1938 – 1954: The Merediths

merediths1938Kenneth Andrew Meredith was born in Liberty Center, Indiana about 1903 to John H. and Zella (nee Mott) Meredith. John H. Meredith lived in Muncie, Indiana and worked in the street car barn according to the 1907 Muncie (IN) City Directory. By the 1910 Census, John and Zetta [sic] Meredith lived in Grant, West Virginia and worked as a pumper on an oilfield. By 1911, John H. Meredith lived in Akron, Ohio and worked at Goodrich Company. In the 1913 Akron City Directory, John H Meredith lived at a separate address as Zetta Meredith. He worked as a fireman in Erie, and she worked as a housekeeper. According to Cuyahoga County (OH) Marriage Records, 1810- 1973, Zetta Meredith was divorced in Akron in 1914 and remarried John A. Canda in 1919.

Hazel Lamont Meredith (nee Lamont) was born in Cleveland, Ohio about 1906 to John and Mary (nee McMichael) Lamont.   According to census records, John was a native Scot, foundry moulder and Mary was a native of Ireland. According to the 1930 Census, Hazel L. Lamont was a 24-year-old dancer at a theatre and restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio.

Kenneth Meredith and Hazel Lamont were married on August 8, 1930 in Shaker Heights, Cuyahoga County, Ohio by Justice of the Peace William J. Zoul. Of note, W. J. Zoul was the same individual that married Kenneth Meredith’s mother to his step-father.

In the 1925 Cleveland (OH) City Directory, Zella H. Meredith was listed as a widow of John H. Meredith living at 2037 E 77th Street. This was the same address Kenneth A. Meredith was listed living at in subsequent Cleveland city directories. Kenneth A. Meredith was occupied in knit goods as a manufacturer’s agent in Cleveland, Ohio in from 1925 through 1930.

In Fall 1931, the Merediths had moved to Atlanta and resided at 2222 Peachtree Road, Apartment C3, Atlanta, Georgia. He listed his occupation as a manufacturer’s agent in the 1932 Atlanta City Directory.  He was admitted as a new member to the Capital City Club in 1931 according to a Capital City Club book on its first 100 years.

In Fall 1932, the Merediths resided at in an apartment building at 1765 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, Georgia. Ken Meredith listed his occupation in the 1935 Atlanta City Directory as salesman.

3150 Habersham Road

By Fall 1936, the Merediths resided at 3198 Habersham Road, Atlanta, Georgia. Of note, the residence at 3150 Habersham Road (just one or two houses south of the Merediths’ residence) was designed around this time for Mr. & Mrs. Tyndall by James C. Wise. The residence at 3150 Habersham Road is an English Tudor-revival and shares stylistic similarities to Meredith House on Hillside. The Merediths would likely have watched the Tindal’s house being built prior to purchasing their property on Hillside. It’s influence and possibly helping them to select their architect may have emerged from this house. During this time, Ken Meredith had his own wholesale knit goods distribution business located on Whitehall Street, Atlanta, Georgia.

The Merediths had a daughter, Lynn Lamont Meredith, born in April 1937.

By Fall 1938, the Merediths resided at 335 Hillside Drive, Atlanta, Georgia, according to the 1939 Atlanta City Directory.

Mrs. Meredith hosted the Northwoods Garden Club meeting at her residence on December 11, 1939 according to the Atlanta Constitution, November 20 and December 11, 1939.

In correspondence, the Merediths daughter, Lynn, wrote: “If you stand in front of the house facing Hillside Drive, we owned everything on the right to North Side Drive and to the left all the way to Powers Ferry with the exception of the Harry Summers House which later belonged to Henry Hirsch. We also owned the property across the street. Occasionally, my father would take his two favorite hunting dogs across the street to shoot quail.”

