Once Mark and I began our research of the Hardaway Cottage. We were assisted by Mr. Mike Shaddix; the historian at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation. He sent us an amazing amount of information including building specification that had to be submitted to FDR through his holding company, The Meriwether Reserve. Included in those documents were multiple references to a home on Peachtree Battle Drive in Atlanta. Long story short, we decided we had to have a look for ourselves and we went! Not only did we go, but we knocked on the door and made a new friend! The current owner of the home graciously opened up his home to us and gave us a tour! We have now teamed up to research our sister houses!
Mr. H. W. Nicholes was a builder in Atlanta. He also brought his son an architect into the business and the company name, Nicholes and Nicholes, reflects that. In 1929 he built and lived at 549 Peachtree Battle Road. It appears that this was also where his son lived. This information was established by a register of Georgia architects. We have the documentation through building specifications that establishes the fact that Rebecca Hardaway (Mrs. Benjamin Hurt Hardaway Sr.) hired the Nicholes firm and visited this home, and she was so impressed with many of the features that she requested them in her investment home, the Hardaway Cottage, in Warm Springs Georgia. The Hardaway Cottage was completed in 1933. We know this because it appears in a copy of “The Polio Chronicle”.
We tried to figure out how the Hardaway family and the Nicholes family knew each other. Since the Hardaway family founded and operated a concrete company, Hardaway Contracting Company, it seems reasonable to think that they may have been business acquaintances. Nicholes was a well-known Atlanta builder and architect, and Hardaway developed concrete techniques that were replacing wooden bridges and other structures as we moved into the 20th century. Another possibility that could have brought them together may have been the good old fashioned family connection. A Mr. Joel Hurt brought Nicholes in on a building and development project. Benjamin “Hurt” Hardaway may have been the relative that introduced them.
The project that Joel Hardaway started and Nicholas tried to finish was the development of Cameron Court, a subdivision in Atlanta. According to documentation related to historic status filing for Cameron Court Mr. Nicholes faced financial stress that culminated in a bankruptcy. Due to the bankruptcy in 1926 Mr. Nicholes only completed half of the houses in Cameron Court and other builders stepped in to complete the subdivision. Apparently, the risks of building development were difficult then just like they are now! Mr. Nicholes developed homes in Cameron Court, Atkins Park and Druid Hills. Clearly this is not an inclusive list.
The home on Peachtree Battlle appears to be a combination of styles including Spanish the Hardaway Cottage is clearly Georgian. Common features on the exterior between Peachtree Battle Road and 78 Magnolia Street, (Hardaway Cottage) include the slate roof, brick construction painted white, quoin corners, and black shutters. On the interior both homes share the exact same hearth and mantel, stair style, bathroom tile in two bathrooms, and white oak floors. Additionally, both homes utilize a Jack and Jill style bathroom on the second story of the house, and they both have a sun porch with a red promenade tile floor.
I think that the two homes demonstrate the talent of Nicholes since he customized each home to the needs of the owner and the location. The Magnolia Cottage is a very early example of a home with handicapped access since it was built with a Sedgewick elevator. It was designed as a high end rental property for patients to the Roosevelt Foundation and wealthy families wishing to vacation at the warm springs. The rental patterns during the 1930’s included families who would rent a home for several months at a time either for vacationing or patient treatment. These two homes are a testament to the talent of the Nicholes father and son team.