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History behind the house Mellow Mushroom calls home in Gainesville
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Mellow Mushroom in Gainesville is located inside the old Dixon-Rudolph House on Green Street in Gainesville, which was built about 1915. - photo by Scott Rogers
Dixon-Rudolph 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: 700 Green St., Gainesville

Built: c. 1915

Architecture: English vernacular revival

What is now the Mellow Mushroom on Green Street has a long culinary history. 

The pizza place used to be a fine dining restaurant called Rudolph’s for 30 years before Mellow Mushroom took over about 12 years ago. One of Rudolph’s special features was a piano bar upstairs that the current owner of 700 Green St. still remembers going to as a kid. 

John Bush grew up in Gainesville and was excited at the opportunity to own a historic Green Street home and open a Mellow Mushroom franchise at the location. But a few people in the area were skeptical of the psychedelic pizza chain taking over the 106-year-old building.

“We tried to keep as much of the house as we could,” Bush said. “Because I think that was one thing people were worried about, like we were going to ruin the integrity of the house — Mellow Mushroom is known for its tie dye and stuff like that.”

The house that was decorated with posh white tablecloths and served expensive food now has colorful decorations including marbles inside of windows, zany paintings made by local artists and a mushroom statue that greets guests. Still, Bush worked to preserve many original features including the wood floors and light fixtures and keeping most of the previous floor plan. 

But one big change did come when the restaurant needed a bigger bar and they decided to remove a fireplace and large column in one room to accommodate it, Bush said. 

The English vernacular revival-style house was designed by Mrs. John Rudolph, according to the Georgia Historic Resources entry on the house. The house was constructed for her mother, Annie Perry Dixon, as a home for herself and Dr. and Mrs. John Rudolph, it states. 

Rudolph was a prominent doctor and community leader who at one time served as mayor of Gainesville, according to the Hall County Historical Society.

Rudolph was a tremendous gardner, and she had to be after the 1936 tornado destroyed her garden, records show. She planted 135 varieties of trees and plants in the house’s garden after the tornado made her start from scratch, and she kept a journal of her efforts.

The garden was later cleared out to make room for a parking lot behind the house, once it was no longer a residence. 

The property was previously home to a structure that was part of Brenau College, but it was leveled by the 1936 tornado, according to historical records. 

The house once featured a wraparound porch, but it was covered when converted to a restaurant and Jim Walters Management took over ownership in the 1980s. 

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The Dixon-Rudolph house at 700 Green St. in Gainesville today is home to the Mellow Mushroom restaurant. - photo by Scott Rogers
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The Dixon-Rudolph house at 700 Green St. in Gainesville today is home to the Mellow Mushroom restaurant. - photo by Scott Rogers
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The Dixon-Rudolph house at 700 Green St. in Gainesville today is home to the Mellow Mushroom restaurant. - photo by Scott Rogers
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The Dixon-Rudolph house at 700 Green St. in Gainesville today is home to the Mellow Mushroom restaurant. - photo by Scott Rogers
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The Dixon-Rudolph house at 700 Green St. in Gainesville today is home to the Mellow Mushroom restaurant. - photo by Scott Rogers
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The Dixon-Rudolph house at 700 Green St. in Gainesville today is home to the Mellow Mushroom restaurant. - photo by Scott Rogers
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