Rhodes Hall is one of a few remaining pre-World War I Peachtree Street mansions -- a significant reminder that Peachtree was once a fashionable residential street. The house was designed shortly after the turn of the 20th century by Willis Franklin Denny (at the time Atlanta's leading residential architect) as a home for affluent Atlanta businessman Amos Giles Rhodes and his family.

Its medieval-baronial-cum-High-Victorian-Romanesque style was inspired by Rhineland castles. The Stone Mountain granite exterior is replete with arched Romanesque windows, battlements and buttresses, parapets, towers, and turrets. A large Syrian-arched veranda wraps the east and north facades. The interior is grandiose, with maple- and mahogany-bordered oak parquet floors, mosaics surrounding the fireplaces, and a gracefully winding, hand-carved Honduran mahogany staircase with nine stained-glass stairwell panels depicting "The Rise and Fall of the Confederacy." The house and stables originally occupied 150 acres of land and included servants' quarters, a carriage house, and other outbuildings. When it was built, this site was in suburbia, an afternoon's drive from downtown.

Upon Rhodes's death in 1929, his residence was deeded to the state of Georgia in keeping with his desire to preserve his home. The house was entered on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Today, it is the headquarters for the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation and is in an ongoing process of restoration. To date, the original dining-room suite and some other furnishings are in place, and all the mahogany woodwork and decorated ceilings on the first floor have been restored. The original landscaping -- with white and red cedars, dogwoods, banana trees, and a circular flower bed -- has been re-created in the front yard.

You can see the house only by guided tour. On weekdays, the 45-minute Historical Tours explain Rhodes Hall's background while guiding visitors through the first floor of the house. The special Behind-the-Scenes Tours, on Sunday at noon, are comprehensive 3-hour experiences that explore the entire house.