The Swan House is one of the oldest standing mansions in the city of Atlanta. The home is a marvelous spectacle of 20th-century residential architecture that has yet to be drastically altered since its completion in 1928. It is no surprise to anyone familiar with the Buckhead community to find a mansion on that side of town. However, what sets the Swan House apart from other large homes in Buckhead is the architecture by Philip Trammell Shutze and the family that it housed. The Swan House is a symbol of Atlanta’s historically wealthy Inman family, whose influence can be seen throughout the city of Atlanta. Multiple generations of the Inman family had used their wealth to contribute to Atlanta’s public parks, historical research, and arts.
Photo of Swan House lawn, courtesy of Hamish Bowles (April 27, 2018)
Source: Vogue.com “A Visit to Atlanta’s Historic Swan House, Where Whimsy and Chintz Still Reign”
The Swan House was built as a home for Edward H. Inman, his wife, Emily Caroline MacDougald Inman, and their three children. Edward Iman’s property resided at the address 3099 Andrews Drive NW, which was his family’s second official residence. Edward Inman’s first residence was destroyed in an attic fire. The fire at the Iman residence not only resulted in tremendous loss of valuables but the family moving from their home at 205 The Prado NE not far from Ansley Park. Edward Inman was the son of Hugh T. Inman, a prominent Atlanta businessman in the late 19th century. Hugh Inman was one of the richest men in Georgia by the time he passed in 1910. Hugh Inman invested in the development of Ansley Park and gifted the property to his son Edward Inman. Edwards Inman’s last name afforded him numerous connections throughout Atlanta. Notably, Edward Inman served as a representative for several Atlanta city and Fulton County government agencies and an executive in many Atlanta businesses. Inman’s wealth and connection made him a prominent philanthropist.
 “Firemen are Overcome as Inman Home Burns: EDWARD H. INMAN AND SON RESCUE MANY HEIRLOOMS Councilman and Friends Rush into Burning Home to Save Paintings and Other Valuables. THOUSANDS ATTRACTED TO SCENE BY FLAMES Condition of Three Smoke Victims is Not Considered Dangerous–Loss about $25,000.” The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), May 05, 1924.
 “Mrs. Emily Inman Dies; Atlanta Social Leader.” The Atlanta Constitution (1946-1984), Dec 21, 1965, https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/mrs-emily-inman-dies-atlanta-social-leader/docview/1557720532/se-2?accountid=11226 (accessed April 18, 2022).
 Unknown, “Hugh T. Inman residence.” Digital Libary of Geogia. http://album.atlantahistorycenter.com/cdm/ref/collection/athpc/id/2019 (Acessed April 18, 2022)
Group portrait of Atlantans, (back row, left to right) Emily McDougald (Mrs. Edward Inman) and Edward Inman, in Atlanta, Georgia. Source: Atlanta History Center, Atlanta History Photograph Collection, Photo by Lancaster
Philanthropic endeavors were a quality that Emily Inman shared with her husband. Emily Inman was active in the Georgia suffrage movement starting in the 1920s. Ms. Inman was a member of the Equal Suffrage Party of Georgia. Following Edward Inman’s sudden death Emily Inman was named the executor of the Swan House and the family trust.  Emily Inman would continue her philanthropic activities, which may have assisted with managing the family’s wealth. In 1928 Ms. Inman sold the property at 205 The Prado NE to the state of Georgia. . The house on the Ansley Park property was known as the “Granite Mansion.” After Ms. Inman sold the Granite Mansion, it would then serve as Georgia’s Governor’s Mansion from 1924–1967.  Emily Inman lived in the Swan house until she died in 1965, and in an effort to preserve her home, she sold the property to the Atlanta History Center. The Inman’s had a great relationship with Atlanta’s cultural community and art organizations. Edward served on the Atlanta Art Association’s membership committee and on the board of directors in 1927. “the Atlanta Art Association looked like a list of who’s who in Atlanta’s society and included Emily and Emily Inman.” 
