Mrs. Bloodworth’s school sat across the street from the imposing E. Rivers Elementary School. As the Buckhead children were let out of the tiny three-room kindergarten, they faced the three-story stone elementary school. Mrs. Bloodworth’s essentially served as E. Rivers’ preschool in the early days of Buckhead.
The building is owned and operated by Atlanta Public Schools today and is supposedly used for public meetings, though I have never seen a human being within 20 feet of it. One of the oldest structures in Buckhead, its historic roots can be traced back to one of the most important architectural firms in the U.S.
Before it was Mrs. Bloodworth’s kindergarten, the lodge, as it is known, was the sales office for Peachtree Heights West, the magnificent landscaped neighborhood of 400 or so homes bordered by Peachtree Battle, Northside Drive and West Paces Ferry and Habersham roads. In the 20th century the land on which the neighborhood now sits and a whole lot more belonged to one man, George Washington Collier. After he passed away in 1903, Eretus Rivers, the same man for whom E. Rivers Elementary was named, acquired 500 acres from Collier’s estate.
Rivers, through his Peachtree Heights Co., hired Carerre and Hasting, a New York architecture firm, to lay out a neighborhood and parks in what had been dense forest. The prolific firm designed the New York Public Library main branch in New York, the Standard Oil Building in New York and the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington and is widely recognized as one of the most important in the U.S. during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Carerre and Hasting also designed the lodge, which opened in 1911. It first served as the sales office and later as a sort of gate house for the neighborhood and a gathering place for community meetings. Images from those early days show a wide-open streetscape with the small building as the predominant focal point.
In 1930, Rivers allowed Mrs. Bloodworth to rent the building for her namesake kindergarten. In 1937, he deeded it to Fulton County for $1 on the condition that it be used only for a “museum, monumental, educational, park or other like purpose...”
Mrs. Bloodworth welcomed a generation of Buckhead residents to her school from 1930 until 1952.
It is easy to miss as you drive through the intersection with all of the hustle and bustle of Buckhead. It is more a curiosity than anything else. To a generation of residents though, it serves as yet another reminder of a simpler time.
Buckhead resident Thornton Kennedy is a sixth-generation Atlantan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.