May Patterson Goodrum (1930 – 1958)

Designed in August 1929, May Patterson Goodrum was ensconced in her West Paces Ferry home by September 1930. She owned the property for the next twenty-eight years. In 1958 she sold it to Mary Rushton and permanently move to her home on Sea Island.


Rushton Era (1958-1984)

Mary Rushton, founder of the Rushton Toy Company and her daughter, Wight made very few changes to the property over the next 20 years. Photos of the house during their tenure show a few changes: a major kitchen remodeling, the removal of a coat closet on the first floor and a bathroom on the 2nd floor to accommodate an elevator, and a variety of superficial changes including interior paint revisions. It was at this time the moniker “The Peacock House” was attached to the property by way of the numerous peacocks roaming the gardens and plaguing the motorists on West Paces Ferry.

Jerry Cates/Designer Showcase Home and Southern Center for International Studies (1984 – 2009)

Jerry Cates purchased the Goodrum House in 1984, subdivided the south end of the property and sold three lots totaling two acres. It was used for the 1984 annual Atlanta Decorators’ Show House and later became the headquarters for the Southern Center for International Studies.

Watson-Brown Foundation (2009 – Present)

The Watson-Brown Foundation purchased the three-acre property in April 2009. Twelve months were spent assessing the overall site to determine the extent of restoration needed. The investigation, analysis, findings and development of treatment recommendations for the architecture and landscape architecture adhere to the codes and standards per the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties and the Secretary of The Interior’s Standards for Archaeology and Historic Preservation. The approach includes preservation, rehabilitation, restoration, and reconstruction. The Period of Significance for the site extends from 1930-1936—bookended by the year May Goodrum occupied the home and the year Little House was built for her beloved housekeeper, Clara Clarke Steele Cody.