By Francisco Nelson,2014-06-17 16:41
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Tusquitee ...





    3340 Chatham Road, NW

    Atlanta, Georgia 30305-1140

    Last Updated July 29, 2007


    Tusquitee, the home of Anne Morgan Moore Colgin, was designed in 1952 by the noted

    Atlanta architect Lewis “Buck” Crook of the firm of Ivey and Crook. He was a protégé of

    and chief draftsman for Neel Reid and an associate of Phillip Shutze and James Means, all

    of the Georgia School of Classicists. The home is in the Southern Classical Revival style,

    which emphasizes the Greek Classical Revival with the Southern regionalism inspired by

    Thomas Jefferson. Therefore, it is often referred to as Jeffersonian Classical Revival.


     The purpose of this paper is for my own education. My special thanks and

    acknowledgment to William R. Mitchell, Jr. who wrote the book on Crook and the

    magazine article on my home,. Much of the information on Crook is from Mitchell’s

    writings. I am deeply indebted to Bill, as it is his book that led me to Tusquitee. (See




Tusquitee was completed in 1952 in the Buckhead section of Atlanta. It is in the form of a

    Greek revival temple house with a portico or projecting central pavilion, which Crook says

    in his Forward to Architecture of the Old South, 1926, “had no counterpart in Europe. The

    direct classicism of the revivalist in the temple form of architecture first gained a foothold

    in the South and produced our own great national style in architecture America’s

    independent contribution to the art.” The one and one half story or raised basement

    reflects “an interesting variety of the old houses in the lowlands of the South in which the

    principal floor is elevated several feet from the ground.”

Lewis Crook designed the house for Kiser and Emily Stephenson when they were in their

    mid-fifties. Even though they had no children, they wanted a spacious home that lent itself

    to entertaining. Kiser Stephenson owned a commercial air-conditioning, heating, and

    plumbing contracting business, so the infrastructure of the house is all commercial grade.

    The Stephensons named the house “Tusquitee” after the Indian name of her great-

    grandfather’s former pre-civil war summer mountain home in North Carolina. (See



The Atlanta home was built on a two-acre hill, but the front yard was graded flat.

    Consequently, the house appears to be one story, but a lower level is hidden by the grading.

    Light comes into the lower level rooms through “window wells” which are located behind

    the shrubbery in front of the long basement windows. The flat front yard conceals this

    lower level which houses the casual entertaining area.

     The back of the house, which also is in the temple style, has a brick patio, pierced brick

    walls, and stone retaining walls. In 1953, approximately 120 magnolia trees were planted

    along the property line to provide a privacy screen and a back- drop for the house.

The motif of the Greek fret or Greek key of interlocking square-shaped hook forms is a

    Crook trademark. It is repeated in five different mediums on (1) the limestone lintels over

    the front windows, (2) the iron work on the front porch, (3) the wooden front door,(4) the

    plaster crown molding on the fireplace wall , and (5) the wooden fireplace surround.

The façade of the house has a central pedimented portico or porch supported by four Ionic

    columns. The Ionic column is an elegant Greek column, with a capital which has volutes

    that look like upside-down scrolls. The Greek temple front has a pediment or wide, low-

    pitched gable of the roof with cornice molding enclosing the three sides of the triangle.

    The interior of the triangle is stucco. The brickwork is Flemish bond, a refined pattern

    consisting of bricks laid alternately with the stretchers lengthwise exposing the long side

    and the headers endwise exposing the short side. This pattern was often found in the finest ththbrick buildings during the 18 and early 19 centuries. The front porch is laid in hard


    clay brick in the basket weave pattern. The face brick is Colonial Sand Finish and 36,500 were laid.

    The slender curved graceful wrought-iron handrails and the porch railings, which were made by Golian Steel and Iron Co., contain the Greek key motif as well as the rosette pattern repeated inside on the mantel and the foyer stair railings. The front of the house has eight triple-hung windows inspired by Jefferson’s Monticello.

     The architect chose Standard Buff Indiana Oolithic limestone for the three front steps leading up to the porch, the copings on the borders of the porch, and the eight limestone paneled lintels and windowsills. All of the other windows have brick jack arches.

