The Kimball House - Atlanta, GA

no updates needed- last update - April 29, 2002 - Brenda Pierce


 Atlanta's Kimball Opera House

This Opera House also served as Georgia's state capitol from January 1869 to July 1889.

The destiny that ordained what would be Atlanta's 2nd capitol goes back to 1867 -
The Atlanta Opera House & Bldg. Association managed to obtain the SW corner of Marietta Street and Forsyth Streets and began construction of the five-story opera house.

By 1868 their funds were nil and the construction was stopped with only the outer walls erected.

We now go back to June 2nd, 1868 where at a receiver's sale the land where the opera house and the house were bought by Mr. Edwin N. Kimball for the price of $31,750.

During the following couple of months Edwin and his brother were pursuing the thought of outfitting this for the legislature's use. Their thoughts and proposition was such that Atlanta would rent part of the building for a period of five years at the cost of $6,000 annually and then turn over the rented portion to the state. They apparently believed the legislature would purchase or authorize the erection of a new statehouse at another location at the 5 yr end.

There were many problems with financials during the following year, since the proposal had not included lights, heating, furniture, etc. Governor Bullock had to arrange payments amounting to $54,000 in state funds to the Kimball brothers to gain these items. Bullock's lacked reporting these payments to the treasurer for the state and had to defend his actions by saying there were necessary for them to have a place to meet (Them being the legislature).

Jan. 1869 -
Ready for occupation by the State Legislature, however in August of 1869 E. N. Kimball conveyed the property to his brother - H.I. Kimball with the deed notating that the property was not encumbered with the exception of the $60,000 mortgage payable to the Northwest Mutual Life Insurance Company. Going forward by one year the state purchased the house and land for $250,000 in state bonds from H. I. Kimball without the knowledge of the mortgage that was outstanding. When the legislatures found out some wnated to return the capital to Milledgeville. When Atlanta Officials became aware of this they paid the mortgage by virtue of transferring it to the city and later canceled it.

Jan. 12, 1869

The Opera House from dome to basement, was brilliantly illuminated with gas.

About the House of Representatives so paraphrased from Atlanta Constitution

The house is brilliantly lighted by a circular of gas jets some thirty feet from the floor, and at least fifteen feet in its diameter. All around these jets was placed a fluted glass mirror, that threw the bright rays of light completely over the room, rendering all side lights completely unnecessary. The fresco work on the ceiling, and indeed all over the room, was really magnificent, and elicited loud marks of approval from all who visited the building.

A full length portrait of that brave old military chieftain and peerless gentleman, "Old Hickory," a man whose name will never, never die.


The Senate Chamber is very beautiful, though not so imposing as the House of Representatives. Over the seat of the President of the Senate is a full length portrait of George Washington, the first rebel known in American history, from the celebrated painting of Gilbert Stuart. It is very beautiful, and an ornament to the Senate Chamber.

The Supreme Court Library contains two full length portraits: the one on the left of the Hall representing Benjamin Franklin, the Printer, Philosopher and Statesman, and the other, on the right, of the gallant Lafayette.

The Committee rooms deserve special notice for the extreme good taste in which they have been arranged, but the apartments upstairs, the doors of which were all marked: "Sleeping Room--For Rent," were in bad taste to say the least of it. They might very properly have been reserved for the use of the attaches ' of the building, but the idea of making a cheap lodging house out of the top of so elegant a building seems really absurd.

In October 1870, the General Assembly approved state purchase of the Kimball Opera House, with records indicating the Governor Bullock paid $250,000 in Georgia bonds for the building. Twenty years later, the state would sell this building for $132,241.56, with the furniture bringing in a further $2,051. Later the Western Union Building was constructed on this site.