Welcome to the Landmark Commons era
The Taylor-Grady house has long been a fixture at 634 Prince Avenue in Athens. Built in 1844 by Robert Taylor, this property is Athens’ only National Historic Landmark. Since the 1960s, the home has been owned by the Athens-Clarke County government and managed and maintained by the Junior League of Athens.
When the Junior League didn’t renew its lease, a small group of volunteers was awarded the lease for the Taylor-Grady House. 634 Prince Avenue will now be known as Landmark Commons. The new name honors the historical importance of the Taylor-Grady House, while the word “commons” marks how this space will be shared and open to everyone for purposes that benefit all.
This bright future of Taylor-Grady House includes the entire property at this address – the historic home, the gardens, the original outkitchen, and the summer dining room. The mission of Landmark Commons is to be an open door for all to experience an inclusive history through education, preservation, and hospitality. This new approach makes Taylor-Grady accessible to all including elegant weddings and gala events. The new services will make possible a variety of meeting, training, and small event spaces with special rates for Athens’ nonprofit and civic services.
“Taylor-Grady House can still host elegant weddings, but Landmark Commons will give these agencies more opportunities to train staff and volunteers, hold local and regional meetings, and small professional conferences,” said board member Peggy Galis.
One of the goals is to bring to life the African-American past through historic interpretations, artifacts, and displays on the ground floor. While the ground floor was not initially granted in the ACC commission’s lease approval, a goal of Landmark Commons is to raise funds from grants and private donors in addition to the space rentals in order to restore and repurpose this space for scheduled public access. “Showing Athens that we really want to emphasize the African-American history of Taylor-Grady will take time. Our success will depend on our actions. But we are determined to make Landmark Commons a place where all feel welcomed,” said Board Member Hattie Whitehead. Landmark Commons will work with local historians and librarians to expand what is known about the enslaved and free men who contributed to the history of Athens and Taylor-Grady House.
With the planned restoration, Landmark Commons can become an interactive, experiential classroom for school groups, tours, and community events. “The Landmark Commons Board of Directors is excited to begin this new chapter for the Taylor-Grady House and surrounding property. We are committed to achieving our ambitious goals and invite community input as we move forward,” said Smith Wilson, Landmark Commons Board Chair. Landmark Commons is planning to host large community events such as Historic Athens Porchfest, Community Caroling, and a Christmas Open House. With the hiring of a House Manager, docents will be trained, and community-wide events planned with group entertainment, activities, and demonstrations.
Learn more, book an event, or get involved at www.landmarkcommonsathensga.com