J. Neel Reid: Architect of Hentz, Reid & Adler and the Georgia School of Classicists

Front Cover
William R. Mitchell
Golden Coast Publishing Company, 1997 - Architecture - 250 pages
For Neel Reid and this book we must think back seventy years and more, to another time -- of porte cocheres and sleeping porches, French doors and parterre gardens, trellises and pergolas, porticoes and fanlights, summerhouses and servants' quarters -- a time of classic but not antebellum columns, before the Great Depression and World War II.

We must envision an (always) ambitious, growing Atlanta, but with a much smaller population than today; with new, not-so-tall skyscrapers in a bustling downtown. We must envision a time before urban sprawl, superhighways, and jet aircraft; before air-conditioning, television, and shopping malls. It was a time of train stations, downtown department stores and movie palaces, swank apartment houses, and smart social clubs.

Let us picture this world that Neel Reid helped to build and to give form and style. And let us imagine a rare thing -- a Southern cultural hero -- yes, and a Southern gentleman as well, handsome and social, but a genius who was first and foremost an artist and tastemaker, not yet forty-one years of age when a brain tumor took him away: loved, celebrated, mourned, and seldom forgotten.

Let us reacquaint ourselves with this champion of architecture, gardens, and interior decoration, of fine arts and antiques, a leader of charm and style who helped to establish architecture and landscape architecture as professions in his region. And let us be aware that he and his partners and staff of interns and draftsmen from their Candler Building (beaux arts atelier) office/studio founded a Georgia school of classicists, spawned numerous careers and other firms, and set lasting professional and aesthetic standards.

We recall andcelebrate these achievements, especially of Joseph Neel Reid, known as Neel. His Southern genius for the classical tradition shines in this book. May it long survive in the handsomely proportioned pediments and elegant but fragile fanlights from his drawings and designs -- beautiful and abiding manifestations of American civilization from the first quarter of this century, providing inspiration for new schools of classicists in centuries to come.

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About the author (1997)

William R. Mitchell Jr. was a founding trustee of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. He is a cultural historian, historic preservationist, lecturer and award-winning author. His many books include monographs on architects such as J. Neel Reid, James Means and Keith Summerour. He has written text for books on Savannah, Atlanta and New Orleans. Classical America has called him "the leading authority on the architecture of Georgia." Mitchell is a founding trustee of the Southern Architecture Foundation, Inc.

Jim Lockhart has been photographing the architectural history of Georgia for more than 30 years. As photographer for the State of Georgia Historic Preservation Division, he has documented more than 2,000 nominations to the National Register of Historic Places. In 2002 he received an Honor Award from AIA Georgia for his contributions to historic preservation.

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