Tour Stop 6
373 Park Avenue
Chris, Chris Jr., and Shelby Elizabeth Reilly
Style: American Foursquare
Don’t miss: Ask about Dr. Quillian’s built-in house organ
Built around 1903 by prominent Atlanta physician, Dr. Willard Earl Quillian, 373 Park Avenue has been through as many changes as Atlanta itself. Early maps show the tranquility of the street with Grant Park only a few blocks away. Both horse-drawn trolleys and “dummy” trolleys passed in front of the house on the way from downtown to the park and on to the Confederate Soldiers Home southeast of Grant Park. Portions of the original tracks peek through the pavement in front of the house.
In 1917, the Great Atlanta Fire began just on the other side of Oakland Cemetery and spread north, claiming over 1,900 buildings and leaving more than 10,000 people homeless. The damage from the fire changed the character of the area and many residents, including Dr. Quillian, moved away to escape proximity to the devastated landscape. Throughout the ensuing years, the house passed through various hands, serving as a church and a “social gathering” facility until it was turned into four apartments. In the conversion to apartments, new walls were erected, having the unintended consequence of preserving many of the original features of the home underneath.
When I-20 was built just three houses away and split the neighborhood in the early 1960s, the home was left to squatters and transients. In 1978, Cheryl and Tom Hall bought the house for $15,000 and spent the next 25 years returning it to a single-family dwelling before passing it on to the current owners in 2003. Since then, the Reilly’s have been working diligently to return the house to its former grandeur. Restored original features include the crown molding, eight fireplaces, and the original pocket doors. Substantial foundation repairs have also been made, and the kitchen and bathrooms updated.