Jan 9, 2023 - News

Vine City's Wachendorff House at risk of demolition

A photo of an old vacant white house with a prominent turret like feature on the second floor

Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios

Historic preservationists are calling for one of Vine City's oldest houses — part of an assemblage of parcels on the market for redevelopment — to be saved.

Why it matters: The former home of Edward Wachendorff helps tell the origin story of one of Atlanta's most historic and fast-gentrifying Black neighborhoods.

Catch up quick: Wachendorff was a German immigrant who owned a nursery in the mid- to late-1800s that became one of the Southeast’s largest and helped give Vine City its name.

  • The home was moved to its current site from a few blocks away decades ago and has been damaged by storms and fire.

Of note: Though Sunset Avenue is a historic district — the home where Martin Luther King, Jr. raised his family is down the street — the Wachendorff house was not considered worthy of protection.

What they’re saying: James Arpad, the building's owner, told Axios the house's structural issues made finding preservation partners difficult.

  • “I tried upside down, inside out to find historically minded people who cared enough about it to help me save those buildings,” he said. “But I kept hitting a wall.”
  • The potential buyer, he said, has expressed no intention to keep the building.

The other side: David Y. Mitchell of the Atlanta Preservation Center tells Axios the nonprofit is working to make sure the building is preserved.

Learn more about the Wachendorff House and Vine City’s history


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