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Column: Mansions served dual purposes
by Thornton Kennedy
Neighbor Newspapers Columnist
December 04, 2013 04:51 PM | 3234 views | 1 1 comments | 74 74 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Thornton Kennedy
Thornton Kennedy
The home astride the corner of Andrews Drive and Cherokee Road is called Rossdhu, though I remember it as the Suzuki International Learning Center, the music-centric preschool that occupied the Tudor mansion for five years beginning in 1976.

The use of the high-profile home as a school is but one example of the grand estates from that era being repurposed for education, or in at least one case as a dormitory.

From the outside 2900 Andrews Drive looks a bit like a centuries-old boarding school. With a grass tennis court, swimming pool and acres of manicured gardens and woods, it has the appearance of a private school. Walking through the halls of this masterpiece designed by Edward Dougherty, however, it is difficult to imagine it being used as such.

With a marble entryway, spacious rooms and an infinite number of windows and doors leading to terraces, it is better suited to entertaining. The home dates back to 1918, when it was built for Dr. Phinizy and Marion Calhoun when Buckhead was beginning to draw prominent residents to the northern suburb.

Now called the Suzuki School, it moved out in 1984 and today occupies a building on East Paces Ferry Road. Its former home is now on the market, making one of the most regal homes in the city of Atlanta available as a residency as opposed to, say, a school.

Perhaps the best example of a signature home being repurposed as a school is the landmark building at the heart of Pace Academy. Called the “castle” for its distinct turret off the front, it was built for John Ogden in 1931. Mills B. Lane, then the president of C&S Bank, which held the home in trust after Ogden passed away in 1938, helped the fledgling school acquire the home in 1958. Extensive renovations have occurred on just about all sides of the home since, but the campus maintains the feel of the residence so much so that the new upper school currently under construction will reflect that original design.

Then there is Glenridge Hall, the historic home of Thomas K. Glenn, the president of Atlantic Steel. The magnificent country estate was built in Sandy Springs in 1929. Today it is shrouded by acres of trees and gardens and surrounded by office parks off of Abernathy Road. Joey Mayson has lovingly restored the home to its original state so that walking through the door is like stepping back in time. On one of the back staircases, however, you can see some faint carvings that seem to be names and dates. They were left there by students from a time when Glenridge served as a dormitory for The Westminster Schools in the 1950s.

Buckhead resident Thornton Kennedy is a sixth-generation Atlantan. A former news editor of this paper, he can be reached at

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