By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
The original owner of Norton Agency offices wanted to build ‘the finest house outside of Atlanta’
GREENnalley 1.jpg
The Nalley-Martin House at 434 Green St. is today the home of Norton Realty. - photo by Scott Rogers
Nalley-Martin House

This story is part of a series on historic homes on Gainesville's Green Street. Read other stories in the series. Copies of a free publication on Green Street home history are available at The Times at 345 Green St.

Address: 434 Green St., Gainesville

Built: 1938

Architecture: Federal revival and Georgian

The Nalley-Martin home at 434 Green St. is one of the newest houses on the street having been built in 1938. 

Since 1990 it has served as the headquarters of the Norton Agency, a local real estate firm. 

Purchased by C.V. Nalley and built by Ray Knickerbocker in 1938, it replaced an old farm-style house owned by the Pillow family. That house had to be razed and burned because of termites, according to Frank Norton Jr., who gave The Times a tour of the Nalley-Martin house. 

The large, white stately house sits farther back from Green Street and feels more like an estate than its neighbors, giving it an “individual sense of place,” Norton said. With a rectangular shape, solid brick walls and a steel support structure, the house exudes solidity. Inside the house, nothing can be heard of the 39,000 cars that pass each day. 

The original owner of the house, C.V. Nalley, was a prominent businessman who owned a local Dodge dealership. Capitalizing on the growing popularity of cars, he had traded in his horse and buggy for a car of his own and thereafter became the Northeast Georgia distributor for Dodge Brothers in a building on West Spring Street just off Gainesville's downtown square, according to Times archives.

Nalley, who needed ample room for his large family, hired noted Atlanta architect Norman Stambaugh to design “the finest house outside of Atlanta,” Norton said. The entryway ceiling, which is rounded at the corners, was once painted a metallic platinum, and what is now the boardroom still contains Nalley’s original Austrian-cut crystal chandelier. The main hallway features the original wallpaper. 

The house was purchased by J.H. Martin after Nalley’s death and later sold to Norton, who moved in with his family in 1986 before converting it into the business headquarters in 1990. 

The exterior “style” is federal revival and the interior is Georgian. A two-story rear section, which is actually bigger than the original house, according to Martin, was added around 1974.

Frank Norton’s uncle, Judge William L. Norton Jr. is credited with spearheading the movement to save the houses on Green Street by having them added in 1975 to the National Register of Historic Places.

Frank Norton spoke about the importance of preserving the “historic character” of Green Street and the “old-world romance” that it imparts to Gainesville.

“History gives a community legacy,” Norton said. “Yes, we build a lot of new buildings, but we also preserve buildings and hope we can lead by example.” 

GREENnalley 2.jpg
The Nalley-Martin House at 434 Green St. in Gainesville is the home of Norton Realty. - photo by Scott Rogers
GREENnalley 3.jpg
The unique kitchen inside the Nalley Martin House at 434 Green St. in Gainesville, which today is the home of Norton Realty. - photo by Scott Rogers
GREENnalley 4.jpg
The Nalley Martin House at 434 Green St. in Gainesville is the home of Norton Realty. - photo by Scott Rogers
GREENnalley 5.jpg
The Nalley Martin House at 434 Green St. in Gainesville is the home of Norton Realty. - photo by Scott Rogers
GREENnalley 7.jpg
The Nalley Martin House at 434 Green St. in Gainesville is the home of Norton Realty. - photo by Scott Rogers
GREENnalley 6.jpg
The Nalley Martin House at 434 Green St. in Gainesville, pictured circa 1985. Today it is the home of Norton Realty. Photo courtesy Frank Norton.
Magazines