The Georgia Trust

2007 PLACES IN PERIL: WREN'S NEST, ATLANTA

atlanta’s oldest historic house museum threatened by lack of funds

The Story: Originally constructed in 1870 in the West End neighborhood of Atlanta, this Queen Anne home was purchased in 1883 by the distinguished editor of the Atlanta Constitution, Joel Chandler Harris. Harris, author of the Uncle Remus stories, is credited with preserving the legacy of these African and African-American folktales. In 1913, the Wren's Nest opened its doors as Atlanta's first historic house museum. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962.

Threat: Today, the Wren's Nest is struggling to keep doors open due to diminished grants and low membership and visitation; it is currently operating in the red. The Joel Chandler Harris Association board has tried numerous avenues to boost activities and raise funds and has encouraged the use of the grounds for special events, but the future remains bleak.

Solution: The house is in excellent condition, having undergone restoration several years ago. However, there is a need for immediate financial assistance in order for the Wren’s Nest to continue operations. With so many new attractions in Atlanta, historic sites like the Wren's Nest struggle to remain viable. The Wren's Nest is just one of many historic house museums in similar circumstances, not only in Georgia, but nationwide.

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