BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

SWAN HOUSE FIELD TRIP 5-23-08

Elisabeth Musser, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, attended The Westminster Schools and then received her B.A. in English and French from Vanderbilt University, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and graduated magna cum laude.
Though passionate about writing since childhood, Elizabeth's first book was not published until 1996. Two Crosses was the first of a trilogy set during both the Algerian War for independence from France (1957-1962) and the present day civil war in Algeria. Her work has since been translated into Dutch, French, and German.
Since 1989, Elizabeth and her husband Paul, have lived in Montpellier, France, where Paul serves on the pastoral team of a small Protestant church. The Mussers have two sons, Andrew and Christopher. Elisabeth wrote The Swan House, The Dwelling Place, and the third book "Searching for Eternity" (out 2007) is the third book in this trilogy.
Orly Airfield, Paris, France picture taken June 3, 1962 when the actual plane crashed that The Swan House talks about. The aircraft crashed on take off from Orly Airport in Paris due to faulty trim servo, motor, which impaired the crew's ability to properly trim the elevator. Basically the plane couldn't get off the ground and crashed.

June 3, 1962 actual crash - this made news all over the world. This was a Boeing 707 bound from Paris to Atlanta, Georgia. "This is where John Jason Middleton waved good-bye to his wife Sheila and then watched the plain as heavy streams of white smoke trailing behind the plane he became concerned."
" The plane screeched to the left, wobbling horribly for what seemed an eternity as the white smoke turned black. John Jason Middleton watched, horrified, screaming out loud as the nose of the plane struck the runway with the force of an earthquake, splitting the pavement apart. There was the sound of an explosion and then the airplane burst into fierce, lapping orange and blue flames." quote from the book. The plane held many of Atlanta's most prominent citizens. The death toll for people that lived in Atlanta was about 130.

Thirteen years before the plane crash that killed so many Margaret Mitchell (author of Gone with the Wind) was fatally injured in a street accident - she was hit by a car walking across the street. The plane crash was another tremendous blow to Atlanta and its people. Many of the people lost belonged to and ran the History Culture Arts center.


Below is the map that shows just how close Oakland Cementary and Grant Park were in relationship to each other. You can't see it here but the Swan House is close by as well.


This is the entrance to Oakland Cementary. It's beautiful. There are many amazing tomb stones inside this graveyard. In May 2008 there was a tornado destroyed many of the tombstones. This has been a tremendous blow to the cementary and downtown Atlanta. History has been destroyed. They are working on restoring the damage to bring back its beauty.
Tombstone of the Unknown Soldiers







Margaret Mitchell's Tombstone

Former Mayer of GA Maynard Jackson



Grant Park is being rebuilt and the homes here are in the millions.



This is where the ladies from the book club and I had lunch. It was a real treat. I've never been to a tea room before. It was a new experience for many of us that day.

The Swan Coach House is a 100 or so yards away from the beautiful Swan House. Here are pictures inside the coach house. They have an art gallery and gift shop inside.

This is the formal dinning room of the Swan House. The dinning room had hand painted wall paper that was called chinoiserie. It was in this room that Emily Inman showed off two swan console tables, which are attributed to Thomas Johnson, a noted London designer and carver of the mid-18th century. It is said that she purchased the set of tables for $700.00. They were very beautiful, ornate and painted gold. Special lights were made to light up the swans under the marble top tables. I wish I could have seen them light up. It must have been amazing. It gave you something to talk about and look at while you were eating that's for sure. The rug that they restored to the original style and colors wasn't so cheap it cost $140,000 - I'd hate to spill someting on that rug.

