Brick company building on Beltline could get recognition

Oscar-winning actress Holly Hunter was born in Conyers, Ga.

Oscar-winning actress Holly Hunter was born in Conyers, Ga.

Q: On the Atlanta Beltline’s Eastside Trail, what’s the history of the building with B. Mifflin Hood Brick Co. listed above the doors?

A: The brick building's past may earn it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, with its nomination being considered on March 3.

It once was the home to a brick and ceramics business founded in Atlanta in 1904 by B. Mifflin Hood, an engineer, inventor and businessman who moved from Philadelphia.

“When Hood arrived in Atlanta, he was shocked by the working conditions, abuse, and neglect of the convict leasing system, which allowed private companies to acquire prisoners for use as free labor and was widespread in the South at the time. He began fighting for reformation of the system and proudly advertised his own products as ‘non-convict’ brick,” according to the nomination on the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Historic Preservation Division website.

He also registered a number of patents and started a ceramic engineering department at Georgia Tech, it adds.

The one-story building at 686 Greenwood Ave. NE in Atlanta’s Virginia-Highland neighborhood was built in 1909. It grabs attention for its architecture, with large metal windows, some of which are arched, as well as its wide steps, a double front door and brick cornice and pilasters.

The building, which served as the brick company’s showroom and offices, nearly tripled in size in 1921, according to the nomination form.

“This addition includes a prominent entrance, marked by a parapet, which comes to a low-sloped point, and a panel, inlaid with the company name, ‘B. Mifflin Hood Brick Co.,’ spanning three bays over the door,” according to the nomination.

Located one block from Ponce City Market and a few minutes from Piedmont Park in the other direction on the Beltline, depending on how fast you run, walk, bike or stroll, the building has evolved into a new use, just like the popular pathway.

It now includes a single-family residence and the Brickworks Gallery, which opened in 2016.

Q: With the Oscars this Sunday night, I know about Joanne Woodward and Julia Roberts’ connections to metro Atlanta. But where in Georgia is Holly Hunter from?

A: Hunter, who won an Oscar for Best Actress in 1994 for "The Piano," was born on March 20, 1958 in Conyers. She was one of seven children and raised on a farm southeast of Atlanta, according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia.