The history of Allenbrook is in many ways a history of the triumphs and tragedies of the city of Roswell, Georgia. Roswell was named for Roswell King, a Connecticut Yankee who saw a vision of a new industrial city built on the roaring whitewater of Vickery Creek. From the 1840’s onward, mills were constructed on Vickery Creek and Roswell became a thriving industrial town. Sometime in the 1850’s Allenbrook was built probably as the home for James King, the son of Roswell King and an investor in the newly constructed Ivy Mill.
Built in the style of a brick Plantation plain Southern home, Allenbrook played a prominent role in the Civil War. As union troops of William T. Sherman ravaged the Georgia countryside, every factory and mill aiding the Confederacy was destroyed. However, when union troops arrived at Ivy Mills in July 1864, they noticed something very unusual. A French flag was flying over Ivy Mill. The obvious assumption hopefully to be made by union troops was that Ivy Mill was not a Confederate factory but was in fact owned by a foreign national and thereby should not be harmed. This grand deceit worked all of one day. When General Garrard arrived at the mill the next day, he observed the Roswell cotton cloth being made with the letters ‘C.S.A.’ being embedded in the cloth. That was enough. He ordered Ivy Mill to be destroyed by fire, its machinery thrown into the river and its millworkers and management arrested for treason.
Apparently most of these millworkers were women and they numbered about 400. Thus begins the story of the so called “Roswell women.” Forced to walk to nearby Marietta by Union soldiers in the hot Georgia sun, they were loaded aboard railroad trains bound for detention centers in Kentucky and Indiana. To this day questions remain about how many of these women returned to the South after the war had ended. In any event, the sheer brutality and callousness of this event calls into question William T. Sherman’s actions in the Atlanta Campaign. Surprisingly Allenbrook remained intact during this period.
After the Civil War, Allenbrook fell into a state of disrepair. The King family no longer owned the property and by the early 20th Century the old Ivy Mill was shut down In 1932, Mr. and Mrs. Barnet Bell of Atlanta bought the property and gave it its present name of Allenbrook. In 1978, the National Park Service purchased the land from Mrs. Bell. For a time in the 1980’s, the Roswell Historical Society was housed at Allenbrook. Today Allenbrook is the headquarters for National Park offices.
Allenbrook is an example of a Southern “plain style” brick plantation home.
Research other historic homes in the Roswell area. How is Allenbrook different, or alike, from these homes?
Research the location of Allenbrook. Why was Allenbrook located where it was?
What were the advantages of this location?
How should Allenbrook be managed by the National Park Service? Offer three probable management approaches to its utilization. With a partner, write a one-page management plan. Be sure to describe your reasons for such a management plan.
Allenbrook: Historic Structure Report. Atlanta, Georgia: Hartrampf, Inc., and Office of Jack Pyburn, Architect, Inc., for Historical Architecture, Cultural Resources Division Southeast Regional Office National Park Service, 2004.
Gerdes, Marti and Messer, Scott. Chattachoochee River National Recreation Area Historic Resource Study, February 2007.
Hitt, Michael. Charged With Treason. Monroe, N.Y.: Liberty Research Associates, Inc., 1992.
“The New Georgia Encloypedia.” July 18, 2012. .