Atlanta Buggy Company and Ware-Hatcher Bros. Furniture Company /The Carriage Works

National Register listed : 1992

For More Information Call : 404.681.5895
Site : winterproperties.com

Credits

Location: 530 - 544 Means Street, Atlanta, Fulton County

Original Builders: Atlanta Buggy Company, Ware-Hatcher

Dates of Development: c. 1903 - 1942

Boundary Explanation: The boundaries includes the intact c. 1903 Atlanta Buggy Company building, the remaining portion of the 1907 Ware-Hatcher building and the land on which both buildings sit of approx.1 acre. Because the surrounding landscape has been altered, i.e., a new parking lot replaces a building that was demolished, and loading docks were removed where historically shipping, and loading activities occurred, there is no longer a historic surrounding environment.

Statement of (Architectural)Significance: The Atlanta Buggy Company building and the adjoining Ware-Hatcher building are significant in architecture as examples of the utilitarian industrial design used for large manufacturing facilities during the early 20th century. Significant features include load-bearing brick walls, segmentally arched windows, heavy timber framing and flooring. Under industry, the property is significant as an example of early 20th century industrial activity in Atlanta. The buggy company used the space for carriage assembly, and later when the adjoining Ware-Hatcher Company expanded its business, the two buildings were used for furniture manufacturing. The buildings were used by other furniture manufacturers until the 1930s The property represents one of Atlanta's few remaining early 20th century industrial facilities.

Summary Description: The two-story, c. 1903 Atlanta Buggy Company building and the four-story, 1907 Ware-Hatcher building adjacent to the buggy company are both located in an industrial section northwest of downtown Atlanta. The Atlanta Buggy Company constructed its building as an assembly plant for buggies, including painting, and upholstering. The building is functional in design and features load-bearing wall/post and beam construction. The front facade contains a stepped parapet wall, and some cornice detailing. Windows are wood, double-hung 15/15 and 2/2. Interior open space, wood floors/ceilings, arched openings, sliding fire doors, and stairways remain. An Atlanta Buggy Works painted sign remains on the east wall of the second floor. A 1959 concrete block addition is located at the rear of the building. The red brick Ware-Hatcher building is utilitarian in design, and includes segmentally arched windows, a belt course, and a capped cornice. Wood, double-hung 15/15 and 3/3 windows, and metal, pivoted 2/2 windows remain. Interior wood floors/ceiling, a sprinkler system, doorways with sliding metal fire doors, an elevator shaft, and simple wooden stairs are extant. A four-story section of the Ware-Hatcher building was recently demolished. The Atlanta Buggy Company occupied its building until 1909, when it was sold to the Ware-Hatcher &Cos, Furniture Company. Ware-Hatcher had, in 1907, constructed the adjoining fourstory building and purchased the buggy works for expansion of their furniture manufacturing business. Shortly afterwards, in 1910, Ware-Hatcher filed for bankruptcy. The company was purchased by Southern Furniture Company who occupied the space until 1919, when it too went out of business. The buildings were then purchased by Fox Manufacturing, another furniture manufacturer, who occupied the buildings until it closed during the Depression.

Credits

 

Developmental history / historic context

According to deed records, Means Street was platted in 1869 by W. B. Bass as part of the McMillan Subdivision. The street names Ponders and Means come from early landowners--"Ponders" for Ephraim Ponder, who bought land from Alexander Means, and "Means" from the same Alexander Means.

According to map evidence, the Means Street portion of the subdivided was cut into small lots--narrow and deep and typical of lots in industrial areas where developers intended to house workers. No plat was found for Means Street or McMillan Subdivision, but a residential section following this pattern did develop on the north side of the street.

The south side was assembled early into large parcels, and has always been occupied by larger land users. The 1899 Sanborn map shows the dual land uses. The presence of Standard Oil Company on the block, from about 1896 on, presaged the direction of future land use on the north side of the street as well. The entire area around Means Street has changed over time, since the section along Marietta was once residential too. Now, just two blocks from the campus of Georgia Institute of Technology, Means Street is a remnant of the early industrial and warehouse corridor along the tracks of the Western and Atlantic Railroad (now part of the Southern system).

At one time brick warehouses dominated the corridor along the railroad tracks, however, the area has lost many of these structures to fire, urban redevelopment, and general modernization. Means Street is an anachronism and relatively unchanged from the early forms of this warehouse section. The street is a remnant in another sense: it is only half its original length. The portion of Means Street south of Ponders was demolished in post World War II railroad and road expansions. There are in effect two separate Means Streets, one (where the buggy company and furniture company buildings are located) which runs between Bankhead Highway and Ponders Avenue, and the other which runs between Northside Drive and Boss Avenue. Although they share a similar historical character, the two streets pieces have different appearances and are not, and apparently never have been, contiguous.

A man named W. R. Ware changed the face of Means Street. A furniture manufacturer, Ware was involved in a succession of furniture companies, beginning with the Fenley Furniture Co. founded in 1881, which Ware co-owned with W. L. Fenley. Fenley was the second furniture company to be established in Atlanta. The Fenley Company had a factory near Fourth and Ponders (exact location not known) in the 1880s, and in 1889, Ware had plans to expand into a new factory. What happened to the first factory and the proposed second is unknown, but Ware began assembling properties on and near Ponders, including parcels on Means Street. By 1900-1901, he succeeded in assembling the entire parcel of land. The land became familiarly known as the Ware or Ware-Hatcher properties.

In 1900, the Atlanta Spring Bed Company appears in the City Directory at an address which corresponds with this general location, and a 1910 plat of the Ware property confirms the location of the spring bed company building on the site which corresponds to the building now located at 512 Means Street. This building, later associated with the Block Candy Company, is the oldest structure in the former complex.

