Improvements needed to fully open Roswell’s Mimosa Hall

Mimosa Hall mansion was designed for Roswell founding father John Dunwody, built in 1841 and rebuilt in 1847 following a fire. CREDIT: HANDOUT
Mimosa Hall mansion was designed for Roswell founding father John Dunwody, built in 1841 and rebuilt in 1847 following a fire. CREDIT: HANDOUT

Mimosa Hall, a Greek Revival mansion purchased by Roswell in 2017, is still undergoing improvements to make the historic home more accessible for the public.

Structural improvements required at Mimosa Hall and Gardens will limit public access to the property for several months, said Roswell Recreation and Parks director Jeffrey Leatherman.

The city has no completion date for work on the house, and is still working to assess the cost to repair the house and grounds.

Roswell has designated about $450,000 in city funds for the repair work so far.

“We have a plan to make it safe and to meet the fire code,” said Leatherman.

The city of Roswell purchased the home from a private owner in 2017 for $2.95 million. Since then, $300,000 has been spent for structural analysis, tree assessments and fireplace repairs. That amount also includes nearly $40,000 towards a solar roof. Still to come is work on parking spaces and handicapped ramps, Leatherman said.

Parts of the landscape in the rear of the home could be dangerous. In 2019, metal grates were set over some holes on the rear grounds to prevent someone falling and becoming trapped.

“The reality is we still have assessments that we need to make on the property, so we are concerned that more of those exist,” said Leatherman during a recent City Council review of Mimosa Hall.

For now, only the front grounds will continue to be open for special events. On those occasions and for other private events, city staff and volunteers will be on the property to ensure visitors don't explore beyond the limited area.

Upcoming events at the property include the Mimosa Earth Fair that takes place on April 18 and Mimosa Festival on May 16.

Mimosa Hall, at 127 Bulloch Ave., was built in 1841 by John Dunwody, whose son Charles was the founder of Dunwoody. The original spelling of the family name was changed for the city. Other notable figures in local history owned the home including members of the Roswell King family, which founded the Roswell Manufacturing Company.

A.J. Hansell, a manager of the manufacturing company purchased the home in the 1860s. Although the home had subsequent buyers, it was last owned by his descendant, Sally Hansell, who sold the home to the city.

The nonprofit organization, Friends of Mimosa, is helping to raise money to restore the home and grounds.

“When we open, we want the property for everyday use,” said chairmain Mike Harris. ” We want to have something for people to come to for all types of events.”