 “EDWARD H. INMAN.” The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Apr 17, 1931, https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/edward-h-inman/docview/501091755/se-2?accountid=11226 (accessed April 22, 2022).
 Mrs. emily inman dies; atlanta social leader. (1965, Dec 21). The Atlanta Constitution (1946-1984) Retrieved from https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/mrs-emily-inman-dies-atlanta-social-leader/docview/1557720532/se-2?accountid=11226
 Tammy Galloway, The Inman Family: An Atlanta Family from Reconstruction to World War I. (Mercer University Press, 2002). Page 124.
Title: Swan House (Edward H. Inman Residence) Boxwood Garden Ornament, Wall, and Stairway; Garden Temple (Not Built)
Source: Atlanta History Center, Philip Trammell Shutze architectural drawings, 1909-1971,
Title: Garden fountain at the Swan House
Source: Rodriguez, Alicia. “A Walk Through Time.” Landscape Architecture 88, no. 1 (1998): Page 75. http://www.jstor.org/stable/44672892.
Philip Trammell Shutze
Philip Trammell Shutze designed the building that would become the Inman Family home. The name “Swan House” comes from the carving of a swan on the fanlight and the swan motif displayed throughout the home’s interior.  Shutze was an infamous designer in Atlanta; his architectural prowess has contributed to several revered residential and commercial properties. Shutze’s influence helped to define Atlanta’s architectural Jazz Age. Shutze’s architectural style was a combination of the classicism he learned studying in Rome, Italy, and Beaux-Arts, which he was trained in at Georgia Tech.  Shutze’s method of combining modern technology and classical interpterion is on display throughout the Swan House. After the construction, the Inman property featured a baroque garden, a coach house, and a cow barn. Perhaps the most eye-catching feature of the property is the cascade fountain “based upon the model at the Villa Corsini.”  The cascade fountain is one of the many features that are not only impressive but beckons the onlooker or guest to notice the details increase as one gets closer to the entrances. Shutze held the Swan houses in high regard; he referred to it as his greatest home. Overtime Shutez’s admiration for the home never dwindled; he even celebrated his 93rd birthday at the property.  The Atlanta Historical Society was gifted a collection of Philip Trammell Shutze architectural drawings collections in 1976, which vividly displays the progression of Swan House’s built environment.
Photo of Swan House cascade fountain
Source: Own work, Author: Daniel Di Palma
 Ronald Smothers, “New Atlanteans join in, and the city has a ball.” Special to The New, York Times. (1988, Jun 06). New York Times (1923-) Retrieved from https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/new-atlantans-join-city-has-ball/docview/110516624/se-2?accountid=11226
 Lois Carlisle, “Other People’s Houses: Inside the Philip Trammell Shutze Architectural Drawings Collection.” Atlanta History Center. https://www.atlantahistorycenter.com/blog/other-peoples-houses-inside-the-philip-trammell-shutze-architectural-drawings-collection/ (accessed April 14, 2022)
 “Swan House” City of Atlanta. https://www.atlantaga.gov/government/departments/city-planning/office-of-design/urban-design-commission/swan-house (Accessed April 7,2022)
 BANDY JAY Journal, Staff Writer. “Designer show House A Tribute to Architect Philip Trammell Shutze.” The Atlanta Constitution (1946-1984), Apr 22, 1979, https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/designer-show-house-tribute-architect-philip/docview/1620455682/se-2?accountid=11226 (accessed April 20, 2022).
 Sylvia, Harmon “Diary of an Artist: “Looking for Jesus”.” Atlanta Daily World (1932-), Nov 16, 1980, https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/diary-artist/docview/491550370/se-2?accountid=11226 (accessed April 21, 2022).