The second building to be erected was the original Atlanta Buggy Company Building at 544 Means Street c. 1903. The buggy company appears in this general locale in the 1903 city directory (with no street address, but "next door" to the spring bed company) for the first time; its exact location is confirmed by the 1910 plat.

Still visible on the roof line of the building is a painted "Atlanta Buggy Company" sign with a white star at either end indicating the trade name of the vehicles made by the company. The company was a full assembly plant for buggies, manufacturing wheels and bodies, assembling, painting, and upholstering them. In 1907, the buggy company bought property on lower Means Street (below Ponders) and opened a factory devoted exclusively to the manufacture of automobiles under the White Star label. In late 1909, or early 1910, the buggy company itself moved to new, larger quarters across the street from the automobile factory. Both the auto factory and the second buggy company building are now gone. The Atlanta Buggy Company filed for bankruptcy in 1913, with much of the land reverting to original holders.

In 1907, the Ware-Hatcher Bros. Furniture Company took out a single building permit for a series of five "ordinary masonry" buildings on Means Street, specified to be from one to five stories tall. No numbers, locations, or other descriptions were given on the permit. It is impossible to know which buildings of the entire Ware Plant were covered by the permit, but it is suggested they included all of the structures fronting on Means Street from Bankhead to the Jackson-Orr furniture company property line, as shown on the 1911 Sanborn map, exclusive of the buildings at 544 and 512 Means Street, which were already there, and which were connected to each other by the Ware construction. Thus, the Ware Furniture building would date from 1907-1908, the years in which the Ware buildings were permitted and completed.

Despite the history of the buggy company, and the candy company, the structures on Means Street were dominated by furniture manufacturers. First Ware-Hatcher, then Southern, then the Fox Manufacturing Company, occupied the buildings. Southern Furniture went out of business in 1919 and Fox Manufacturing apparently met its demise during the Depression. Morrow Transfer & Storage, a large local moving firm, used part of the buildings for storage in the 1920s.

In 1951 J. L. Mouchet of the Mouchet Corporation, dealers in textile salvage, bought the properties on Means Street. Mouchet had been a tenant in the buildings since 1944, sharing space for a while with a feed and seed company, and then, with an affiliated company, the Fulton Warehouse.

Currently, the 512 Means Street building remains vacant while the remaining portion of the Ware-Hatcher building, and the buggy company were recently rehabilitated, and are now used for office space. It is the remaining portion of the Ware-Hatcher building and the buggy company that is being proposed for National Register nomination.

Significance of property, justification of criteria, criteria considerations, and areas and periods of significance noted above:

Narrative statement of significance (areas of significance)

The Atlanta Buggy Company building and the adjoining Ware-Hatcher Bros. Furniture building are significant in architecture as good examples of the utilitarian industrial design used for large manufacturing facilities during the early 20th century. Significant features include load-bearing brick walls, segmentally arched windows, and heavy timber framing and flooring. These two buildings represent the typical utilitarian design used for industrial buildings during the early 20th century. In Atlanta, this type of historic building, although once common, is now increasingly rare due to demolition for new development or destruction by fire, neglect, etc. The majority of these buildings which survive are located in the Castleberry Hill Historic District (NR) southwest of Atlanta. Others, like the furniture building and the buggy company, are found in isolated pockets, usually along railroad lines.

Under industry, the property is significant as an example of early 20th century industrial activity in Atlanta. The buggy company used the space for carriage assembly, and later when the adjoining WareHatcher company expanded their business, the two buildings were used for furniture manufacturing. The buildings were used by other furniture manufacturers until the 1930s. The property represents one of Atlanta's few remaining early 20th century industrial facilities.

Description of present and historic physical appearance:

The two-story, c. 1903 Atlanta Buggy Company building (544 Means Street) and the four-story, 1907-1908 Ware-Hatcher Bros. Furniture Company building (530 Means Street) attached to the buggy company are located in an industrial section northwest of downtown Atlanta.

The Atlanta Buggy Company constructed its building as an assembly plant for buggies, including painting, and upholstering. The building is functional in design and features load-bearing wall and interior post and beam construction. The front facade contains a stepped parapet wall, and some cornice detailing. Windows are wood, double hung 15/15 and 2/2. Interior open space, wood floors, arched openings, and sliding metal fire doors remain. An Atlanta Buggy Company painted sign also remains. A 1959 concrete block addition is located at the rear of the building.

The red brick Ware-Hatcher building is utilitarian in design, and includes segmentally arched windows, a belt course, and a capped cornice. Wood, double-hung 15/15 and 3/3 windows, and metal, pivoted 2/2 windows remain. Interior wood floors, a sprinkler system, and doorways with sliding metal fire doors are extant. A four-story section of the Ware-Hatcher building was recently demolished.

The Atlanta Buggy Company occupied its building until 1909, when it was sold to the Ware-Hatcher Bros. Furniture Company. In 1907-1908, Ware constructed the adjoining four-story building and purchased the buggy company for expansion of the furniture manufacturing business. Shortly afterwards, in 1910, Ware-Hatcher filed for bankruptcy. The company was purchased by Southern Furniture Company who occupied the space until 1919, when it too went out of business. The buildings were then purchased by Fox Manufacturing, another furniture manufacturer, who occupied the buildings until they closed during the Depression.

In 1951, the buildings were purchased by the Mouchet Corporation, dealers in textile salvage, who occupied the buildings until the mid1980s. The buildings are now owned by Carriage House Associates, and have been recently rehabilitated for office space.

The surrounding area includes other historic industrial warehouse structures, new parking lots, vacant lots, and nonhistoric buildings.

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