The Herndon Home, designed by Adrienne NcNeil Herndon, was built between 1908 and 1910, with Alonzo Franklin Herndon acting as general contractor. Construction of the home (except for the plumbing and electrical systems) was performed exclusively by African-American craftsmen.
The formally-composed building is constructed with multi-colored brick and features a two-story entry portico supported by Corinthian columns. One-story porches to each side of the building echo this theme in brick piers and wooden capitals. An elliptical fanlight over the main entrance and the balustrade above the full entablature of the building’s cornice add a distinctly Georgian Revival flavor to this imposing residence.
A sterling example of upper income dwellings in the early 1900’s, the Home’s interior draws upon various design traditions, including the renaissance revival forms of the reception hall and dining room, and the Rococo detailing of the music room.
Designated a National Historic Landmark in 2000, the Herndon Home is a lasting tribute to the hard work and talent of the Herndon family. The Herndon Home opened as a tour museum in 1983 and is open for tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Group Reservations are also welcome.
The Herndon Home Museum is operated by the Alonzo F. and Norris B. Herndon Foundation, Inc. The mission of the Foundation to increase the awareness and appreciation of the significance of the Herndon Family and the historical context in which the family lived and worked. The Herndons, one of the most prominent Black families in Atlanta’s history, sharply reflect the city’s distinctive development as a center for Black business, education, and culture. From Alonzo Herndon’s rise from slavery to leadership in the Black business community, the Herndons are unique resource of local and national significance in the interpretation of Black struggle and achievement.
The major areas for the interpretation of historical significance are:
- the histories of the Herndon, McNeil, Gillespie and related families;
- the context of Black history in Atlanta, the Southeast, and the nation from the 19th to mid-20th centuries, including economic and business development, political conditions, and social patterns;
- the family’s association with Atlanta Life Insurance Company, Atlanta University, and other social, civic, educational and economic institutions;
- design, construction, furnishings and lifestyle of an upper income, early 20th century residence;
- special interests of Herndon Family members, such as drama, travel, music, ancient glass and artifacts
The objectives of Herndon Home Museum programs are to:
- provide for the repair and care of the Herndon Home, Carriage House, and grounds;
- provide for the management and care of the Herndon family collection of furniture, furnishings, textiles, decorative objects, manuscripts, photographs, books and other materials;
- conduct regularly-scheduled tours of the Home Museum;
- exhibit the Herndon Family Collection and related materials;
- conduct a variety of educational programs that increase understanding of the Herndons and their history;
- conduct research on the Herndon Family and their historical context;
- publish information which compiles, interprets and promotes the history of the Herndons;
- promote awareness of the museum and its history through publicity in the various media;
- operate the museum and its program(s) with a trained corps of paid staff and volunteers.