Google+ Georgia On My Mind: A Clubhouse for Bobby

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Clubhouse for Bobby

Way back in 1896 a group of men formed a club to honor their favorite poet, and by 1907 they wanted to build a clubhouse.

What else is new, right? It begins in childhood – groups of boys want a hut or a fort excluding the girls so they can go about their “guy” business without any bossing from the females.  Just because the boys grow up doesn’t mean they are over the fact that they want “boy” time.
The Burns Club of Atlanta was no different. It was men’s only club, and they needed a permanent place to meet all their own.

Club member Joseph Jacobs of Jacob’s drugstore fame told the members if they found a suitable plot of land he would make the purchase, and over time the club could pay him back.  Mr. Jacobs had a little income due to a successful drugstore, and it was Jacobs who had made the suggestion to add a little carbonation to some newfangled drink called Coca-Cola.

The club had been meeting around Atlanta in various hotels. They wanted to find a place that was outside the city, but still close enough in that they could catch the last train after dinner to head home.
They finally found ten acres off Confederate Avenue in the Ormewood Park area, a suburb of Atlanta that was originally developed in 1892.  It’s a little hard to wrap my head around the idea that Ormewood Park was not in the city of Atlanta, but during the early 20th century it wasn’t.

The club members set about building a replica of a cottage in Alloway, Ayrshire, Scotland which happened to be the home of Robert Burns, the 19th century poet the club members honored.
Come on, you remember Robert Burns from your high school and college literature courses, right?  Burns is famous for poetic lines such as, “O my Luve’s like a red, red rose, That’s newly sprung in June…” and every New Year’s Eve we all remember Burns when we sing the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne

Club member Thomas H. Morgan, an architect set to work on building a clubhouse that was an exact replica of the Burns’ home in Scotland.
This website states…..

The interior of the house is also a close replica of the Scottish cottage, and was divided into the traditional four areas: but, ben, barn, and byre. At the far end is the but, which would have been the kitchen, dining room, and parents' bedroom. Next to the but is the ben, which would have served as the living room and childrens' bedroom. These two rooms are decorated with memorabilia from the life of Robert Burns. The assembly room, which replaces the barn and byre, is used for club meetings. The three fireplaces in the cottage are constructed of random stones with mortar joints raised and rounded. The fireplace in the center of the cottage has an inset stone plaque in memory of the poet. The only remaining outbuilding is a one-story stone caretaker's house, originally a log cabin. It was redesigned in 1969 to bear a closer resemblance to the cottage. The grounds once covered 10 acres and included a dance pavilion, barbeque pit and shed, a tennis court and putting green for club use and for rental to other groups. Changes to Burns Cottage include the rear addition of small, functional kitchen, porch and restrooms. The assembly room's original stone-flagged floor was replaced with a concrete one, a fireplace was added at the far end, and some of the small windows were closed.
Early on the cabin had a thatched roof, but eventually the Fire Marshall determined the roof should be replaced.

Since the clubhouse was finished in 1911 the Burns Club of Atlanta has used the building for their meetings. Once a year on January 25th they hold a special super to celebrate Robert Burns’ birth.
The Burns Club of Atlanta is said to be the city’s oldest continuing social, literacy and cultural organization. The club is private. There are no tours. The only way I could attend a dinner or meeting is if I’m invited by a member.

So, are there any members out there?
 The photograph with this post is used via the Tracy O'Neal Photography Collection at Georgia State University Library. It dates to 1944

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