City of East Point Historic Compex Established in 1986

Mayor Walter Ponder’s House is 
Donated to the City of East Point
and moved the the newly establisted
East Point Historic Complex

EPHS Gets a New Home

Excerpts from EPHS Meeting Minutes

The house was originally located on East Point Street, just north of the Post Office in the same block. It was the home of Walter Allie Ponder, who was the Mayor of East Point from 1981 - 1988.  


Excerpts from Minutes from the EPHS membership meeting held Sunday. May 25, 1986 at the East Point Avenue Methodist Church reveal that:
“The City is continuing interest in the society. Mayor Ponder reported on the house which the city moved from East Point Street to Spring Avenue and is giving to the East Point Historical Society. The city plans to build a chain link fence to enclose the house, to build a green house on the back of the lot and to build a parking lot, and landscape the grounds. A meeting on the following Monday will be a planning meeting to discuss the possibilities of the property and help make plans for making the house suitable for our society.  The society is excited over the future new meeting place for our group and is appreciative of the city’s involvement.”

From the EPHS membership meeting held Sunday. July 27, 1986:
“Mr. Olin Gunnin announced that the house the City has moved to Spring Avenue has had the foundation completed. The City is to let the east Point Historical Society use it for a meeting place, as well as a place to store and maintain artifacts concerning the history of East Point.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held August 9, 1990:
“It was noted that Ora Jean and Ashfield should get with Joe Johnston about the rules for use of the Historic House by the general public.”

From the EPHS membership meeting held on September 28, 1986:
“Olen Gunnin, a member of East Point City Council, reported that the Mayor and Council had voted to restore the house on Norman Berry Drive and that it was to be the home of the Historical Society. They are getting bids for putting a new roof on the house and hope to get into other work on the house when the roof is finished.  Any suggestion for changes needed should be presented in writing to the council. They plan to have a work room, office, and meeting place.  The house was given to the City of East Point by Mr. Earle Edmondson.” 

From the EPHS membership meeting held on October 9, 1986:
“Our committee on restoring the house on Noman Berry Drive met with the East Point City representative to discuss desired changes. Jake (J.T. Goen, Jr.) gave each board member a copy of the proposed changes which it is hoped the city will find feasible to follow.”

From the EPHS membership meeting held on November 23, 1986:
“ “Our New Home” Committee: consisting of Jim Fagan, Jim Sorrells, B.H Orr, J.T. Goes, Jr., reported that work was being done on air conditioning and heating, new wiring, new plumbing and re-replacing plaster with wall board, etc. It is hoped that we will be able to move in soon after the first of the year.” 

Our carbon copy of the thank you letter sent to Mr. W. Earl Edmondson


From the EPHS membership meeting held on January 25, 1987:“
Jake announced that the heating, air conditioning and wiring had been installed in the new building. Painting of the exterior  and interior was in progress. Discussion of the need for boxes to pack for moving had been held at the last Board Meeting. Good planning is necessary for best use of the wall space as there are many windows and doors in the new home.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held on February 12. 1987:“
Jake will try to secure a date from the Mayor as the when our new headquarters will be ready for us to move in. We need a date so we can make plans and get helpers.A discussion was held concerning a Dedication, Reception and Open House for the public, etc. No definite details were made.”“All of these plans will be made to coincide and co-ordinate with East Point’s Centennial Plans.”

From the EPHS membership meeting held on March 22, 1987:
“Jake reported that most of the painting seems to have been completed in our soon to be new home; that the sink has been installed in the kitchen and that electrical fixtures and window treatment are in the process of being completed. He announced that help will be needed when the moving date is set.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held on April 8, 1987:
“The “New Home” committee will meet with the Mayor as soon as possible to try to get a “date” for our move to our new headquarters on Norman Berry Drive.Our president hopes to have the dedication, Open House, pictures, refreshments and a reception for the Mayor and Council at our next regular meeting on June 7, 1987.”

From the EPHS membership meeting held on May 24, 1987:
“Jake Goen welcomed the honored guests, visitors and members. He then presented Olen Gunnin, who was representing the City government. Olen brought greetings from the Mayor, who was unable to be present. He thanked Mr. Edmondson, who gave the house to the City, if they would have it moved. Mr. Gunnin was the liaison between the City and those responsible for getting the work done to make the house ready for the society. 

He thanked Mr. Homer Jones, of the East Point building and grounds department, Mr. Bud Land and Mr. Clyde Miller of the electrical department who helped to get the very appropriate light fixtures for the house and Mrs. Mildred Finnell, who spearheaded the project of the East Point Woman’s Club of quilting and embroidering a most beautiful quilt. Six members quilted in and twenty-six membes did the embroidery. 

Mr. Gunnin stated that the Mayor was born in this house. He announced that there are tentative plans for further development on this site. The City hopes to build a structure to house the 1912 and 1925-26 fire engines and possible to develop a fire museum. A greenhouse to grow plants and flowers for use in City beautification projects; an amphitheater; an outdoor area for reception and weddings are all possibilities for the future. 

Mr. Gunnin announced that Mrs. Christine McDuffiee and Mrs. Ellen Hemperley were his committee to help look after the restoration of the house and he thanked them for all of their work. 

He officially presented the keys to the house to President J.T. Goen, Jr.

To try to answer the question about who built the house, Charles Thompson reviewed the tax records but was unable to pin point the builder. Mr. P.R. Byrd owned the land in 1912. He sold it to W.D. Morgan in 1914. It was eventually sold to Mr. Edmondson in 1986.

Jake thanked everyone who helped with moving from the old headquarters. He thanked all the members who provided and served refreshments for the reception and all who helped get the house ready for “open house”.

Jake gave some facts about the site of our headquarters. At one time it was called the “Cue Grounds” (1896) and had several springs and a deep well on the site. It was a place use for Bar-B-Ques, swimming parties, tennis courts, and other recreational events.”

From the EPHS membership meeting held on July 26, 1987:
“Jake announced that he had been notified by the City of East Point that the Historical Society would have to sign a lease for the use of the headquarters building for one year at a cost of $1.00 and this lease must be renewed each year. He also stated that the two front rooms would be reserved for use by the City. All of the materials which had been displayed in these two rooms would have to be moved and crowded into the rest of the building – including the meeting room which we were able to use only once for a regular meeting and now, there is no place for our library.

 Doug Purdie made a motion that we sign the lease, the motion ws seconded by John Huey and carried.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held on August 13, 1987:
“Ann Larcom presented a plan to the Board to hose a diner for the City Council and Officials in September to give them an idea of our goals for the Society and to hear from them concerning what they plan to do in regard to continuing our development of a historical center. 

Owen Bell made a motion that we contact Olen Gunnin about getting permission to use the large room for the dinner, seconded by Doug Purdie, and passed.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held on September 10, 1987:
“Owen Bell agreed to talk to Evelyn Reeves to see if she can expedite our getting a telephone soon.”

“The dinner to host the East Point Council will be September 24, at 6 P.M. in the headquarters building. The committee will meet after this meeting to make final plans and work out details. We hope the Councilmen and Mayor will let us know their goals for the Historical Society for the future years and several members of our society will present our goals for the Society for the next few years.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held on October 8, 1987:

“Jake announced that he had blue prints of the City’s plans for the historical site and that he had made suggestions to the City Council that the cold springs be used to supply a fountain for the area since “cold springs” is such a part of the history of East Point. 

He had also suggested the old school bell, which hangs in the tower over the City Hall, be removed and mounted at the historical headquarters to be rung on certain occasions. This old bell was used by the old Central School which was located where City Hall is now.J. D. Suttles made a motion, seconded by Louise Hunt, that Jake write a letter containing these two suggestions and give them to Olen Gunnin to present to the City Council. Motion carried.

