There is one house in Atlanta that I have coveted ever since I was a child. Located on Peachtree Battle Avenue, the Evans-Cucich house is one of the very few Art Deco houses in Atlanta. Before I even knew what Art Deco was, I could tell that this house was unique. It certainly didn't look like the other the 1920s and 30s-era homes in my neighborhood. Built in 1935 and designed by Atlanta architect A.F.N. Everett, the limestone house has a rather dark past. The original owner of the home, Hiram Evans, was an Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Many of us who are native Atlantans grew up hearing rumors that a tunnel was built underneath Peachtree Battle connecting the Evans house to a fellow Klansman's house across the street. Then, sometime in the 1980s, I believe, the house was purchased by a man by the name of Cucich. I remember driving by the house in the 1980s and 90s and thinking "Someday, that house will be mine."
Fast forward to a few months ago. My friend Clary Bosbyshell (she and her mother Margaret are the talented design duo behind Margaux Interiors) emailed me late one night to ask me about a house with which she was fascinated. She wrote that she walked by it often, that it was the most interesting looking house, and that it looked like it had been foreclosed on. Before I even opened the attachment with a photo of the house, I knew that it was my house! A flurry of emails went back and forth. Clary, who also grew up in Atlanta, had long been intrigued by the house as well. We both did a little research on it and discussed the rumor of the underground tunnel. When Clary found out that the house was about to go on the market, she orchestrated a tour of the house with an agent. One dreary afternoon in March, Clary, Margaret, and I showed up with cameras in hand to see and document the interiors of the house.
What is sad is that the house is really in a state of disrepair. The limestone exterior still looks decent, but the inside...well...let's just say that it needs a lot of work. There are rotten floorboards, holes in ceilings, and a general foul odor. I even wonder about the condition of the flat roof. I'm not sure what happened to the previous homeowners nor if and how long the house has been vacant, so I suppose that I shouldn't belabor the condition of the interiors. But, I did take a lot of photos of the house for my own records. I wanted to share a few of them with you today. There are some interesting Art Deco architectural details both in the interior and the exterior of the house. You can tell that once it had been a most dazzling house. Fortunately for the house and for those of us who love it, the Evans-Cucich house is on the National Register of Historic Places. This is a godsend because it can't be torn down to make way for some horror of a new home. It's shocking how few Atlantans seem to have any respect for old homes anymore. I just hope that the new homeowners, whoever they might be, will restore and gently modernize it in a way that is suitable for both the home and the neighborhood. And no bad Art Deco flourishes, please!
And about that tunnel? We went down in the basement and found a padlocked door that we couldn't open. We wondered if it led to the tunnel, but I just don't know. Others who have inspected the house say that they found no tunnel. I guess that the rumor and mystery will remain for the next generation of Atlantans.
Apologies for the dark photos. It was dark both inside the house and outside as well, so taking decent photos was a bit of challenge!
Architectural detail shots of the limestone exterior
The entryway with Deco-style molding and detail.
The guest room had an interesting ceiling with those stepped insets. (Wish that I knew what the proper architectural term for this ceiling is!)
The home's original stair railing and newel post.
A Deco shaped doorway.
The kitchen's original refrigerator.
I'm assuming that the blue lavatory and toilet are original? What a great shade of blue.
There was an upstairs balcony that had been painted with a tropical mural by the most recent homeowner.
A Deco style telephone niche.
The Butler's Pantry.
The rear of the house.
The National Register plaque in front of the house.
All photographs copyright of The Peak of Chic/ Jennifer Boles