Atlanta Spring Bed Company - Block Candy Company

National Register listed : 1995
Site : winterproperties.com

Credits

Location: 512 Means Street, Atlanta, Fulton County,GA 30318

Original Builders: 1900-1909: Atlanta Spring Bed Company ;1928-1936: Block Candy Company

Period of Significance : The period 1900-1936 represents the period during which the building was occupied by its two primary historic industries: The Atlanta Spring Bed Company (1900-1909) and the Block Candy Company (1928- 1936).

Significant Dates : 1900 - Construction of Building:

Boundary Justification: The boundary includes the c.1900 Atlanta Spring Company - Block Candy Company building and the land on which the building sits.

Description of Architectural Classification : utilitarian industrial

Classical Materials: foundation: stone, granite; walls: brick; roof: asphalt

Historic Functions: INDUSTRY : manufacturing

Current Functions: COMMERCE:professional ;COMMERCE:business

Summary Description : The four-story, c.1900 Atlanta Spring Bed Company-Block Candy Company is located in the industrial section northwest of downtown Atlanta. The building was originally constructed to house a furniture manufacturing company and was later used as warehouse space, candy manufacturing company, and a textile salvage company. The building is functional in design and features post-and-beam construction and load bearing walls with first floor granite walls and upper floor brick walls. Exterior features include segmentally arched windows, recessed window bays, brick belt course, double-hung and center-pivot windows, and brick elevator tower. The interior features include the original Dowman-Dozier fire door, exposed mechanical systems including historic sprinkler system and exposed posts and beams with the first level posts resting on brick piers capped with granite slabs. The building has recently undergone a certified rehabilitation for use as office space. The Atlanta Spring Bed Company-Block Candy Company was once part of an industrial complex that included the National Register listed Atlanta Buggy Company and Ware Hatcher Brothers Furniture Company buildings, as well as others which have been demolished. There are no historic landscape features associated with the building.

Developmental history/historic context : NOTE: The following history was taken from the "Atlanta Buggy company-Ware Hatcher Bros. Furniture Company,," National Register Nomination Form, 1 July 1992.

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 was then occupied from 1928 to 1936 by the Block Candy Company which was established in 1866. This property is one of two surviving resources associated with Atlanta's first confectionery manufacturer started by the post-Civil War entrepreneur, Frank E. Block. The building at 512 Means Street is the Atlanta Spring Bed Company-Block Candy Company being proposed in this nomination. This 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 19071908, 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.

The Atlanta Spring Bed Company-Block Candy Company building, 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 Atlanta Spring Bed Company-Block Candy Company building that is being proposed in this nomination. The Ware-Hatcher building and buggy company were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.

 

Narrative statement of significance (areas of significance)

The Atlanta Spring Bed Company-Block Candy Company Building is significant in architecture as a good example of the utilitarian industrial design used for large manufacturing facilities at the turn of the century. Significant features include the masonry construction, segmentally arched windows, elevator tower, fire doors, and heavy timber framing and flooring. This building represents 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 this building and the adjacent furniture building and the buggy company, are found in isolated pockets, usually along railroad lines.

In terms of industry, the property is significant for representing early 1900s industrial activity in Atlanta. The building was constructed for William R. Ware, an Atlanta furniture manufacturer, who also built later buildings in the Means Street industrial area. The Atlanta Spring Bed Company, headed by John L. Coleman, was the original occupant of the space from 1900 to 1909. After housing several businesses, the building was then occupied from 1928 to 1936 by the Block Candy Company which was established in 1866. This property is one of two surviving resources associated with Atlanta's first confectionery manufacturer started by the post-Civil War entrepreneur, Frank E. Block. The Mouchet Corporation, a textile salvage company, occupied the building from 1944 till 1985.

 

National Register Criteria

The Atlanta Spring Bed Company-Block Candy Company is eligible under Criteria A and C for its significance as a good example of an early- twentieth century utilitarian industrial design and for its associations with the early 1900s industrial activity in Atlanta.

 

Description of present and historic physical appearance:

The four-story, c.1900 Atlanta Spring Bed Company-Block Candy Company is located in the industrial section northwest of downtown Atlanta. The building was originally constructed to house a furniture manufacturing company and was later used as warehouse space, candy manufacturing company, and a textile salvage company.

The building is functional in design and features heavy timber post-and-beam construction and masonry load bearing walls with first floor granite walls and upper floor brick walls. Exterior features include segmentally arched windows, recessed window bays, brick belt course, double-hung and center-pivot windows, and brick elevator tower.

The interior features include the original Dowman-Dozier fire doors, exposed mechanical systems including historic sprinkler system, and exposed wood posts and beams. On the first level there are brick and granite walls and posts resting on brick piers capped with granite slabs. The second floor or main floor has tongue-and-groove floors, brick walls, wood ceilings, and arched window and door openings. The upper floors have concrete floors, brick walls, wood ceilings, and arched window and door openings.

The building has recently undergone a certified rehabilitation for use as office space. The Atlanta Spring Bed Company-Block Candy Company was once part of an industrial complex that included the National Register listed Atlanta Buggy Company and Ware Hatcher Brothers Furniture Company buildings, as well as others which have been demolished. There are no historic landscape features associated with the building.

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