     The federal style front doorway has an arched fanlight window along with slender sidelight windows. The leaded glass work, ornaments, and wide lead cams (?), came from Llorens Stained Glass Studios. The front door is similar to Crook’s design for his own home in 1938 and was inspired by the Arlington House in Natchez, MS. The unusual screen door is louvered and was given to the Stephensons by a close friend who was also a contractor.


    The Stephensons loved the feeling of bringing the out-of-doors inside. As you enter the house, you ascend another set of steps with brass railings decorated with rosettes. This brings you into a wide foyer from which you may look through the living room and garden room to see the focal point -- the cascading, triple-shell, and fountain with a pierced brick wall as a backdrop in the brick garden patio. The entrance hall reflects a formal, symmetrical but open plan for a contemporary house, in which the outside becomes part of the interior. Double paneled doors open into the living room from the foyer and then from the living room into the garden room. The foyer, living room, and dining room, all have heavy dentil molding and the double doors all have pediment heads.

    The fireplace wall in the living room features niches on either side of the center fireplace with paneling treatment made by wooden molding applied over plaster dividing the wall. The fireplace wall also has plaster Greek key molding under the wooden dentil crown molding. The mantel, with exquisite ornamental facing, is supported by Ionic column pilasters. A pilaster is a shallow rectangular column over a base, attached to a wall as an ornamental motif. An Atlanta sculptor, Fritz P. Zimmer, designed and installed the composition ornament work of two pilaster caps and five rosettes. Also, the Greek key motif and rosettes are repeated in the fireplace surround. The mantel shelf or mantel-piece is curved in the manner of much older mantels. The fireplace is of Verde Antique Italian marble. Opposite this wall are double doors leading into the dining room. The doors are six panel/cross and open bible.

    Both the living room and the dining room have chair rails. In addition, the dining room has wainscoting, a facing or paneling of wood over plaster applied to the walls of a room or the lower part of an interior wall when finished in a material different from that of the upper part. The ceiling medallion for the chandelier is composed of plaster acanthus leaves. The


    dining room also brings the outside in with a bay window looking out to the rose garden. On the main level are three large bedrooms each with their own bath.

     The garden room is walled almost entirely in Twindow, a type of early thermo pane glass to give a view of the outside gardens. In 1997-98, the ceiling, walls, and floor were custom designed and painted to resemble a gazebo and continue the design of the gardens. The ceiling and walls were painted by James Chadwick and the rug was painted by Katherine Arnett. The exterior back of the house is also in the temple style. The garden room not only has double doors into the living room, the two windows flanking the doors are triple-hung and open from floor to ceiling so that one can pass through them and so that air could circulate

    The pine-paneled party room downstairs with pilasters and ceiling cross beams opens out onto a terrace of Cherokee stone. The fireplace is of Virginia Green Tremolite with a Columbia mantel. It is reached from the stairs by passing through an octagonal pine-paneled serving room or entrance foyer that has a pass-through bar into the downstairs kitchen. This unusual 8-sided room, reflecting the Adam style, has a tray ceiling feature and doors and cabinets paneled with arches and keystones.

    The other rooms on this lower level include a guest powder room, a servant’s room now an office, a full bath, a cutting room for flowers, a boiler room (each room is controlled by a separate thermostat), a storage room, a tool room, a laundry room and a double garage.


    Crook was born in 1898 in Meridian, MI and was the outstanding graduate of Georgia Tech’s department of architecture in 1919. While at GA Tech he met architects whose influence and works were nurturing an Atlanta outpost of architecture with the purpose and quality of McKim, Mead, and White’s still highly acclaimed “American Renaissance.” After graduation, he immediately went to work for the eminent Atlanta architectural firm of Hentz, Reid & Adler (HRA). Both Hal Hentz and Neel Reid studied at the Ecole Des Beaux Arts in Paris. The school gave more weight to aesthetic drawing and principles of design, scale, and proportion and plans than to engineering and construction. The Beaux-Arts ideal was an artist- architect who used historical styles as the basis of traditional, yet original design.

