Perspectives in Architecture: Wrecking Bar Brewpub’s restoration honors remarkable architecture

Classical style mansions owned by wealthy business and civic leaders lined major thoroughfares in Atlanta, such as Peachtree Street, from the 1850s thru the early 1900s.

Commercial development and freeway construction in subsequent years spurred the demolition of these structures. Built in 1900, the Victor H. Kriegshaber House has withstood commercial development along Moreland Avenue contributing distinctive architectural presence and history to Inman Park and in the entire city.

Victor Kriegshaber and his daughter in front of the house.

Architect Willis F. Denny II designed this four-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bathroom residence and other remarkable projects, such as St. Mark’s Methodist Church (c. 1903) and Rhodes Hall (c.1905) in Midtown Atlanta, before his death at age 31 in 1905. The stately, ornate style of Beaux Arts Classical Revival architecture for this residence fitted the debonair Kriegshaber. As Founder and President of the Atlanta Terra Cotta Company, he led numerous, local business, civic, philanthropic, and cultural organizations in Atlanta.

Following the 1924 death of Kriegshaber and commercial transformation of Moreland Avenue, the house changed ownership and use serving as the Centenary Methodist Church, a dance school, and the Wrecking Bar, an architectural salvage business owned by Wilma Stone from 1970 to 2005. Store closure of the Wrecking Bar precipitated years of building neglect until Bob and Kristine Sandage and Stevenson Rosslow lovingly restored and converted the structure into the Wrecking Bar Brewpub starting in 2011.

The dramatic, semi-circular porch and oval-shaped foyer still invite visitors to the creamy, yellow brick mansion partially covered with wood siding at the rear section.

Classical columns support a conical slate roof once capped with a wood balustrade and a covered porte cochere entry for the building. Terra cotta shell motifs over double-hung windows adds striking elegance to the exterior. Finely crafted fireplaces, cabinetry, and stain glass designs embellish fourteen-foot interior spaces.

Rosslow has been resolute to sustain the brewery and restaurant despite the pandemic. Most recently used for formal private events including parties and weddings, the main section of the building gives abundant space for dine-in customers to appreciate delicious meals and drinks. Mature trees along the edge of the property allow ample shading to customers with a preference for outdoor dining. The biergarten space in a rear building added by Wilma Stone reopens this fall.

Reflecting on the extraordinary commitment to rehabilitate this National Register of Historic Places landmark, Rosslow explains, “They don’t build buildings like this anymore.” With noteworthy experiences at the historic mansion, he and the current partners of the Wrecking Bar Brewpub continue the legacy of the Kriegshabers over a century ago by offering a “welcoming, gracious, and kind” place for gatherings.

 

Melody Harclerode, FAIA enjoys connecting the public to wondrous places as an award-winning architect, author, and Executive Director of Blue Heron Nature Preserve in Atlanta.

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