Jake announced that we now have a hot water heater. He also mentioned the mail which the Society had received – most of it from other organizations and none of which required and answer.” [assumed to have been paid for by the city as it does not appear in the treasurer reports]

“After a discussion of the fire and security protection of the headquarters building, J.D. Suttles made a motion, seconded by Louise Hunt, for Jake to write another letter to City Council to advise them of this need to protect the building and its contents. Motion passed.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held on November 12, 1987:
“Stewart Byars, Publicity Committee Chairman said, in his report, that he had talked with Joe Johnson about a telephone and he was referred to Home Jones, as the person who would have to be contacted about this matter. Charles Gunnin agreed to talk to Olen Gunnin, our liaison to the Council, to see if he can expedite the matter.”

Minutes for January 1988 – February 1988 not available

From the EPHS Board meeting held March 10, 1988:
“it was reported that a Ginko tree would not be availale for planting on the historical grounds but another suitable tree would be given.”

“Stewart Byars reported that the placque size was to be reduced on the pacque to be placed on the Historical Society House showing Clenette L Todd and W. Earl Edmondson as the ones who donate the Historic House to the City of East for the use of the East Point Historical Society. He will get price on a smaller size.

From the EPHS Board meeting held May 26, 1988:
J.D. called for old business. Stewart Byars reported on progress in getting the placque. [for the outside of the house] He showed several sizes available and stated that Joe Johnson, City Manager would present them to the Council and report back to Stewart as to their choice of size to purchase. Joe reported that automatic switches had been ordered by the City and would be installed to control lighting at the entrances and in the building. He also advised Stewart to go ahead and put up the signs which had been purchased las year, to designate the various areas and rooms in the building (such as Library, Conference Room, etc.) A burglar alarm has been bought and will be installed. An insurance policy has been received; there is some question as to what it covers. He had a list of purchases to be made by the Landscape Architect, such as benches, fountain lights, etc. He state the budget was to include pool lights and a pool pump for the fountain, walks around the building and other signs.”

“The Mayor plans to bring up the question of our using the other two rooms in our building, at the next Council meeting. Handrails will be added to steps at the side and back of the building.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held on July 14, 1988:

Paragraph about setting up the foundation

A motion was made by Doug Purdie, seconded by Stewart Byars and carried, that the lease with the City for the Historic House be signed and returned to the City. Our lease expired at the end of June. J.D. and Owen Bell went over the new lease comparing with the old lease and, with the exception of some fancy words, found them to be basically the same.”

Discussion on reprinting East Point Pictorial History

From the EPHS regular meeting held July 24, 1988:
Owen Bell reported the Foundation is now a reality and requested contributions.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held August 30, 1988:
“Jackie Cooper made a motion, seconded by Ann Larcom for the Society to purchase a Logo cut for use in printing napkins for the reception and other things. Motion carried.”

“J.D. said each time a group uses the Historical House, they will be required to clean up before and after their event.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held September 15, 1988:
“On November 20, Anne Larcom has secured Ludlow Porch for our program. The East Point Task Force and the East Point Historical Society will sponsor this program and the meeting will be at the City Auditorium at 3:00 P.M. on Sunday afternoon, November 20th.

From September 25, 1988:
“In his report on the progress of the society, Owen Bell pointed out that the past

From September 24, 1988 handwritten notes in file:
“House lights have been installed – look nice.”

“In his report on the progress of the society, Owen Bell pointed out that the past ten years have been productive. We have a permanent house, a large collection of valuable records, memorabilia, and artifacts depicting past history. We have published two Historical books, have been chartered by the State of Georgia as a Historical Foundation, and in the near future we will receive the Tax Exempt Certificate from Internal Revenue which will make all donations to the Foundation Tax Exempt. This progress can be continued by both financial and personal assistance from everyone.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held October 13, 1988:
“J.D. Announced that the City is working to improve the grounds around the historic house with a patio, fountain, and a new brick walk up from the parking lot to the house, with wrought iron entrance way to the walk.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held November 10, 1988:
“By having the “City Task Force” co-sponsor this event saved the Society a $500.00 fee for the use of the auditorium. Mrs. Evelyn Reeves and Mayor Walt Ponder have helped in several ways. The City would handle the P.A. System.”
“Wayne Moore announced that the Hapeville Historical Society will hold its first meeting in the restored Church on Thursday, November 17th at 7:30 P.M. The Dedication of the Church will be on Wednesday, November 23rd.”