Crook and Neel Reid

    Lewis Crook caught the eye of Neel Reid, the HRA firm’s principal designer, and thus became Reid’s protégé and favorite draftsman. Crook’s specialty like his mentor, Neel Reid, thwas “traditional” design, the sophisticated eclecticism of the early 20 century in which the

    historical styles were knowledgeably and creatively adapted in the service of contemporary architecture. Crook accompanied Reid to England, France, and Italy on a sketching tour from April to July 1922. HRA had the Andrew Calhoun House on the drawing boards and their trip included gathering ideas and furnishings for this and other houses. They visited


    Italian villas, gathering inspiration for the design. Reid also purchased Italian antiques for the Calhouns to use later as furnishings. Shutze had given suggestions for places to visit in Italy, specific villas that would be used in the design. The final design of the house seems to be the result of a collaboration of Reid, Crook, and Shutze, with the important element of construction put into the hands of the newly formed firm of Ivey & Crook. This tour to Europe with Neel Reid was a high point of Buck Crook’s youth, education, and apprenticeship. Four years after this trip, Neel Reid died of a brain tumor at age 41, a tragic loss to architecture and his friends. Buck Crook grieved over Reid’s early death for

    many years, becoming unusually quiet, even tearful, at its mention.

    Crook and Shutze

    Long before the Bauhaus replaced the Beaux-Arts at GA Tech, Crook met an architect eight years his senior who had a life-long influence on his thinking, Philip Trammell Shutze of the Class of 1913. Neither man gave up traditionalism, nor practiced “orange-crate

    architecture.” During Buck’s freshman year, Professor Francis Smith announced that one

    of their own, Phil Shutze had won the Rome Prize, describing it as “the most sought after prize open to students of architecture.” Architects of the caliber of the great classicist, Charles F. McKim, had established this three-year fellowship for European study based at the American Academy in Rome, Italy. Shutze had gone from Tech to the master’s program in architecture at Columbia University and Buck first knew him when he returned from time to time to lecture or serve as a critic at Tech. The announcement of this award during Buck’s freshman year confirmed his choice of Tech as the right place to study architecture. The talents and accomplishments of his colleague became a life-long point of pride and inspiration, especially since they had close associations for many years beginning after Buck was graduated and they both worked for HRA, the firm to which Shutze’s name was added in 1927. In addition they both had offices in downtown Atlanta in the Candler Building. Phil Shutze in a 1953 letter described Crook as a fellow of uncommon attainment. “I have observed Mr. Crook, a friend of long standing, realize a fine career over the years since his sound academic training at Georgia Tech, his subsequent apprenticeship in the best possible traditions, and the right sort of influences in his early formative years, then finally his own practice for a long period under the firm name Ivey and Crook. Perhaps he has found his most sympathetic field in his house and church design, however, he has proven himself versatile enough to include among his work schools and all types of commercial buildings. Always in his approach to a problem he has chosen a straight forward solution, never extreme, not too far to the right or left, and has managed always to come up with a rational, reasonable, and convincing design.”

    Shutze believed that a good building should have the attributes of durability, convenience, and beauty.

    Ivey and Crook 1923-1967

    After his European trip with Neel Reid, Crook joined Ernest Daniel Ivey, another alumnus of Georgia Tech and of the Hentz, Reid, & Adler firm in forming Ivey & Crook in May 1923. Buck Crook was the designer and Ed Ivey was the supervisor of construction. Ivey was considered a specialist in all phases of construction. Buck had an inborn sense of beauty and a natural gift for design. The complimentary strengths in construction and design of the two partners in effect created one architect. Together, they designed and built


some of the most beautiful public buildings and homes in Atlanta for nearly half a century,

    including some 40 buildings for Emory University the red tiled-roofed, Renaissance

    classical marble halls and Lullwater, the current home of the president of Emory. Crook

    was a member of the SAE fraternity and designed the SAE houses at Emory, University of

    Georgia, and the University of Alabama where SAE was founded in 1856.

Ivey and Crook built many residences in neighborhoods planned along the lines of garden

    suburbs with curving streets that enhance and follow the natural contours of the hilly terrain with houses built on fairly large, well-landscaped lots. The Ivey & Crook’s service

    included a topographical survey to help in placing the house in the context of the terrain

    and neighborhood. Crook designed 34 residences in the northwest area of Atlanta where

    Tusquitee is located.

Crook and Southern Classical Architecture

Greek Revival is the only thoroughly American architecture with no counterpart in Europe.

