An out-of-towner raises the roof

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 a salesman for the Pullman Car Company who came to Atlanta in 1866 and he, most certainly, was involved in some very shaky financial dealings. He also, most certainly, was involved in a number of ventures that greatly benefited the City of Atlanta, such as the Cotton Exposition of 1881 and the building of a “world-class” hotel.

Hannibal Kimball did very well for himself during his time in Atlanta. He lived in a big Victorian mansion near the present day Fox Theater. He walked in “high cotton,” as they say, rubbing elbows with most of Atlanta’s movers and shakers and, most importantly, he made a lot of money. Things were good for Kimball, well, up until that point where he and the Governor of Georgia had to leave town quickly to avoid prosecution for financial wrong doing.

But even after that, Hannibal Kimball got an “all is forgiven” pass from the city fathers and he was invited back to town to help with the rebuilding of a structure he had built in 1870…a structure that is the subject of this week’s Stories of Atlanta.

Lance Russell is an Atlanta-based filmmaker and media communicator who, for over three decades, has been entrusted by clients to tell their stories. A seasoned producer with an innate ability to cut to the heart of the matter, Lance’s instincts are tailor-made for today’s “media bite” culture. Brief, poignant and always entertaining, Lance’s current passion is bringing Atlanta’s colorful and inspiring past to life with his “rest of the story” style video series, Stories of Atlanta. “History’s best communicators,” says Lance, “have always been storytellers. It’s in our DNA. ‘Once upon a time’ is how we got to where we are now.”

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