From the EPHS regular meeting held November 20, 1988:
‘Anne Larcom, Program Chairman, introduced the famous radio celebrity, Ludlow Porch, a former East Point resident. An evening of fun and questions was enjoyed by all.”


From the EPHS Board meeting held February 9, 1989:
“Anne stated that she had heard that our new Mayor, Bruce Bannister, had sent a letter to Joe Johnson, City Manager, requesting that he (the Mayor) be furnished with a list of all monies the City has spent on the historical Property. It was the consensus of our Board Members that this would be of no consequence to our Society.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held March 9, 1989:
“J.D. read a letter from Mayor Bannister, congratulating the Society for its efforts to keep the history of East Point preserved for the future and pledging his support for the Society.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held April 13, 1989:
“J.D. said, “The House, especially the bathrooms, had never been so clean as the are now.” He thanked Davis Caskey for a job well-done and everyone agreed to pay Davis $20.00 for a “good job”. It was suggested that J.D. as Davis if he would agree to clean the House about once a month on a regular bssis for pay. J.D. said he would talk with him.”

“Jake mad ea motion that a letter be sent to the Mayor and Council stating our being in favor of the City purchasing the property at the corner of Norman Berry Drive and Harris Street where one of the artesian wells is located in order to preserve it and create an attractive area with the well as a fountain and flower, etc.”

From the EPHS General Meeting held May 28, 1989:
“The President opened the meeting ringing the bell from the old Central Park Public School. He welcomed all to the meeting and thanked First Baptist Church for having our meeting.”

“It was reported that the Federal Tax Exemption Status of the Foundation for the Society had been approved. J.T. Goen, was elected Chairman of the Board of the Foundation. Letters are being prepared to mail to possible contributors among members and large corporation Foundations. Other members of the Board are J.D. Suttles, Doug Purdie, Owen Bell and Velma Hood.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held April 5, 1989:
“Beginning at 4:30 P.M. on April 13th, the National Register State Review Board will hold its quarterly meeting at the East Point Historic House. This meeting will conclude about 7:00 P.M. and will reconvene the next day, Friday April 14th, at the restored Wagon Works Building in East Point.”

“This is an honor and recognition for the East Point Community and we are pleased to be able to offer our facilities for the meeting on April 13th. Carole Griffith, an East Point resident and a member of our Society, is the assistant chief of the Historic Preservation Section of the Department of Natural Resources. She and other staff members of the State Historic Preservation office will be conducting this meeting which brings together the twelve appointed members from all over the State to consider all current nominations to the National Register of Historic Preservation. The format is very informative and these meetings are open to the public. But, because our Conference Room is small and not able to accommodate a large number of people, we are suggesting that our Board members be given the opportunity to attend this prelimiary session and that all interested East Point residents be invited to the proceeding at the Wagon Works on Friday.”

“Other concerns for our Society in April include co-sponsoring with the East Point Clean Community System the “Welcome Sweet Springtime Tour” on Sunday, April 16th. Tours will originate at 3:00 and 4:00 from the Historic House.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held July 13, 1989:
“B.H. Orr had made a very attractive sign which has been placed on the front of the house and Mr. Joe Johnson, City Manager, has agreed to have the electrical department install flood-lights so the sign will show up at night.”

“The East Point Garden Club wishes to decorate a Christmas Tree at the Historical House. Nellda Byars made a motion, seconded by Anne Larcom, that this be approved. Motion passed.”

“Stewart announced that the East Point Chamber of Commerce has re-organized. The Board voted to join the Chamber for $25.00.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held August 10, 1989:
“Jake reported that approximately 156 letters had been sent out by the Foundation and some monies received. The Foundation plans to send letters to members of the Society and then to business people in our area.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held October 12, 1989:
“Work on repairing the Historical House has begun. Aiding and gutters will be a part of the work to be done. Members were asked to thank the Mayor and Council for having this done.”

