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Rudolph’s gone, family name not forgotten

POSTED: October 24, 2010 1:00 a.m.

The Rudolph name, while still around Gainesville, no longer resides on Green Street, Rudolph's Restaurant having morphed into a pizza place.

But the house itself still is admired by local residents as well as tourists especially at this time of year. It is one of the iconic Green Street homes, though distinct from others that are in the more traditional Victorian style.

The old Rudolph home, now 700 Green St., is the place you run into as you exit Ridgewood Avenue at the traffic light onto Green. Its architecture is described as English Tudor.

In brochures about Green Street, the house is called the Dixon-Rudolph home. That is because it was designed by Mrs. John Rudolph and built by her mother, Annie Perry Dixon. The contractor was John A. Pearce. The house was built in 1915-16, filling up a lot made vacant by an earlier storm. One version is the building that stood before the storm was the original location of Baptist Female Seminary, forerunner of Brenau University.

Mrs. Rudolph was a garden enthusiast, her son a botanist, and she had 135 varieties of trees planted on the tract. While many fell to make room for the restaurant parking lot in recent years, her influence surely had something to do with the majestic trees that still guard Green Street.

Dr. John B. Rudolph was born in Gainesville in 1872, son of Judge Amizi Rudolph, Hall County ordinary, and Fannie Boyd Rudolph. Her father was a Confederate veteran who served in two constitutional conventions and as a state senator wrote legislation to admit women to the University of Georgia.

Dr. Rudolph studied medicine in Georgia and the University of Louisville. He practiced in Texas before attending the University of Chicago for advanced studies. He returned to Gainesville to begin a prominent practice in 1898. He doctored with his brother, H. Latimer Rudolph and Dr. J.W. Bailey, who became well known throughout the South. He later partnered with Dr. E.T. Gibbs.

Dr. Rudolph became the official physician for Brenau College, Chicopee Manufacturing Corp. and Southern Railway. He was on the Brenau Board of Trustees.

Despite a busy and ever-growing practice, he made time to serve as Gainesville mayor two terms.

He also was on the Gainesville school board and active in the Chamber of Commerce. Many give him credit for the early development of the Boy Scout movement in Hall County. A Mason and Shriner, Dr. Rudolph was involved in the state and national medical associations and First Methodist Church.

During World War I he served as a captain in the medical corps.

Dr. Rudolph's wife, Erskine Dixon, whom he married in 1904, was the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. E.E. Dixon, he a druggist, and she the sister of H.H. Perry, a prominent lawyer and civic leader.

Dr. Rudolph's civic service continued till the day he died. He was in his 10th month as president of the Rotary Club when he died in 1929.

A Rotary bulletin printed on the occasion of his death described him as reserved and self-contained, but with a friendly nature toward all people. "His tact and diplomacy combined with his ever courteous manner enabled us to pass safely through a difficult period of our club's life, which handled by a less tactful man may have resulted in misunderstanding and factionalism," Rotarians wrote of their leader.

The club credited him with increasing membership and an added emphasis on service to youth, thus his pioneering support of Boy Scouting.

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We think we had a flag flap a few years ago when Georgia changed its flag to remove symbols of the old Confederacy from it. Even 35 years after the Civil War ended, some Georgians and other Southerners objected to flying the American flag with the Confederate flag. And there are probably some who would do the same today, though perhaps for different reasons.

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In 1876, Alf Williams of Gainesville, who had only one leg, asked to be relieved of his fine of $5. He had been security for Jennie Rivers, who had run away. The sympathetic judge reduced his fine by half.

Johnny Vardeman is retired editor of The Times and can be reached at 2183 Pinetree Circle N.E., Gainesville, GA 30501. His column appears Sundays and on gainesvilletimes.com.

 

 

 



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