    Jefferson, who favored the one-story and elevated half story off the ground house with a

    pavilion, inspired regional classicism of the South. The features of Southern Classicism also

    include balance, especially balancing wings, simplicity, restraint, harmony, and proportion.

    It also features a great diversity of exterior stairs with admirable specimens of wrought

    iron work. This southern Classical Revival is found scattered throughout Georgia,

    Alabama, and Mississippi. The heart and soul of the Greek Revival style belongs to the

    Deep South.

    Crook wrote “The Classic Revival type of domestic architecture which was evolved in the

    deep South … fulfills every requisite of our present day mode of living. It is elastic and

    simple enough for modern use and above all it possesses scale and proportion which is far

    in advance of what we are generally doing today.”

    Crook added, “The Greek Revival style readily adapts itself to present day use. It is the

    only thoroughly American architecture. The houses of the Classic phase, especially through

    out the South, fulfill every requisite of climate, convenience, and nationalism. They are an

    individual expression without parallel in the domestic architecture of Europe. They have a

    monumental quality. And yet into this monumental quality has been infused a certain

    charm - an elusive element when it must be combined with such stately character, but

    undeniably attained.”


Crook also in describing Atlanta’s Trinity Presbyterian Church, which he designed and

    attended. “The building is in the Greek Revival style of architecture, a style which was

    inspired by, but not copied from the buildings of ancient Greece. Only the ornamental

    details of the old architecture were retained. In America, the Greek Revival evolved into an

    original expression, which became a new style. It would be more appropriate to call it

    American Classical because it was developed independently in America. Thomas Jefferson,

    the foremost American architect of his time, introduced the classic forms into the young

    republic just as he had turned to ancient Greece and Rome for political inspiration.

    American Classical is the only style of architecture that we can truly call our own.”

Crook designed his own church and home in the American Classical style, but neither is a

    duplicate of any particular classical prototype. Crook used the style in his own manner and

    his designs were original creations. Adapting historical architecture for modern living

    became Crook’s hallmark.

Crook’s own house at 172 Peachtree Battle Avenue, built in 1938 was the prototype for the ththcontemporary 20 century classical adaptation and interpretation of 19 century Federal

    and Greek Revival cottages. Dr. and Mrs. C. A. Smith are the current owners. The

    Southern Classical Revival cottage reflected the single-story pavilion types that Jefferson

    had favored and that Crook embraced. The Period House was a widespread phenomenon,

    but many architects, sought to develop, or perhaps adapt, a style with a specifically

    American flavor. Crook sought a distinctly Southern style. Mr. Crook was one of the few

    designers in this area who successfully preserved the spirit, charm, and refinement of

    historical Southern architecture

Seven other Crook -designed homes in Atlanta that followed this prototype are as follows:

    ? # 517 L.E. Grant Residence (1948) - 72 Peachtree Circle (D. Jones -404-892-0578 ?)

    ? # 541 Julian M. Harrison Residence (1950) - 670 West Paces Ferry Road (former

    owner was Betty (Mrs. McKee) Nunnally)(current owners Paul & Mike Callaway

    404-237-1570 ?)

    ? # 555 Marcus M. Emmert Residence (1951) - 2915 Andrews Drive (current owner is

    Mrs. Neale M. Bearden)

    ? # 563 Fred W. Patterson Residence (1951) - 2959 Andrews Drive (current owner is

    David J. Tufts)

    ? #569 Kiser A. Stephenson Residence (1952) - 3340 Chatham Road (My home)

    ? # 574 Frank C. Owens Residence (1953) - 350 Blackland Road (former owners are

    Bob and Mary Jo Prater)(current owners James & Mary Meathe -404-846-7997 ?)

    ? # 669 Mrs. J.H. Starr Residence (1961) - 3330 West Andrews Drive (current owners

    are Carolyn Mellon and Paul Isringhausen)

Crook wrote in his Foreword to the Southern Architecture Illustrated in 1931,

     “Good taste in home building as a result of fine architecture does not necessarily mean

    that the house must be large or expensive in order to possess all the qualities which the

    layman associates with examples of fine architecture. The simplest cottage may be in much

    better taste than a house two or three times its size and cost, depending upon the ability of


the designer. The average home builder thinks in terms of size while the capable designer

    thinks in terms of beauty and economy which come from the right proportion of masses

    and scale of details that make for architectural perfection.”