“Anne Larcom moved that we purchase an answering machine for the Society, Stewart Byars seconded, carried. Wayne and Stewart to purchase same.”

“As an added attraction for our yard dale on November 4, the old fire engine of the Fire Department will be on display.”


From the EPHS Board meeting held March 8, 1990:
“The CCS Tulip To Do tour will begin from the Historic House on Sunday, April 1. Ora Jean, Irene Nolan, Mildred Pierce, Kay Suttles and Anne Larcom will help with this. Tour will leave at 3 PM and return for refreshments.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held April 12, 1990:
“Ora Jean agreed to report the telephone being out of order and to report to the Building Department the need to have the broken window pane replaced as soon as possible.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held May 27, 1990:
“The Motion was made, seconded and passed, to accept a motion to amend Article VI of the Bylaws to read: “The Treasurer’s report shall run concurrently with th Bank Statement, closing date to closing date. This report shall be read at the Board Meeting but NOT at the regular meeting unless requested nad , then, it shall be the same report as read at the previous Board Meeting.” ”

“The Bar-B-Cue, to host the Historical Societies of College Park and Hapeville, will be held June 30 at the Old “Q” Grounds (now the home of our Historice House). Tickets have been distributed to the College Park and Hapeville Societies. They were given out to our members today. Melears, who is preparing the food, needs to have a report on the sale of tickets by June 26. Anne Larcom and Ora Jean Gunnin encouraged all of our members to buy and sell tickets.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held June 14, 1990:
“J.D. Suttles reported having seen the spotlight turned to face Norman berry Drive. This could have caused a bad wreck had it blinded a motorist. He reported this to proper authorities – it was corrected promptly. He suggested that all of us should be aware of the Historic House and help let any discrepancies be reported to proper city authority.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held July 12, 1990:
“A discussion concerning the use of the Historic House by citizens for various reasons, was held. The consensus of the Board was that it has become necessary that some rules by set. Ora jean volunteered to go with Ashfield to meet with representatives of the City to work out these rules.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held October 11, 1990:
“Doug Purdie announced that the City had put dead-bolt locks on the closet door where the CamCorder and other valuable equipment were kept. The keys have been put in a safe place for use by authorized personnel.”

“Ora Jean Gunnin reported on the use of the Historic House by the general public.  She was advised by Joe Johnson, City Manager. That permission to use the “House” would be left to the discretion of the Historical Society. The Board decided that permission would be carefully considered and limited to special occasions and to Citizens of East Point.”


From the EPHS Board meeting held January 10, 1991:
“Owen Bell reported that he had talked with Clean Community Commission about their recycling program. He wants to make a 15-20 minute film on the project to show the various groups involved and to help educate the public about what and how to save for recycling. J.D. Suttles made a motion to give Owen permission to do this, using the Society’s new equipment. Motion was seconded by Irene Nolan and passed.”

“Anne Larcom talked to Joe Johnson. He suggested that we have input in meeting with the Commission Development Association at the January 31st meeting with East Point City Council for exchange of ideas. She also discussed a Grant Application for a Grant Application for a Historic Survey. Bob West seemed to be the person involved and that the application should be turned over to the City.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held February 14, 1991:
“Mildred Pierce, from the East Point Clean Community System and also and active member of EPHS. Was present. She asked for permissions for the CCS to use the Historic House for Sundays, April 7th and 14th. Ora Jean Gunnin made a motion to allow the CCS to use the Historic House on these two dates. Motion was seconded by Franklin Harris and passed.”

