Located at 303 Kennesaw Avenue, Marietta, Georgia the Archibald Howell House is one of the most historically significant homes in Georgia.  The property is located just two blocks off the Marietta Square in the Kennesaw Avenue Historic District.   As you can imagine, in the 175 years since this home was constructed, the property has seen many physical and socio-economic changes.  We spent some time with the current homeowner, who has lovingly been restoring this property for the last 40 years, and we researched local publications to better understand the property's history as well as the many features of this home.   

Here is what we discovered.  

For a private viewing or to obtain more information please contact Connie Carlson directly at 678-488-9646 or email [email protected].

  • Col. Archibald Howell oversaw the building of his Greek Revival mansion on Kennesaw Avenue.  Construction began on the home in 1838 and finished in 1843.  Howell claimed it cost eighteen thousand dollars, a large amount at that time.
  • The designer was Connecticut architect-builder Willis Ball, who designed at least three Greek Revival homes in Roswell, Georgia (including Barrington Hall, and  Bulloch Hall).
  • As one of the largest slave owners in the state of Georgia, it is believed that over 20 slaves helped to construct the home.
  • The home was originally built with a pedimented-gable roof and cupola.  In 1896 this was removed and replaced with the current hip roof.

  • The home was reportedly used by officers of both armies during the Civil War and it also served as a hospital to wounded soldiers.
  • Most notably, General Henry Moses Judah, a West Point classmate of Ulysses S. Grant, lived in the home.  Judah noticed the suffering of the local population and requested food rations to be distributed to Marietta citizens until the crops could be harvested.  His benevolence helped saved lives during the trying times of the war.
  • After the war, Howell fell into financial difficulties and ended up with a willingness to sell the home.  The home was eventually purchased in 1886 and became a school for girls.   The Harwood Seminary opened with 76 students in September 1887.  
  • It was around this time period that the state of Georgia approved Act 250, which created the first public-school system in Marietta.  While the public schools were being built, the Harwood School became the city’s first grammar and high school.   Marietta appreciated the school but had a hard time affording it during the Reconstruction.  The old blackboards are still painted on the walls, underneath the current paint and wallpaper.
  • In 1895 the school was sold on the courthouse steps to J.R. Winters for $4000.   Winters, in turn, sold the building to Moultrie McKinney Sessions.  He remodeled the home extensively, changing the gabled roof with its widow's walk to a hipped style, and adding a portico for carriages on the north side.  
  • The Archibald Howell house is listed in the National Registry of Historic Homes. 


For a private viewing or to obtain more information please contact Connie Carlson directly at 678-488-9646.

Interesting Facts

  • There used to be an underground tunnel from the basement and extending under Kennesaw Avenue and the railroad tracks.  The “Little General” used to secretly stop at the tunnel's end to off load food and supplies for local residents and troops during the Civil War.
  • The wallpaper in the front girl’s bedroom was custom made for the home.  The current owner’s daughter discovered the wallpaper at a Chinese restaurant in East Cobb and thought it fit the style of her room perfectly.
  • During the Civil War, Abraham Hoch Landis convalesced in the master bedroom after receiving war wounds.  Abraham Landis is the father to Kennesaw Mountain Landis who ended up being the first Commissioner of Baseball from 1920 to 1944.   He is remembered for the handling of the “Black Sox Scandal”.
  • The original carriage house was destroyed by a fire.  The current owner replaced it with the current seven-car garage/workshop.
  • The large walk-up attic still has a stage that was used for community dances and entertainment.  There is a set of steps that were used to access the copula before the original roof was replaced.  On the back of these steps you can still see where guest and children in the late 1800’s wrote their names.
  • The home is a beautiful site during the holidays.  The current homeowner used a  potato gun to install hanging lighted spheres.  It is one of the feature homes on the Maple Avenue Christmas Tour of Lights.

Features of the home…

The home features Doric columns that are constructed of stone and covered in stucco.  At 11’2” in diameter, they are rumored to be the largest columns on a private residence in Georgia.

The brick exterior walls are 24” wide and the brick interior walls are 18” wide.   Window sills and lintels are made of white Georgia marble.  The front steps and porch floor are made of granite were quarried from Stone Mountain, Georgia and delivered via ox cart.

The home features a basement, two floors, and an attic. Originally the kitchen and washroom were located in the basement.  A stage and dance floor occupied the attic for social dances and events.

