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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kimball House

The Old Kimball House was built in 1870 by Hanniball Kimball and stood in Atlanta for many years. After the first one burned down, another was built on a lot at Pryor Street between Decatur and Wall Street, near the Union Depot where the Atlanta Hotel stood until it was burned by Sherman in 1864. The cost was about $650,000. The six-story building was built of brick and painted yellow with brown trim and had a four-story open-air lobby filed with plants, flowers, and a 12-foot-water fountain. The House was also equipped with gas-light chandeliers, a central heating plant, laundry, billiards hall, and 500 hotel rooms. It also had sixteen stores and was the first building in Atlanta to have elevators and central heating. In 1883 a fire burned the building down, caused by cigar-smoking. The second Kimball House was completed in 1885 after funds were raised by Atlanta businessmen, George W. Adair, Henry W. Grady, Richard Peters and others. The second hotel had seven floors, 31 stores, 22 public rooms and 357 hotel rooms, and was built to be fireproof. It opened on New Year's Day in 1885.  During the 1940's the Kimball House had another fire.  I was a resident of 951 Edgewood Avenue at the time. News quickly reached us that people were jumping to their deaths.  Apparently, as the building aged and became outdated, the hotel declined because in 1959 it was razed for newer construction.