The Herndon Home museum is a memorial to the Alonzo Franklin Herndon family. This 15-room beau arts classical style home was built in 1910 by Alonzo Franklin Herndon, one of the most successful businessmen in the country, the first black millionaire in the country, founder of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company; and his wife Adrienne McNeil Herndon, an aspiring actress, and one of the first 3 black professors at Atlanta University. Designed by Adrienne Herndon and constructed by African American craftsmen, this home was designated as a National Historic Landmark in the year 2000. It is one of a very small number of historic properties in America that “have exceptional value to the heritage of the United States.”
The exterior of the home is constructed of Stone Mountain granite, and richly textured pumpkin-colored brick, flecked with rose and purple iron deposits. Highly fired, and impervious to water, this durable brick was laid in extremely fine, thin mortar joints.
The interior of the museum draws upon various design traditions, including Italian renaissance, French rococo, and the neoclassical forms of the reception hall and stair hall. From the silk damask covered walls, and the rococo detailing of the music room, to the Persian rugs, and crystal chandeliers, this home is a fine example of upper income dwellings in the early 1900’s.
Built on Diamond Hill, (the highest natural elevation in the city of Atlanta), and located near the Atlanta University Center, the museum is open to the general public for tours. Group tours are available by appointment.
Visit the museum and learn more of the rich history of this remarkable African American family.