Title: Swan House (Edward H. Inman Residence) Exterior
Source: Atlanta History Center, Philip Trammell Shutze architectural drawings, 1909-1971,
Atlanta Historical Society
When the Atlanta Historical Society (AHS) purchased the Swan House in 1966, the decision was shrouded in uncertainty. Although some members of AHS were eager to purchase the Inman family property, others had reservations. One of the AHS hesitations was the value of the Swan House, which included 25-acres on Andrews Drive. The AHS was able to make the purchase using a portion of the $8,000,000 the Historical Society inherited after the death of Walter McEllrath and his widow.  Ms. Inman thoroughly desired for her home to become the Historical Society headquarters. Ms. Inman spent many years cultivating her furniture collection, which is now an exhibit at the Atlanta History Center. Though Ms. Inman passed before the sale of the property could be complete, her son finalized the deal, Edward Hamilton Inman Jr. Most homes go transferred owners for a few years and are eventually destroyed to be replaced by something new. Unlike most homes, the magnificent Swan House can still be visited today, showing that some things are too fancy to get rid of.
 Pair of smiths to lead solons. 1967. The Atlanta Journal and the Atlanta Constitution (1950-1968)1967. https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/pair-smiths-lead-solons/docview/1635912405/se-2?accountid=11226 (accessed April 26, 2022).
Bandy Jay Journal, Staff Writer. “Designer show House A Tribute to Architect Philip Trammell Shutze.” The Atlanta Constitution (1946-1984), Apr 22, 1979, https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/designer-show-house-tribute-architect-philip/docview/1620455682/se-2?accountid=11226.
Forbes, Tillou. “ATLANTA STRIDES FROM DAY TO DAY.” The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Feb 25, 1917, https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/atlanta-strides-day/docview/496958890/se-2?accountid=11226.
“Firemen are Overcome as Inman Home Burns” The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), May 05, 1924. https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/firemen-are-overcome-as-inman-home-burns/docview/499262970/se-2?accountid=11226.
Daniel, FrFrank, “Fabulous . .. . .. for History.” The Atlanta Journal and the Atlanta Constitution (1950-1968), Jan 08, 1967, Sunday ed., https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/fabulous-history/docview/1636153227/se-2?accountid=11226.
Tammy Harden, Galloway. “The Inman Family’s Businesses.” In The Inman Family: An Atlanta Family from Reconstruction to World War I, 1st editioned. Mercer University Press, 2002.
Garrett, Franklin M. “A Short Account of the Atlanta Historical Society.” The Georgia Historical Quarterly 63, no. 1 (1979): 100–108. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40580084.
Sylvia, Harmon “Diary of an Artist: “Looking for Jesus”.” Atlanta Daily World (1932-), Nov 16, 1980, https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/diary-artist/docview/491550370/se-2?accountid=11226.
“Swan House Press Page.” The Atlanta History Center. https://www.atlantahistorycenter.com/swan-house-press-page/ (accessed April 21, 2022).
Lancaster. “Young Socialites.” 1900. April 20, 2022. http://album.atlantahistorycenter.com/cdm/ref/collection/athpc/id/16.
Mrs. emily Inman dies; Atlanta social leader. 1965. The Atlanta Constitution (1946-1984), Dec 21, 1965. https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/mrs-emily-inman-dies-atlanta-social-leader/docview/1557720532/se-2?accountid=11226.
Page, Max.”City History Museums,” The Public Historian 19, no. 4 (1997): 89–91. https://doi.org/10.2307/3379508.
Pair of smiths to lead solons. 1967. The Atlanta Journal and the Atlanta Constitution (1950-1968)1967. https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/pair-smiths-lead-solons/docview/1635912405/se-2?accountid=11226.
Andrew, Reisinger. “Atlanta History Center.” New Georgia Encyclopedia, last modified Mar 15, 2019. https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/atlanta-history-center/
Alicia, Rodriguez. “A Walk Through Time.” Landscape Architecture 88, no. 1 (1998): 68–85. http://www.jstor.org/stable/44672892.
Ronald Smothers, “New Atlanteans join in, and the city has a ball.” Special to The New, York Times. (1988, Jun 06). New York Times (1923-) Retrieved from https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/new-atlantans-join-city-has-ball/docview/110516624/se-2?accountid=11226
“Swan House” City of Atlanta. https://www.atlantaga.gov/government/departments/city-planning/office-of-design/urban-design-commission/swan-house Accessed April 7,2022).