We were so fortunate to see the fountains working the day of our visit. The week before they had been turned off because of the water restrictions. The back side of the house (which was the entrance - but not used that way) housed the main bedroom of Emily Inman who enjoyed the view of the fountain and the gardens. The view was so refreshing and tranquill I see why she chose that room to be hers. I was quite surprised how modern this house was for it's time. It would be like any other house in Buckhead today. It was ornate but not overly so.
The Swan House was completed in 1928 for Emily and Edward Inman. This was their dream house where they were going to entertain and have a great time. They did so for three years until suddenly Edward Inman took ill and died. After his death Emily asked that her son to move in with her. He did and brought his family. Emily lived in the house until she was 89. The Swan House is on Atlanta's most-recognized landmarks. It was designed by Atlanta architect Philip Trammell Shutze and is named for the swan motif found throughout the interior of the house.

There are four bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, in this 13,000 square-foothouse. Emily Inman's bedroom features a mantelpiece from her former home. She had a 19th century English sewing table in her room that is one of the original furnishings recently found and returned to the Swan House. There had been a few fires in their other house so Emily had a couple of fire hoses installed in this house. She was going to put out the fire before it took out most of the house.
The use of floral wallpaper and fabrics was typical of early 20th century decorative tastes. The adjoining bathroom was custom-decorated by Atlanta artist Athos Menaboni with swans on the ceiling, stars over the dressing table, draperies painted on the mirors and painted green faux marble walls.
The inside of this house was very modern. They had electricity and running water. They also had heat. They went thru great lengths for none of that to be seen by the guests. Radiators were cleverly discuised. The floor vents were carefully cut to match the design on the Italian marble floor. It was just clever and very beautiful. Emily was a stickler in keeping her things very nice. Since this house was never meant for grand children she had to come up with some rules to make the house stay beautiful. One of her rules was to ONLY walk on the WHITE TILE in the entrance way and hall ways. If they stepped on the black tile you could see the skuff marks and that wasn't acceptable. There was also a beautiful stair case up to the family bedrooms. The children weren't allowed to use it. They had to go up the serve entrance were the maids went up. Emily didn't want them riding down or running up and down the stairs. The stairs were meant for herself and guests only.
The Atlanta History Center purchased the house and it's 22 acres of surrounding woodlands from the Inman family in 1966. In recognition of Swan House's significance, the Atlanta History Center logo is drawn from the floor pattern in the entry hall of the Swan House. In 1998, work on the mansion's exterior marked the beginning of a five-year, $5.45 million restoration project. Guided by historical research and expert paint analysis, workers stripped away layers of paint and repainted the exterior of the house to conform to its original appearance. Exerior doors, which had been painted black, were returned to their original deep blue color. The famous cascading fountains, their adjacant retaining walls and the cloverleaf fountains on the lower lawn have been restored.

This is Ashley and I infront of the History Museum. In the back of Ashley is the exact design of the entrance way to the Swan House. Now imagine only walking on the white tile. They had a display on slavery and all the turmoil of the 1960's. It was very fascinating and sad. This was in honor of Martin Luther's Birthday celebrations.


This is Barbara and Peggy at the Swan Coach House were we enjoyed a chicken salad lunch, frozen fruit salad that everyone raved about and chocolate swan dessert.
Ashley and Carol are enjoying their time before we actually ate.
This is Marie and Jackie who totally LOVED all the beautiful flowers we found and actually knew all their names. We were impressed.
Here we are - early and waiting for stuff to begin. Ashley is missing because she is taking the picture.
Now Ashley is in the picture and Carol is missing because she is taking the picture.
This is TULLIE SMITH FARM BARNYARD. There were several animals walking round.





These were the slaves quarters. They even had a small attic.

3 comments:

  1. Nora:

    Nice pictures...

    It looks like you ladies had a great time - sorry I missed it! I look forward to hearing about it during our meeting this month.

    God Bless,

    Chris Gant (craftercrazy@gmail.com)

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  2. Looks like you guys had fun!!

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  3. We did have a great time Chris and Laken. I wish we would have had more time so we could have seen everything. I think I would have gladly skipped the lunch to go exploring and see the rest of the amazing homes and the History Museum. Now that I know how to get there - I think I'll have to take my kids there and take our time.

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