By Special to the Daily World
Designated a National Historic Landmark in 2000, the Herndon Home is the family mansion of Alonzo Franklin Herndon built in 1910. It is located on Diamond Hill at one of the highest elevations on the Westside of Atlanta. The home celebrates its 101st anniversary this year.
The Herndon Foundation will pay tribute to the legacy of the Herndon Home and to the Herndon family with a Centennial Celebration on Sunday, Sept. 11, at the Atlanta History Center. Entertainment for the evening’s festive event will include excerpts from the opera “The Herndons,” written, produced and performed by Sharon J. Willis. Honorary chairs for the occasion include Herman Russell, Ambassador Andrew Young and Ingrid Saunders Jones.
The Herndon Home is one of those historic properties in America that has gained exceptional value for its unique heritage as a great American home. The house was designed primarily by Adrienne Herndon, wife of Alonzo, and was built exclusively by Black craftsmen. The two-story 15-room house, Italiante Beaux Arts Classical in style, is an example of high society dwellings at the beginning of the last century. The Herndon Home will forever serve as a lasting tribute to the entrepreneurial spirit, hard work, and talent of one of Atlanta’s most extraordinary African-American families. More than 1 million visitors have toured this mansion to experience firsthand the lifestyle of the Herndon family and to gain a better understanding of Atlanta’s Black culture and history.
The house contains the original furnishings as well as those acquired later in the century by Alonzo’s son Norris. He was the second Black graduate of the Harvard Business School, and traveled extensively throughout Europe and Africa where he collected antiquities and decorative arts for what he envisioned as a museum in honor of his parents.
Born a slave, Alonzo Herndon went on to establish and operate more than one successful barber shop on Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta after the Civil War. One of these emporiums was elaborately decorated with marble flooring and a crystal