1926: Smith & Downing
In May 1926 the Constitution announced that “W. H. Schroder, of Atlanta, has purchased the beautiful Dutch colonial home at 239 Rumson road, Garden Hills . . . . The purchaser who has been living for a number of years in south Georgia where he was an official of a cottonseed oil company, recently returned to Atlanta to become secretary-treasurer of the Garden Hills Corporation.” The Smith & Downing-designed home was one of the first in the new development, purchased for $17,500 and surrounded by “dense groves of pine and hardwood.”
William Henry Schroder had moved from Albany, Georgia—where the 1920 U.S. federal census located him—to team up with Phillips Campbell McDuffie to develop and market Garden Hills. The two were close friends: McDuffie had served as a groomsman in Schroder’s 1911 wedding to Suzanne Spalding, daughter of Jack Spalding.
The Constitution ran several advertisements for the new development, declaring that “You Don’t Have to Be a Millionaire to Live In Beautiful Garden Hills,” and enticing future residents with a modern swimming pool, a charming country club, and exquisite parks.
The Schroder family was still in the home in May 1927 when Mrs. Schroder “entertain[ed] with an informal tea . . . to organize Garden Hill Woman’s club.” She was elected the club’s first president, and “the Garden Hills corporation . . . tendered the model home recently built in Garden Hills to be used as [the club’s] clubhouse.” The Garden Hill Woman’s Club still exists today as the Garden Hills Garden Club.
By the time the 1930 U.S. federal census was enumerated, the Schroder family had left 239 Rumson Road and moved to 160 Rumson Road, the Garden Hills Corporation’s Burge & Stevens-designed model home. That census found Emma (Diffenderffer) Oliver living at 239 Rumson Road with her daughter and granddaughter. The mother of Herbert D. Oliver—a seven-term president of the Atlanta Art Association—Dean died in the house in 1935.
The Schroder House last sold in 1995 for $450,000.
Atlanta Constitution. “Spalding-Schroder Wedding Is Beautiful.” June 2, 1911.
———. “You Don’t Have to Be A Millionaire to Live in Beautiful Garden Hills.” April 18, 1926.
———. “Beautiful Garden Hills.” May 5, 1926.
———. “New Home Bought in Garden Hills.” May 23, 1926.
———. “Garden Hills To Organize Woman’s Club.” May 6, 1927.
———. “Mrs. Schroder Heads Garden Hill Woman’s Club.” May 14, 1927.
———. “Mrs. Emma D. Oliver Dies at Home Here.” April 29. 1935.
National Register of Historic Places Inventory — Nomination Form: Garden Hills Historic District. 1987.