The Neel House

About the Architect

The Joseph Neel house was one of architect Neel Reid's earliest commissions, and Reid was well known to the Neel family. Joseph Neel was a close friend and business associate of Neel Reid's parents, John Whitfield Reid and Elizabeth Adams Reid. In fact, the Reids named Neel Reid for Joseph Neel. 

Early in young Neel's life, the Reid familty relocated to Macon to establish a downtown shoe business at the encouragement of Joseph Neel. After completing high school, Neel Reid apprenticed under architects Curran Ellis and Willis Denny of Macon and Atlanta between 1904 and 1905, after which he attended Columbia University in New York. While at Columbia, Reid studied under Charles McKim, Professor of Architecture and renown American Renaissance architect with the firm of McKim, Mead and White. 

In 1907, Reid travelled to Paris to further his studies at L'Ecole des Beaux-Arts. That same year, Joseph Neel provided Reid with a $1400 stipend to study architecture in England and Italy as part of his education. In 1908, Neel Reid completed his studies and returned to Macon to begin his practice. Through family friendships and business associates, Neel Reid obtained initial commissions in Macon, Atlanta, and Spartenburg, South Carolina. 

Neel Reid, Georgia Classicist


In 1909, Neel Reid formed a partnership with established architect Gottleib Norrmann and Reid's college friend Hal Hentz. Norrmann died by the end of that year, and the partnership continued as Hentz and Reid. In 1910, at the same time he was working on the Joseph Neel residence, Reid designed the Georgia Life Insurance Building, Macon's first high-rise at ten stories. In 1915, Neel Reid and Hal Hentz moved their architectural firm to Atlanta, but Reid continued to complete commissions in Macon until his death in 1926.  

Reid's skills as an artist proved to be as fundamental to his success as his mechanical knowledge of putting buildings together. From his earliest designs, Reid established himself as a master of classic scale and proportion. He is recognized as one of Georgia's finest architects. Today in Macon, more than thirty historic structures associated with Reid, primarily residences, survive, and nearly half of those are in the College Street corridor adjacent to the Garden Center. Most of these buildings were original designs, although Reid also devoted his talents toward updating and remodeling some of the city's earlier residences. 

Today in Macon, more than thirty historic structures associated with Reid, primarily residences, survive, and nearly half of those are in the College Street corridor adjacent to the Garden Center. Most of these buildings were original designs, although Reid also devoted his talents toward updating and remodeling some of the city's earlier residences.