After World War II, a national trend towards International Modernism seized the day. thCrook often called this “orange-crate architecture”. Despite the eclipse of early 20

    century traditionalism, Crook continued to produce this architecture into the 1960’s.

    Crook expressed this conservative architectural impulse quite simply:

    “To create a house of distinction and individuality requires a sense of proportion, a sense of fitness to its surroundings, and a regard for precedent.” Crook once told L.V. Benfield, a

    valued draftsman with Crook who drafted many of the drawings for this house. “There are

    cycles in architecture but people always come back to the classics.”


Merrill W. Newbanks was the contractor. O’Neill Mfg. of Rome, Georgia supplied the

    millwork. This included the outdoor blinds, the door pediment heads, living room mantel,

    and crown molding. The interior blinds were done like the Goddard house by J.P.

    Womack & Sons. Gabriel Benzur, who was an architectural photographer, photographed

    the house in 1954. In 1987and 1993, Anne Moore updated the kitchen and pantry to create

    a sitting area and updated and reconfigured the Master Bathroom and closet. Norman

    Askins, an outstanding Atlanta architect, designed these to complement the house and in

    keeping with the Crook tradition.



    The grounds of Tusquitee were extensively landscaped in the early 1950’s by Billy Monroe, Sr., a preeminent landscape architect. The gardens were designed to be an integral part of the architectural scheme in which the outside becomes part of the interior of the house. The original garden hardscape includes a dry rock wall and a formal courtyard patio with a curved, pierced brick wall softened by creeping fig and sasanqua camellias. The courtyard patio is of St. Joe brick, which is made in Louisiana of Mississippi mud. The rock retaining wall containing ferns, mosses and other plantings is topped by a 45-foot expanse of blue hydrangeas including Lacecaps. The brick courtyard contains formal boxwoods, Annabelle hydrangeas, ferns, ginger lilies, and two unusual double blossom dogwood trees.

    The original plantings include boxwoods, regular as well as satsuki azaleas, camellias, Southern yew, hydrangeas, a Chinese dogwood, Japanese maple, and Yoshino and Kwansan cherry trees. Many other plants and 120 magnolia trees survive from the 1950’s.

    Billy Monroe, Jr., also a landscape architect, did re-landscaping in the 1970’s. His work

    was distinguished by its elegance and the manner in which it complemented the home. Brooks Garcia, owner of Fine Gardens and a noted landscape architect, has updated and refined the grounds. The formal brick patio garden has been transformed into a shade garden and pond surrounding a fountain with cascading water into three tiered shells. Dale Hall who is the owner of Grasshopper Services currently maintains the garden and grounds.


    The rose gardens at Tusquitee have been totally revamped since 1987. Brooks Garcia, owner of Fine Gardens and a noted landscape architect, designed the current formal rose garden and other rose areas. Since 1997 Evelyn and Arthur Rose, well-known rosarians, and their son Michael have maintained the rose garden. There are 90 bushes including 39 varieties and ten classes: hybrid teas (38), grandifloras (9), floribundas (8), David Austin shrubs(8), polyanthas(5), hybrid musks (14), and old garden roses(6), 1 Large Climber, and 1 Climbing Tea.

    The formal rose garden has a central brick walk, an entrance arbor, and is framed with boxwoods and a fence designed by Evelyn Rose. The former roses, primarily Queen Elizabeth roses from 1955, were replaced with new bushes to provide an extended palette of color, more varieties and classes, and better production. Mrs. Colgin selected the current roses based on the following criteria: ARS ratings, exhibition rankings, performance in Atlanta, the peach and yellow color palette, and a broad range of classes and varieties. The grounds also contain a 30-foot expanse of Cornelia roses cascading over a seven- foot brick retaining wall in the driveway courtyard.



Lynn Starling, an ASID interior designer, worked with Mrs. Colgin to extensively decorate

    the interior of Tusquitee. The classical interiors are furnished with an emphasis on English

    and French antiques juxtaposed with unusual family heirlooms. Family portraits are by thth19 century artists as well as famous artists of the 20 century. The wide front foyer, reached by an interior staircase from the front door contains French antiques. The dining

    room features a pair of antique Japanese screens, English antiques, and a collection of glass

    sculptures of flowers by Hans Godo Frabel of Atlanta.


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