“Ora Jean volunteered to find out what the City plans to do about the plaque to recognize the donors of the Historic House and report back to the board.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held March 14, 1991:
“Southern Bell Telephone Company advised Stewart Byars that our address in the telephone book will be changed to Norman Berry Drive in the next issue.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held June 13. 1991:

Carole Griffith provided some information on how a Survey can be made of potential historic sites in East Point. It would involve hiring a professional person, at a cost of $2000.00, who would determine which building could qualify as being historic. The Society then would have to decide if they are able to come up with the money for the Survey or possibly to apply for a grant.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held July 11, 1991:
“The City Manager, Joe Johnson, and Ora Jean Gunnin had a meeting to discuss the needs of the Society. Some items needed are filing cabinets shelving. A laminating machine and money.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held September 12, 1991:

“Jake Goen made a motion that tract lighting be purchased and installed in the ceiling of the hall. The motion was seconded by Franklin Harris. Estimated cost of tract lighting fixtures from Home Depot was about $200.00. He indicated that the City electrician would do the installation. It was unanimously voted to purchase this lighting.”


From the EPHS Board meeting held April 11, 1993:
“Mayor Patsy Jo Hilliard hosted a breakfast for the Business Men’s Club at the Historic House on April 6. Approximately 25 people were present. The Mayor has appointed an Advisory Committee, and following breakfast a meeting was held in the board room. Members of the Historical Society who helped were: Ora Jean Gunnin, Olen Gunnin, Katherine Abna, Carolyn Hodges, Mary Neil Brown, and Doug Purdie.”

“The City has agreed to mark off spaces in the parking lot. A handicap space will be designated.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held May 20, 1993:
“Some needs of the Society are a handicap ramp into the House and shelves for storing bound copies of the Southside Sun.”

From the EPHS Regular meeting held September 26, 1993:
“An announcement was made of the Flea Market which will be at the Historic House on Saturday, October 16 from 9:00am – 4:00pm”

From the EPHS Board meeting held November 4, 1993:
“Olen Gunnin reported the City has received word from Grady Hospital it is searching for a site in the vicinity of the Health Clinic which is operated by Grady Hospital, to build a building They have expressed a desire to purchase the property where the Historical Society is located. This will be vigorously opposed by the Society.”

From the EPHS Regular meeting held December 2, 1993:
“Flood lights have been purchased for the display room and will be placed in the four corners of the room for better coverage of the display. Plan are for this lighting to be installed next week.”


From the EPHS Board meeting held January 13, 1994:
“the Building and Grounds Department has agreed to build shelving for the storage room. The Historical Society will buy the materials and the City will provide the labor. The City has also agreed to build a handicap ramp with access into the house being at the rear of the building.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held February 3, 1994:
“Ora Jean reports 750 letters have been sent to residents of /east Point in a combined mailing with the City. It is a membership letter which tells about the Clean Community System, the Chamber of Commerce and the east Point Historical Society. Hopefully, it will bring in some new members.

From the EPHS Board meeting held March 3, 1994:
“The undertaking of this project [the need to clean the exterior of the Historic House building] with the help of the Teens at Work organization is planned for March 19 at 9:00am.” We served lunch that day.

From the EPHS Board meeting held April 7, 1994:
“Olen Gunnin reports tha the City Manager has assured him Grady Hospital no longer has plans to acquire the property where the Historical Society is located.”

“The Clean community System would like to use the Historic House from 1:00pm to 5:00pm on April 17. The floral tour of East Point will begin here. Refreshments will be furnished by C.C.S. and Pauline Peeples and Ora Jean Gunnin will serve as hostesses.”

From the EPHS Regular meeting held September 25, 1994:
“If anyone wishes ton donate a rose bush for the Rose Garden, in memory of or in honor of someone, contact the Clean Community System. The Rose Garden is located on Norman Berry Drive.”

From the EPHS Board meeting held October 6, 1994:
“A citizens committee has been organized for the restoration of the clocks – one on top of City Hall and the one at the MARTA Station. Organization in East Point will be asked to contribute to this fund. At the Board Meeting in November, it will be decided the amount to be contributed by the Historical Society. On November 22 the American Legion in East Point will have a fish fry and profits will go into the fund for the restoration of the clocks.”

“Olen Gunnin spoke with someone from the Building and Grounds Department regarding repairs to the porches at the Historic House. It was determined what was needed, and plans for a handicap ramp to be built were discussed.”