This Gothic-Revival building was built in 1916 for Ponce de Leon Methodist Episcopal Church. Architect Charles H. Hopson (1865-1941) designed the building.
Two other Atlanta churches were designed by Mr. Hopson, Rock Springs Presbyterian (1923) and Peachtree Christian Church (1928). Both buildings are on the National Register of Historical Places.
Modern design critics have praised Hopson’s impressive handling of contrasting building materials at the Ponce de Leon church, particularly the ornamental patterns on the corner tower. Also notable is the high level of craftsmanship in the church’s construction – supervised by church member Jasper N. Hoagland.
On November 11, 1916, The Atlanta Constitution summarized the impressive construction of the building and its interior craftsmanship: “The new church which is now completed save for pews and radiators, delayed in freight, has been built by local labor and from supplies purchased of firms in the vicinity. The brick came from Rome, Georgia. The pews are from Tennessee. Much favorable comment has been made not only upon the unique and beautiful Gothic lines of this church which is a distinct addition to the public buildings of the city but upon the exceptionally fine windows.”
The inside floor plan, with the pulpit between the two main Ponce de Leon entrances, was heralded as a unique innovation. The south end of the church featured a departmental system of Sunday school classrooms that opened into the main auditorium.
In the 1950s, the building underwent a massive renovation by the new occupant, Faith Memorial Church. A three-story classroom building was added to the south end of the building, removing the back stained-glass windows. In the west, a two-story meeting hall wing was constructed – creating a Escher-like collection of stairwells and levels. A new, “modern” system of electrical wiring and air conditioning was added.
In 1977, the building was transformed into a restaurant. The adaptive reuse by the Gro Corporation saved the building from demolition and won an Award of Excellence from the Urban Design Commission. The restaurant renovation created an immense kitchen in the basement level, constructed the rear “chapel” lounge, leveled the auditorium and balcony floors, built a new dining platform over the altar with a “harpist loft” above, added the non-period black railings and stuck medieval themed décor wherever possible. A third, “state-of-the-art” system of electrical wiring and air conditioning was added.