According to the 1940 Census (Military District 722, Buckhead, Sheet 9A), there were three residences on Hillside Drive between Powers Ferry Road and North Side Drive. Robert McConnell, Sr., a carpenter, and two of his sons were renting a house on east end of Hillside. Harry Sommers, a divorced auto dealer, was living with his male valet in a residence at 319 Hillside Drive. The census placed the total value of the residence at $14,000.   The Merediths lived at 335 Hillside Drive with Kenneth Meredith as head of household. Mr. Meredith was listed as a 36-year-old who completed four years of college, worked fifty hours in the week before the census was taken as a “nitted goods” [sic] distributor. Mrs. Meredith was listed as a 33-year-old who completed three years of high school and did not work outside the home. Their daughter, Lynn, was listed as a 3-year-old. Also residing in the main house was Jessie Freeman, a 38-year-old white female nurse, who completed two years of high school, worked 72 hours in the week preceding the census being taken, and was paid $600 per year. Henry Hood, a 28-year-old black male, was residing in the servant’s quarters / carriage house. Mr. Hood was listed as having completed four years of high school, working 75 hours as a Butler in the week preceding the census being taken, and being paid $10 per week. Hellena Robinson, a 34-year-old black female, was also residing in the servant’s quarters / carriage house. Ms. Robinson was listed as having completed one year of high school, working 75 hours as a Maid in the week preceding the census being taken, and being paid $10 per week.

In correspondence with the Merediths’ granddaughter, Lynda Packard, Meredith House was a mini “farm” and “the only place to get eggs and milk during [World War II].” The property had chickens, goats, a lamb, a horse, and dogs.

According to the Atlanta City Directory, Mr. Meredith was an early investor and the first listed President of Oxford Manufacturing Company. Oxford Manufacturing Company was an Atlanta-based men’s sportswear clothier. Kenneth Meredith was listed as President with Sartain Lanier, Thomas H. Lanier, and J. Hicks Lanier listed as Vice Presidents. Mr. Meredith remained listed as President through 1950. Oxford would go on to be listed as a publicly traded company on the New York Stock exchange.

Mr. and Mrs. Meredith were involved in numerous social clubs, including the Northwoods Garden Club, Tuxedo Hunt Club, Piedmont Driving Club, Capital City Club, and Lake Forrest Gun Club.

The Merediths daughter, Lynn, was involved in Girl Scout Troup 154, attended the Westminster Schools, and rode horses competitively.

By Fall 1950, there were four residences on Hillside Drive between Powers Ferry Road and North Side Drive. Two of those residences were on the south side of Hillside (280 and 286). Two of those residences were on the north side (319 and 335). The Meredith House was 335 Hillside Drive.

In the early 1950s, Kenneth Meredith had business interest in oil wells in Louisiana, including one called “Lynn Oil Company.”

In 1953, Mr. Meredith maintained residences both at 2220 Bay Road, Miami Beach, Florida as listed in the Miami (FL) City Directory and at 375 Fifth Avenue as listed in the New York City Directory. Mrs. Hazel Meredith passed away on June 30, 1953 while residing in the Meredith House. According to the architect and a newspaper obituary, she passed away inside the house after a fall down the service stairs.

From 1958 – 1962, Mr. Meredith also had a residence at 721 Hollow Tree Ridge Road as listed in the Darien (CT) City Directory.  He passed away on February 22, 1962 at his home in Delray Beach, Florida.

The main house at Meredith House was generally unoccupied from July 1953 through May 1954. Chris McLoughlin wrote: “During the time our parents [Dr. and Mrs. McLoughlin] were looking at the house and property with the idea of purchasing it, Julia Allen was a permanent resident in the servants’ quarters above the garage. During the time that the house stood empty before we moved in Julia was the housekeeper and caretaker [of Meredith House], but I have the idea that she had been the Meredith’s cook. . . . After we moved in, Julia and her dog named ‘Pistol’ stayed on as our cook. She lived there for as long as I can remember, and I have no knowledge of what became of her after we moved [in 1962]. George Wicker, who doubled as chauffeur, butler and yardman, came with us from Rivers Road. George lived in the servants’ quarters from time to time as suited his lifestyle. Eventually, George moved on and Charles Collins was hired as his replacement.”

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