According to Fulton County, the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness building needs $6-10 million to correct “substantial infrastructure issues.” Rather than complete these renovations, Fulton County has moved out of the building. It appears the property is being sold to Grady. Docomomo has learned that the building is slated for demolition.
The Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness was designed by the firm McDonald and Company and was dedicated in 1959 (the building was not occupied until 1961).
McDonald and Company (McDonald & Co.) was an Atlanta-based architectural and engineering firm practicing in the early to mid-twentieth century. The firm’s best known work is the 3rd Union Station, built in 1930.
The marble and limestone, third Union Station (the second Union Station was demolished shortly after the third was built and the first was destroyed during the Civil War) was built facing Forsyth Street in downtown Atlanta. The building is said to have been the first “to take advantage of air-rights above State-owned railroad tracks” (Garrett, Atlanta and Environs, 1880s-1930s). The third Union Station is said to have been the work of architect Howard C. McLaughlin, who was with McDonald and Co. at the time. The building was demolished in 1972. If Union Station had survived, it would today be facing the Five Points MARTA station and the Atlanta Constitution building.
McDonald and Company is also credited with the Meuller Lofts building in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood of Atlanta. The building was a warehouse and showroom for Mueller Company, a plumbing fixture supplier. McDonald and Co. also designed the 1929 Paramount Theater (now Davis Theater) in Montgomery, Alabama.
Affixed to the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness building are two metal bas-reliefs by artist Julian Hoke Harris. The pieces are titled; "Keeping Away Death" and "Keeping Away Old Age" and are also known, according to Harris, as "Preventative Medicine" and "Geriatrics."
Harris received his Bachelor’s degree in architecture from Georgia Tech in 1928. He later graduated from the Pennsylvania Institute of Fine Arts in 1934 and then took a job teaching at Georgia Tech, where he remained for 36 years. Harris’ sculptures are said to be featured on more than 50 buildings in the southeast, including Georgia’s State Agricultural Building and State Office Building. According to the Smithsonian American Art Museum; “He also designed and executed more than twenty medallions, including Georgia Tech’s Monie A. Ferst Medal (a national award that recognizes excellence in advancing research through education), the bicentennial medal for the state of Georgia, and President Jimmy Carter’s official inaugural medallion.” Harris died in 1976. (For a period biography see the Rotarian, Nov 1964 Vol. 105, No. 5, pp. 38-41)
The Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness building (also called the Aldridge Health Center) was identified in the 2013 Downtown Atlanta Contemporary Historic Resources Survey Report as a National Register of Historic Places eligible property.