368 Ponce de Leon

The Story

368 Ponce de Leon, built as an apartment building in 1919 and most recently home to an eclectic arts center known as “the Big House on Ponce” may be demolished for condos. The 1 acre, tree-filled lot is next door to the Yaarab Shrine Temple. 

The property has recently been listed as an Atlanta landmark.

News 

History

368 Ponce de Leon Avenue was constructed as an apartment building around 1919. In its earliest days, the address was known as “Grove Park Apartments” and realtors advertised the four units to Atlantans looking to live on the “north side.” Rental ads described the house’s deep setback from the street, a distinctive feature for a residential property on densely developed Ponce de Leon .

Garages in the back of the property were rented out to early Atlanta car owners and the four apartments in the building housed a number of tenants in the years before and after World War II. “Prominent Physician” Dr. Allen Hamilton Bunce lived here with both his first wife, who died in 1939, and his second wife (nee Isabella Arnold). Dr. Bunce’s reputation in medicine was known nation-wide. He lived here until his death in 1965 and Isabella Bunce remained at the apartment until her passing in 1979. Allen and Isabella Bunce are buried together in Oakland Cemetery.

A historic postcard shows that the apartment building was also part of the Shady Rest Tourist Home which included several grand residential buildings along Ponce. The Shady Rest office and another annex were just east of 368 Ponce, however these buildings were demolished in 1949 before the construction of the Yaarab Shrine Temple.

​Most recently, 368 Ponce served as an arts and events space known locally as the “Big House on Ponce.”

The Sanborn Map in 1932 shows the adjacent buildings just east of 368 Ponce de Leon (outlined in red) which were also part of the Shady Rest Tourist Home shown in a 1950 postcard above.