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Victorian home helped revitalize Atlanta’s Inman Park neighborhood

Q: I heard that a gorgeous Queen Anne Victorian home in Atlanta’s Inman Park played a role in the gentrification of the neighborhood. Is that true?

A: The Beath-Dickey House has long been viewed as an example of preservation, and in fact, its previous owner is credited with kickstarting the intown Atlanta neighborhood’s revitalization.

The three-bedroom, three-bath home at 866 Euclid Ave. was built in the ornate Queen Anne Victorian style by ice-magnate John Beath in 1890. Much like the neighborhood’s two-faced butterfly logo, the house represents both the past and the future.

“Inman Park was the first planned suburb in Atlanta, and the first lot that sold was to John Beath,” said current owner Andre de Winter, a real estate agent who purchased the home with his wife, Bobbi, in 2007. “He constructed this house, and in those days in 1890, the first homes that went in were Queen Anne Victorian.”

Beath sold the home to the Dickey family just five years later. The family owned it for about 50 years, until the neighborhood fell into disrepair. The stately Victorian was broken up into apartment units, where seven families lived, de Winter said.

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Then one day in the late 1960s, after the neighborhood had fallen victim to neglect, interior designer Robert Griggs drove by.

“According to a few of the old residents here, who are now in their 80s, Griggs was on his way to appraise a house on Poplar. There were old mansions there, and he was on his way to that property to appraise some old stained windows,” de Winter said. “He drove by our house here on Euclid Avenue, and he basically stopped his car. He loved the house, walked in, made them an offer and bought the house.”

The first time Griggs stepped into his landmark home, people were playing basketball inside the foyer and the doors were nailed open so that they couldn’t be shut, de Winter said the designer told him. But Griggs immediately saw the 5,024-square-foot home’s potential, he said.

The front porch columns are made of Italian marble, and there are eight fireplaces, one of which bears Beath’s initials inside.

Many of the rooms were designed in the octagonal shape characteristic of Queen Anne Victorian homes, but this home also was constructed around an organ built in 1874 that can’t be removed, de Winter said.

After Griggs decided to invest in Inman Park, the story goes that Griggs gathered about 40 investors who all promised to buy houses in the neighborhood and fix them up, said de Winter.

“And that’s how that whole revitalization started,” he said.

If you’re new in town or have questions about this special place we call home, ask us! E-mail q&a@ajc.com or call 404-222-2002.

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