but follows the institutional needs for natural light in the classroom rather than the dictates of the Italian Renaissance style which call for tall windows on the lower levels and shorter ones on the upper floors. The windows are ranked in pairs and singles in the recessed central section, while the "wings" carry ribbons of five windows per floor on the main and upper levels. These are sashed, six-over-six windows, while the windows in the middle portion are four-over-four.
The auditorium and classroom additions illustrate little architectural detail, an indication of stylistic developments of the time and also of financial considerations since both were built during the Depression years. Two concrete bands at the roof line suggest the horizontal lines of the Moderne style and also tie the building addition to the main section by repeating the lines of the roof capping on the original portion and its architrave. Both auditorium and classroom additions are asymmetrical in appearance, but as neither addition dominates the visual impression of the main section since they visually recede. The auditorium has a rectangular protrusion across part of the front facade. The classroom front facade is blank except for a doorway offset to the right (photograph 4).
There are no windows on the front of the classroom addition; there are only windows on the auditorium facade at the second story level to light the projection room. The original windows lighting the auditorium are located on the south facade, these are five paired windows with transoms over four-over-four sashed windows which pivot vertically to open. There are louvered windows on the rear of the auditorium covered with protective wiring. The windows in the classroom addition are standard six-over-six institutional sash with concrete sills under each window.
Brick is used throughout the exterior of Home Park School, in several shades of dark red, accented by dark gray brick to highlight some details in the veneer. The interior of the school is institutional in its architectural simplicity. A double-loaded corridor runs the length of the original building with classrooms on the east and west sides of the building. The north end of the original building is capped by the classroom addition, and the south end by the auditorium. The classroom addition is accessible on all three levels; the auditorium is accessible only from the main level.
Interior walls are plaster with wood trim. There are cove moldings at the ceiling line and plain baseboards at the floor. Floors in the original building are hardwood finish with linoleum covering in public areas such as the halls. The basement floor is concrete slab. Doors are not uniform throughout, but the original doors in the main section are glazed and framed under a tall lintel or a transom.
The landscaping of Home Park School is minimal. The front of the school has a lawn running between the school and the sidewalk. Several trees are located in the open area and there are some foundation plantings. The playground area, the northwest corner, and the southwest corner of the property have now been developed for tenant parking. Home Park School has also been renamed the State Street Academy Apartments.
The neighboring area is comprised of 1910s and 1920s brick and frame bungalows. The houses directly across the street sit on an incline raised above street level, their front yards retained by stone foundation walls. Two blocks south of State Street are apartment houses and Georgia Institute of Technology campus.
National Register of Historic Places
National Register listed : 1989
Location : 1031 State St., NW. Atlanta , Fulton County, GA, 30318

Original Builder: Atlanta Board of Education

Original Architect: Edward Dougherty, Architect

Original Contractor: George A. Clayton
Significant Dates : 1911-1968
1911-construction of Home Park School.
1929-construction of auditorium
1937-construction of the classroom and cafeteria addition to the original 1911 school building.
1986-cessation of function as a school
Boundary Justification: The boundaries for Home Park School have been drawn to coincide with the historic school property. Included are the original school building, two early 20th-century historic additions, and the new noncontributing apartment building. The new building is within the original school property boundaries but is considered noncontributing due to its post-1938 age.
Description of Architectural Classification : LATE 19TH/20TH CENTURY REVIVAL/Italian Renaissance
Classical Materials: foundation: stone; walls: brick; roof: asphalt
Historic Functions: EDUCATION/school
Current Functions: DOMESTIC/multiple dwelling