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Column: Fence protected last house
by Thornton Kennedy
Northside Neighbor Columnist
June 20, 2012 12:47 PM | 960 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Thornton Kennedy
Thornton Kennedy
The Randolph-Lucas House on Peachtree Road is once again in jeopardy.

The residents living in the faded yellow condominium building just behind it are attempting to have the landmark Thornton Mayre-designed brick mansion razed, claiming it is a hazard and too expensive to maintain.

I passed this house on foot and by bicycle several times a week going between our home on West Wesley Road and the Peachtree Battle shopping center, aka The Hole. The grounds were handsome, green grass and magnificent trees on all sides, a wrought-iron fence facing the street.

Built in 1924, it was among the last of the grand homes that once lined Peachtree.

The home was impressive but it is the fence which stands out in my mind. That is for a simple reason. Most Monday mornings that fence was in a state of disrepair.

I can only imagine why cars constantly found themselves in the fence. It is the dead end of Lindbergh Drive, which meets Peachtree at a T-intersection right there. Perhaps the drivers had no idea the road ended and being that they were driving straight up a hill, they only realized too late that the road no longer continued. By that point they were as far into the front yard as they were going to get.

It also appeared that many cars had trouble negotiating the turn despite the fact that Peachtree is six lanes. The cars would go to make that left off Lindbergh and inexplicably go way to the right and run into the fence. The only night spots out that way were the Gold Club and a few funky bars and restaurants scattered here and there, so I guess alcohol could have been involved.

Often it took weeks to repair the unfortunate fence. On several occasions, before it was fixed, another car would have run into it. Our garage was home to many hood ornaments and unique hubcaps from in front of the house which were missed during the cleanup but that I found irresistible.

When the family made the decision to sell it to a developer, which built 2500 Peachtree and promptly went bankrupt, a small group of fierce neighborhood leaders and preservationists fought to save the Randolph-Lucas House and won. In addition to being a link to Peachtree’s past as a residential street, its architect had also designed Atlanta Terminal Station and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

It is a noble endeavor, but without a long-range plan for these historic homes they are doomed to fall into a state of disrepair. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like there is anyone to fix the fence this time.


Thornton Kennedy is a fifth-generation Buckhead resident and former news editor of the Northside, Sandy Springs and Vinings Neighbor newspapers. He can be reached at

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