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The history behind Mellow Mushroom's Green Street home
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The Mellow Mushroom at 700 Green St. in Gainesville was originally a house built by the family of Dr. John B. Rudolph in 1915. It was converted into the restaurant in 2009. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Mellow Mushroom
Where: 700 Green St., Gainesville
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday
More info: 770-531-1500, www.mellowmushroom.com/store/gainesville-ga

Driving down Green Street is a trip through the history of Gainesville.

Each house along the street holds a piece of the city’s past, whether it is home to a prominent member of the community or a local business looking to preserve an antique structure.

“We should be so thankful that we have Green Street and that these homes have been preserved,” said Martha Hodge of the Hall County Historical Society. 

One home in particular with a hidden history is the Dixon-Rudolph house at 700 Green St., now home to the Mellow Mushroom restaurant.

The house was built in 1915 by the family of Dr. John B. Rudolph, a prominent doctor and community leader who at one time served as mayor of Gainesville, according to the Hall County Historical Society. The house was designed by Rudolph’s wife, Erskine Dixon, and built by her mother Annie Perry Dixon, who wanted a large home to encourage family to visit.

The property was previously home to a structure that was part of Brenau College, but it was leveled by a tornado, according to Historical Society records. After construction was completed, Mrs. Rudolph wasted no time making the place her own, bringing her love of horticulture to the property.

“The Rudolphs loved plants, so they kept a garden in the back of the house that had around 135 varieties of plants and trees,” Hodge said. “But most of (the garden) was cleared out later to make the parking lot behind the house.”

The house is of the English Tudor style with a granite foundation and two porches.

Steven Hill of H. Lloyd Hill Architects helped renovate the house when it was converted to the Mellow Mushroom in 2009.

“It’s a neat old house. It’s got a lot of detail,” Hill said. “When we renovated it for Mellow Mushroom we had some challenges with the structure. It’s a pretty beefy structure in there, but we had to work with what was there.”

One major structural change during renovation was to what is now the bar area of the restaurant. Originally, the room was supported by a large column, but Hill removed the column to open up the space and put in a large, heavy beam across the ceiling.

The renovation team tried to maintain some of the original elements of the Victorian-era home, including reusing a mirror and framing from the dining area to the foyer of the restaurant.

The home remained in the Rudolph family until the mid-70s, when it was purchased and converted into a fine dining restaurant, appropriately named Rudolph’s. The property has been owned by Jim Walters of Walters Management since the 1980s.

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