General

  • Original heart-of-pine 6” plank wood floors throughout
  • Interior walls are 18” brick
  • Wall coverings consist of custom oak fielding paneling, hand-painted Chinese wallpaper, padded cloth wallpaper, painted plaster on lathe and ceramic tile.
  • Floor coverings include wide heart-of-pine, ceramic tile and quarry tile.
  • Interior trim moldings are custom baseboards, Chinese Pagoda-style window and door trim, custom tiered crown moldings.
  • Doors are paneled, solid-core with brass hardware.
  • 14’ ceilings on the first floor
  • 12’ ceilings on the second floor
  • 10 fireplaces – combination of gas log and coal burning, marble hearths, custom wood mantles
  • Custom casement windows
  • Central Foyer and Staircase
  • 3-Story staircase
  • Crystal chandeliers

Exterior

  • Doric columns are 11’2” in diameter and made of
  • Brick with stucco overlay added in the late 1800s.
  • The porch is made of large granite slabs milled from Stone Mountain
  • Foundation construction is brick on ground
  • Exterior walls are constructed of brick 24” thick with stucco façade

Front Parlor

  • Pagoda style doorways influenced by Chinese design.
  • Pocket doors between the parlor and the foyer.
  • Pocket doors between the parlor and the dining room.

Library

  • Double doors with brass ring accents
  • Floor-to-ceiling oak paneling
  • Built in oak bookcases flank the double doors
  • Gas log fireplace can also be wood burning

Dining Room

  • Hand-painted wallpaper from China
  • Gas log/wood-burning fireplace
  • Ceiling trompe l’oeil

Kitchen

  • Hardwood stained cabinetry
  • Brick fireplace with reclaimed old wood mantle that was purchased from the old Stephens Lumber yard
  • Double oven
  • Warming drawer
  • Electric cooktop
  • Trash compactor
  • Garbage disposal 

Sun Porches

  • Vaulted ceiling
  • The 21 light chandelier had to be dismantled to install in the room
  • Tiled floor
  • Ceiling fans
  • Plantation shutters

First Floor Guest Bedroom

  • Half bath with mirrored ceiling
  • Full bath features fabric wall coverings

Guest Bedroom Sitting Room

  • Was originally called the “Twin’s Nursery” and features “twin” wardrobes. 
  • The floor is painted black and stenciled.
  • Coal burning fireplace
  • French doors lead to the Gentlemen’s Sun Porch

Master Bedroom

  • Current owner constructed the bed from the neighbor’s porch columns
  • Tin ceiling designed by current homeowner and installed by a historic home renovation company
  • Coal burning fireplace

Master Study

  • Was originally a bedroom since the first two families that resided here had 12 children
  • The fireplace mantle is from the original owner’s childhood home
  • French doors to the side portico balcony
  • Cedar-lined closet
  • Coal burning fireplace
  • Wet bar

Master Bath

  • Double vanities
  • Seperate tub and shower
  • Built in drawers – including jewelry drawers
  • His/her closets

Front Bedroom

  • Venetian glass chandelier
  • Wallpaper designed by current owner’s daughter – she saw it at a Chinese restaurant in East Cobb
  • Coal burning fireplace

Back Bedroom

  • Coal burning fireplace
  • Separate sitting room overlooking back yard

Mechanicals

  • 100-gallon hot water heater served by public water source
  • 325’ deep well that 32 gallons per minute irrigates the property 
  • Security system
  • Four HVAC units
  • 11 Zone irrigation system that is serviced by a 325’ well

Basement

  • Temperature stays around 54 degrees
  • The original kitchen fireplace is still functional in the basement and you can still see the hook that where they hung pots
  • Notice the exterior wall and interior wall details – brick, space, brick
  • Coal room and coal boiler box location are still visible

Outside Amenities

  • Two working stone fountains
  • 20x40’ in-ground pool with 35000-gallon capacity
  • Pool house features a full bath, scored and etched concrete floors, and relaxation porch
  • Three dog runs each featuring their own septic tank and water line


Some of the publications that the home has been featured in:

Books:

First Hundred Years, by Sarah Blackwell Gober Temple.  Atlanta Cherokee Publishing Company 1980

White Columns in Georgia, Medora Field Perkerson, Bonanza Books 1952

Marietta Gem City of Georgia, Douglas M. Frey, Cobb Landmarks and Historical Society, 2010

Historic Highlights in Cobb County, Bowling C Yates,

Arabia, Sandra E. “Make a Splash In A Weekend.”Baths Summer 2000: page 22

Ferguson, Sara. “Picture Perfect.” Atlanta October 1991: pages 43-44.

Arabia, Sandra. “Do Something Different.” Bedrooms & Baths: issue #13 pages 51-53.

Meade, Sue. “Beautiful Homes – From Victorian to Civil War, Marietta’s Historic District Enchants Passers-By.” Marietta Daily Journal. September 14, 1999.