Part of the fun in looking back through time is examining the origins of the things that today we take for granted. Even though it is obvious that there clearly had to be a first for just about everything, that doesn’t make it any less interesting to find out just exactly how a particular “first” went down. So, once again, we pause to consider just exactly who was the first and what had to happen to make it that way in this week’s Stories of Atlanta.
James Litchfield Beavers is not a name that most Atlantans today are familiar with but, back in his day, James Beavers was “The Man”…literally. For 26 years, James Beavers was a member of Atlanta’s police force and from 1911 to 1915 he was Atlanta’s “Top Cop,” the Chief of Police.
In his almost three decades of police work, James Beavers changed, adapted and grew with the City of Atlanta. He was on duty during Atlanta’s Race Riot of 1906, he was charged with enforcing a city-wide ban on alcohol which took effect in our city 12 years prior to the passage of the 18th amendment. In his capacity as Chief, Beavers oversaw the investigation of the Leo Frank case which garnered nation-wide publicity.
In September of 1895 at Atlanta’s Cotton States and International Exposition, Charles Jenkins demonstrated to the world what he called a Phantoscope, an early version of a movie projector. From that moment on, the world would never be the same.
To be honest, it seemed like an urban myth when we first heard about it but, after a little bit of research, the myth proved to be fact. A whimsical tale on its own, the reality that it is true makes it one of the Stories of Atlanta worth a second look. Here’s what we […]
It’s time for the annual first week of January ritual. You know, the one where we tell ourselves, “This year is going to be the year.” This year we get back into the gym – we start eating better – spending more time with our family – working smarter and, in general, making the self-improvements we think we need to make.
The early days of automobile manufacturing were much like the Wild West. By some accounts, there have been over 1800 car manufacturers and it took a while for the “Big 3” to became the dominant American automobile companies. Most early car companies are nothing but distant memories on the American landscape but one is, to […]
Ask anyone in Atlanta what comes to mind when you mention our city’s boxing tradition and chances are you’ll get the name Evander Holyfield. That is assuming the person you are asking doesn’t confuse boxing with wrestling, in which case, you’ll probably get Dusty Rhodes, Rick Flare or Gordon Solie. But it is Evander “The […]
We are often told that to accurately judge history, it must be viewed through an empathetic lens. It is difficult, they say, to assess actions without applying the standards of the day to those actions. Our story this week is ostensibly about an event pertaining to public safety. There is historical precedence for the actions that were taken, but one wonders…do the times of the day ever justify the suspension of our constitutional liberties? A not so easy question to answer in this week’s Stories of Atlanta.
Roger Babson is the founder of the Gravity Research Foundation, an organization with the stated purpose of studying, understanding and, ultimately, harnessing the force of gravity. It was the childhood drowning of his older sister in a river near Gloucester, Massachusetts that sparked Babson’s life-long interest in finding a way to control the effects of […]
Necessity is the “Mother of Invention.” Not much to argue with there. If it weren’t for necessity there would never have been a MacGyver. The crew of Apollo 13 could probably tell you a thing or two about the motivation provided by necessity. And we’re pretty sure that if it weren’t for necessity, Ron Popeil […]
Watching this week’s story one can’t help but pause to consider the burdens that life places on some people. It is a story that flew under the radar two months ago and, we feel, it deserves a second look because most of us can relate to the relationships we don’t get to pick. We start […]
It probably goes without saying that pretty much everything was something before it became what it is today. An examination of any city’s past is an exercise in peeling back the layers of, as the Beatles might have put it, the long and winding road. Because of our city’s particular penchant for casting out the […]
The term “carpetbagger” is defined as one who is an unscrupulous opportunist. But just as it is true that all that glitters is not gold, it is also true that not all who came to Atlanta following the Civil War were solely unscrupulous, opportunistic carpetbaggers. Take the case of Hannibal Ingalls Kimball. H.I. Kimball was […]
Atlanta’s business history is filled with the records of companies that did not stand the test of time. Evidence of that fact is all around but, to put a positive spin on things, where would all of the hip offices, trendy loft condos and tech startups turn for space if Atlanta’s large warehouses and manufacturing […]
If tomorrow you take a stroll down Peachtree street, the chances are better than pretty good that, at several points during your walk, you will be photographed. There are cameras everywhere, not just downtown but, well, everywhere.
They say it was Benjamin Franklin who uttered the oft repeated phrase that nothing is certain except death and taxes. He supposedly said that in reference to the life span of the recently written United States Constitution, which he felt had the appearance but not the certainty of permanency.
But surely there are other examples in life that are certain.
Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” However, in true Henry Ford style, he did not ask for opinions and what we got was the “horseless carriage.” And the world has never been the same. Americans have long had a love affair with the […]
“The play’s the thing.” You’ve heard that phrase. Shakespeare wrote it. Hamlet says it. So it must be true. And, though probably not in the same vein that Hamlet meant it, the play certainly was the thing when it came to 19th century Atlantans. Opera and the theatre captured the attention of 1800s Atlanta in […]