The City of Avondale Estates was founded by George Francis Willis in 1924. Willis' plans for the City were inspired by the trip he and his wife, Lottie, had taken to Stratford-upon-Avon, England. He aspired to recreate the majestic Tudor-Revival style architecture found at the birthplace of William Shakespeare.
With the guidance of internationally known city planners, Willis proceeded to develop what would later be known as the only documented example of a planned city in the Southeast. Today, Avondale Estates is named on the National Registrar of Historic Places.
On Labor Day 1955,
Avondale Estates neighbors Joe Rogers Sr. and Tom Forkner founded the
first Waffle House restaurant. The name was inspired by the most popular
item on the original menu. The restaurant's focus on fast-food speed
and round-the-clock service reflected mid-century societal shifts toward
an automobile culture. As suburbs and the interstate highway system
developed throughout the region and the nation, Waffle House grew to
include over 1,600 locations nationwide, becoming an American cultural
icon open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In 2004, Waffle House reacquired the original restaurant building
located at 2719 East College Avenue in Avondale Estates and opened it as
a museum. A visit to the museum feels like stepping back into 1955. The
museum also features Waffle House memorabilia from the past 54 years.
George Willis (right) celebrates his city with a lakeside barbecue.
C.A. Kirkland owned the Avondale Stables, located at what is now the Twin Oaks shopping center.
The Freeman “Homeplace” was built in 1913 with an address of 37 Avondale
Road. Later, the family sold some of their land to Mr. Willis while
retaining their home and an entire block of Clarendon.
By 1947, Avondale Estates counted its fire station among the services offered to residents.