Learn About the Journey of Decatur’s Swanton House at January “Lunch and Learn”

swanton house

Head over to the Old DeKalb Courthouse on Tuesday, January 19th and learn about one of Decatur’s most transient buildings, the Swanton House!  If you’ve ever wondered why Swanton Way in downtown Decatur is so far removed from the house that also bears its name, this will be the lunch and learn for you!

From the DeKalb History Center

DECATUR – The January Lunch & Learn presented by our archivist Fred Mobley will chronicle the various plans for historic restoration that were developed and considered for the Swanton House in the early 1960s until the dedication ceremonies on December 10th, 1972.  Come learn the fascinating history of this house including the various concepts that were up for consideration.  and the final results reflecting not only on the practices of historic preservation of that period but the forces at play in the cultural landscape that landed the Historic Swanton House where it sits today.

The Benjamin Swanton House is one of the oldest structures still standing in Decatur – it has a log cabin as its core estimated to have been built about 1825.  The house was enlarged and updated throughout its long history, each change reflecting the popular trends of the times.

Utilizing his Master in Heritage Preservation and educational experience gained at the Jefferson Monticello Historic Landscape Institute, and the Georgia Historic Landscape Initiative Fellowship at the Cherokee Garden Library of the Atlanta History Center, Mobley will use resource materials from the DHC Archives to show the house’s changing history. Mobley received his Master in Heritage Preservation-Public History Track from Georgia State University in August 2010.

Free!  Bring your lunch.

Tuesday, January 19, Noon – 1:00 p.m.

Historic DeKalb Courthouse, 101 E. Court Square, Decatur GA 30030, Second Floor, Superior Courtroom

Love this old 1965 photo of the Swanton House provided by the DeKalb History Center.  This is while it still sat in downtown Decatur.

One thought on “Learn About the Journey of Decatur’s Swanton House at January “Lunch and Learn””

  1. The photo of the Swanton House brought back many memories. It shows the house as I remember it while growing up at 307 Ponce de Leon Place, which is about two blocks north of the original location of the Swanton House. As a young boy, I would walk in this direction for one of two reasons. First was that on the southeast corner of Ponce Place and West Ponce was the Huddle House where my mom would allow me to go and buy buttered toast and jelly. It didn’t cost much, maybe 15 cents and it was always “to go” which required the waitress to wrap and bag the tasty treat for my eating pleasure back home. Further south at the end of Ponce Place was the Swanton house. I recall reading the plaque in front telling the history of the house and speaking to a man who may have lived there or was taking care of the property. 1964 was the centennial of the Battle of Decatur so most of the kids in the neighborhood were aware of the historical significance of the house. It wasn’t until years later, when I was a teacher at DHS, that I learned about the log cabin underneath the siding. To the left of the Swanton House was a big hangout for kids like me in the mid Sixties and that was Jenkins Cycle and Mowers. Not only could you see the newest bikes but Jenkins also fixed flat tires and made other necessary repairs to keep young neighborhood kids like Paul Kane, the Latimer boys, Randy Sharion and myself on the road.
    There was a recent mention here at DM about former mayor Ann Crichton. During my first year as a teacher at DHS, I invited Mayor Crichton to speak to my civics class about the MARTA construction. Ms. Crichton arrived wearing a red dress and I have to tell you that most of the boys in the class, including myself (I was 21 years old, not much older than some of my students), didn’t pay much attention to what she said. She was one beautiful woman!

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