“We’re living in history,” said Van who, prior to purchasing the home in 1996, often admired it with Patti for its big porch.
Patti told Van, “One day I’m going to own that house because the porch reminds me of my grandmother’s.” Van said she couldn’t buy the house because “it’s a boarding house” but the very day a “For Sale” went up in the front yard. The Pearlbergs placed the house under contract by 6 p.m.
“We bought the porch and the house came with it,” Van said, chuckling.
The porch isn’t the only thing the Pearlbergs purchased as the house also came with a rich history. In 1907, Barry Simpson, a district attorney of the Cherokee Judicial Circuit that included Cobb County, built the home “between the Victorian and Empire style,” according to Patti.
“The story is that Mrs. Simpson built the house on the fly. She would walk to W.P. Stephens Lumber Company (on Church Street, off the Marietta Square) and pick out the actual pieces of lumber to build this,” Patti said.
A mixture of different woods is used throughout the home including solid mahogany and oak. “I don’t know if she was picking the wood to save money or if it was for actual style,” Patti said.
In 1923, Eva and Arthur Moor purchased the home and owned it until 1977. Eva, along with other women, formed the Marietta Music Club in 1951. The club met in the front room of the home known as the “Music Room” and was the seedling for the Marietta Symphony that became the Cobb Symphony Orchestra and recently renamed the Georgia Symphony Orchestra.
“You can see the fireplace cover has musical instruments on it,” Van pointed out. Van, deputy chief assistant attorney and city councilman for Ward 4, came to Marietta in 1973 when he moved from New York to attend law school in Atlanta.
He said during the 1940s — the “Bell Bomber Days” — the home was used as a boarding house. A sink used by boarders still remains in the hallway. Room numbers remain on the upstairs doors. The couple maintains a book with the boarding registry along with other historical facts and pictures.
“They were actually renting the rooms by the shift,” said Patti, who said they documented much of the history of the home through Elizabeth Moor Tomlinson.
Wanting to maintain the integrity of the home, the Pearlbergs made only one significant change to the house, a kitchen renovation expanding the area to include maids’ quarters for a breakfast room.
“We haven’t moved any other walls in the house,” Patti said.
The Pearlbergs used old cabinetry in the kitchen that Patti retrieved from an apartment building built in 1907 at Piedmont Park that she worked on getting placed on the National Register of Historic Places. “That apartment building was designed by Leila Ross Wilburn who actually designed some of the houses here in Marietta,” Patti said.
According to www.asclibrary.wordpress.com, Wilburn was one of only two women registered as an architect in Atlanta in 1920.
The kitchen bookcase was salvaged from a home in Chicago. The Pearlbergs’ cabinetmaker built around the bookcase, matching it for additional storage.
The home is full of appointments original to the house including a storage rack that hangs in the kitchen from a child’s bed from the early 1900s; hardware; claw foot tubs and tiling in the bathrooms; sinks; a chandelier; and pull chain lights. “We’ve tried to stay true to the house,” Van said.
Though the influence of prior owners remains apparent throughout the six-bedroom house, the Pearlbergs make their own history as well. The home is well known to many in the neighborhood for Hanukah and Christmas inflatables placed in the yard each December.
Their personality is seen throughout the home through the decor and an eclectic mix of artwork from all over the world that adorns walls and shelves. “What matters most around here is the art. Most of it tells a story. Some of it is expensive. Some of it is not, but it all has a story that goes with it,” Patti said.
With this old house comes a story of the past and another in the making.