Circa 1915: P. Thornton Marye
A 1911 plat map of the newly established Ansley Park neighborhood listed James Dibrell Sparks as the owner of a lot on Seventeenth Street. Sparks was a Fort Smith, Arkansas-native and son of a wealthy banker who married Irene Thrash in 1907. The couple did not live long in Atlanta and Irene filed for divorce by April 1911 when the Constitution reported on their alimony hearings:
Petition for divorce was filed several weeks ago by Mrs. Sparks on the grounds of habitual intoxication, and at the alimony hearing Saturday Mr. Sparks sought to convince the judge that his wife knew all about his being addicted to intoxicants before she married him.
To substantiate this, he told the judge that once in Fort Worth, Texas, before he was married, he went to see her when he was so drunk that he could not get home again.
“So I slept out in her front yard under a tree all night long, and she knew it,” said Mr. Sparks.
He made other equally startling statements, and when his wife went on the stand to make her statement he kept interrupting her, and finally the judge ordered that he leave the court room.
The lot sold in February 1912 for $5,500 to Edward Lyle, a Columbia Law School-educated attorney at Southern Bell. Philip Thornton Marye designed an “eclectic Tudor” residence for Lyle which was completed on the lot about 1915.
Lyle was an active congregant in the Episcopal Church, so it was likely no surprise when the Constitution announced that “the Episcopal diocese of Atlanta had purchased [Lyle’s] fine brick residence . . . as a home for Bishop H. J. Mikell” for $30,000 in July 1919. Lyle removed to Brookhaven where he lived until his 1938 death. He is buried in Montgomery, Alabama’s Oakwood Cemetery next to his wife.
Henry Judah Mikell served as the second bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. The 1920, 1930, and 1940 federal censuses all found him living at 108 Seventeenth Street. He remained in the house until his death, and his successor bishops continued to reside in the house until sometime after 1979.
The Edward Lyle House was last sold in 2019 for $3.2 million.
Atlanta Constitution. “Court His Wife, He Slept in Yard.” April 30, 1911.
———. “Atlanta’s Strides, Day By Day.” February 17, 1912.
———. “Lyde [sic] Home Bought for the Residence of Bishop Mikell.” July 18, 1919.
Malone, Henry Thompson. The Episcopal Church in Georgia, 1733–1957. Atlanta, GA: Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Atlanta, 1960.
National Register of Historic Places Inventory — Nomination Form: Ansley Park Historic District. 1979.