Ponce de Leon Court Placed on National Register of Historic Places

Amy sends along this press release from Georgia’s SHPO (State Historic Preservation Office)…

Ponce de Leon Court Historic District Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

ATLANTA (November 21, 2011) – The Ponce de Leon Court Historic District, located a few blocks east of the downtown Decatur square in DeKalb County, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on November 2, 2011. The city of Decatur and the property owners sponsored the nomination and a consultant prepared the nomination materials.

The Ponce de Leon Court Historic District is a single street that was developed in the 1920s by John L. Womack (1887-1956). His wife’s name (Margaret H. Womack) is listed on the subdivision plat, reportedly to insulate family assets from his various business ventures. The Womacks purchased the first tract in 1921, where they built their house at the end of the street. Subsequent tracts were purchased in 1922 and 1924. Subdivision plats for the street date from 1924, 1925, and 1926. John Womack was a small business owner, builder, developer, salesman, and amateur horticulturalist. Also known as “J.L.,” Womack owned the Fulton Lime and Cement Company in Atlanta, one of several businesses he managed.

Ponce de Leon Court is a short residential street containing 26 lots terminating in a cul-de-sac. The original development plan included this cul-de-sac as a way to direct traffic around a circular planter. Lots are deep and narrow, except for the developer’s property at the end of the street, which contains a large two-story house built in 1921 by John and Margaret Womack. This house was converted into apartments in 1958. Most lots have modest single-family, one-story homes dating from the 1920s, but there are also a few duplexes and three small apartment buildings in the district. The street maintains a unified character through similar setbacks, subtropical vegetation, sidewalks with planter strips on both sides, and houses that are generally the same scale. A few surviving palm trees and bamboo also distinguish this street from others in the area. House types include bungalows and side-gabled cottages. Stylistic influences are primarily Craftsman and Colonial Revival. Some houses have enclosed front porches, but overall the district has a high degree of integrity. The district also includes three buildings at the beginning of the street, facing East Ponce de Leon Avenue, a major east-west street through Decatur. One of these is a 1922 two-story brick apartment building with classical features typical of many built in the Atlanta area at that time.

3 thoughts on “Ponce de Leon Court Placed on National Register of Historic Places”

  1. I love that street. Such a “sense of place”. I rented an apartment there nearly 20 years ago. It is where I met my “babies Moma.”

  2. Sweet! We’re six-year residents of Ponce Court and hadn’t yet heard that the NRHP designation had been finalized. Fantastic news. We love our little street so much, and are thankful for the close-knit community within the larger close-knit community that is Decatur.

  3. One of my favorite things about Ponce Ct. is that it’s literally a living laboratory of how disconnected our present R60 zoning is from the kinds of places people seem to really love. The lots/homes on that street seem to defy almost every mandated metric… lot size, side setbacks, front setbacks, natural mixing of housing types, and probably minimum house size for a bunch of them. Plus, the charming little street itself is completely substandard when viewed through the lens of contemporary street standards. It’s the most lovable outlaw ever!

    Yeah, I’m talking about zoning again. That’s my character on this show.

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