Wells-Brown House

WELLSBROWNThe Wells-Brown House, a Stone Mountain landmark, was donated to the Society in March 2005.  The historic home was a generous gift from the Jordan Stokes Brown family  in memory of Josephine Brown Cervantes and Grace Brown Harris. It is the headquarters of the Society containing meeting rooms, exhibits, and archives.

The Wells-Brown House is an elegant early 1870s Neoclassical residence. Simple wooden Tuscan columns support the Greek Revival Portico and other Greek Revival detailing includes the transom and sidelights surrounding the front door.  Large, mature oaks anchor the front yard and a historic wrought iron fence lines the Ridge Avenue frontage.  Its second-story balcony affords a stunning view of the mountain.  Scored and painted to appear like stone, the Wells Brown House is one of three examples of early concrete construction within the village and one of the few examples in the state.

George Riley Wells, a Confederate veteran who served in Company D, 38th Regiment Georgia Volunteer Infantry and Stone Mountain-Tucker native, returned to Stone Mountain after the War where he became a prominent local businessman. He married Eliza Jane Hardman in 1866 and they moved into their new home in the early 1870’s with their growing family.  George, a devout Baptist, would outlive Eliza Jane by 14 years, remaining in residence in the Ridge Avenue Home with his surviving children.  While their two brothers died early, James Riley Wells and his sister Mary remained in the family home until their deaths.  James Riley became a village physician after completing his medical training at the Atlanta School of Medicine. He married but became a widower early on.  One interesting story told by the family is that his daughter, Janie Wells, etched into one of the downstairs windows her father’s name, Dr. James R. Wells, and his trade, Doctor. This etching is intact in the room that may have served as his office.

Dr. Wells passed away in 1945. His sister Mary remained in the house until her death in 1961. Earl McDonald acquired the property shortly after and it was under his care that the house was carefully modernized with central heating and air. McDonald lived there for a short period; then conveyed the house and lot to Josephine Harris Cervantes and her husband, Emilio. Josephine had roots in Stone Mountain and she and her husband, an exporter of art and crafts from Oaxaca, Mexico, would make their home in both Mexico and Stone Mountain. The Jordan Stokes Brown family donated the house in honor of Josephine Brown Cervantes and her sister, Grace Brown Harris.

In 2015, the Society learned that that lot adjacent to the house was on the market and acquired that lot, previously owned by the Marks Family, in order to ensure room for future expansion. We were able to pay off the loan in January 2016 and can now begin planning for the lot’s use.

The grounds of the Wells Brown House are beautifully planted and we are extremely fortunate to have a team of skilled Master Gardeners that volunteer their time to plant and care for our yard and gardens. In addition each Christmas, the house is lovingly decorated by a local gardening club, the Morning Glories, with natural greenery and beautifully crafted wreaths.

With its elegant two-story porch, well-appointed interior with historic furnishings, and beautifully tended grounds, the Wells Brown House is a great venue for small events and it is available for use by members or tours. For more information, call Rusty Hamby, House Manager, at 770-469-9891.

 

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