Entries by Lance Russell

Atlanta from a different perspective

It is becoming increasingly difficult to get lost. In fact, with the exception of traversing the fringe regions of the planet, those areas without access to a cell signal, wi-fi or satellite reception, one has to work pretty darn hard to lose one’s way. For sure, you can get confused or disoriented…but lost? Thanks to digital everything, the solution to that problem is to simply go to The Google and find out where you are and how to get to where you want to be.

It was, as everyone knows, not always like that. Atlantans in the 19th century spent all of their days without any of the conveniences of even the 20th century, let alone the 21st. Back in the 1800s, you couldn’t just run down to the convince store and buy a map. And even if you could, most people didn’t because they rarely went anywhere.

It’s probably not what he had in mind

Atlanta’s history is intertwined with Atlanta’s religion. Houses of worship have not just been a presence in Atlanta, they have been one of the forces that helped shape and support our community.

This week, we tell the tale of Leonard Broughton who came to Atlanta to lead a church and ended up building one of Atlanta’s still-standing historical structures. Each year Broughton’s church hosts thousands of visitors of all denominations and beliefs. If you haven’t attended, there’s a good chance you have, at least, heard of Broughton’s church as you will see in this week’s Stories of Atlanta.

Seek and ye shall find, right?

The flood of movie stars visiting Atlanta in recent years not withstanding, Atlanta has had a long history of entertaining visiting luminaries, dignitaries, politicians and a host of other individuals who Atlantans generally wanted to be seen with.
The late 1800s was a banner year for visitors to the Gate City, not the least of whom was the President of the United States, Benjamin Harrison.

It’s all in how you deliver the message

They say that when you die, whether you’re going to heaven or hell, you have to go through Atlanta first. Though made popular by Atlanta’s very busy airport, that saying actually originated back in the day when Atlanta was a major railroad junction. At its peak, over 300 trains a day came and went through Atlanta and, for a while, it seemed that train travel was the wave of the future. That is until the Wright Brothers made their famous flight in 1903 and from that moment on, everything changed.

Of course, Atlantans didn’t embrace air travel overnight.

Worth a thousand words

In the fall of 1864, photographer George Barnard positioned his camera in the coupola of a woman’s school located on what is now Courtland Street. He took a series of three photographs that, when combined, show a panoramic view of Atlanta. A view that is remarkable for what it doesn’t show. A view, that is this week’s Stories of Atlanta.

A pressing need to learn about business

Reconstruction was the term given to the period following the Civil War during which the United States set conditions under which the rebellious Southern States would be allowed back into the Union. Coming out of Reconstruction, the City of Atlanta was experiencing growing pains but one of the more positive results of Atlanta’s emergence as an up and coming city was the founding of the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Georgia Tech had been founded in 1885 as part of a plan to build a Southern industrial economy. At its inception, the only degree it offered was one in mechanical engineering but, in the decades to come, other engineering degrees were offered.

For Underground Atlanta the beginning was almost the end

Looking at photographs of downtown Atlanta in the late 1800’s one cannot help but be impressed with the number of railroad tracks that populated the area we now call The Gulch. By some accounts, at the height of Atlanta’s railroad history there were over 350 trains a day that traveled through the city

Atlanta was indeed a “railroad town.” But for pedestrians and horse drawn carts, all those railroad tracks that meant so much to the economy and the growth of Atlanta presented major challenges for transportation around the city.

It never returned

When the 1895 Cotton States Exposition opened in Atlanta 120 years ago as of this writing, it represented the culmination of years of planning and fund raising on the part of the exposition’s organizers. It was a big time undertaking costing over $2 million dollars, which, by today’s currency standards, equates to around $57 million […]

How to get the word out

Consider the question of fire in the early days of Atlanta.

How would anybody who wasn’t immediately affected by the fire know that there actually was a fire? I’m not talking about the “big” fire that resulted from Sherman’s occupation but the everyday, commonplace fires that were all too frequent in a city built largely of wood, a city where cooking and heating were done with fire. A city where passing trains frequently generated sparks that often landed on the rooftops of buildings.

A familiar statue

Samuel Spencer was killed at the age of 59. The accident that took his life happened in the predawn hours of Thanksgiving Day in 1906. Spencer and some of his friends were in Spencer’s private rail car headed for a hunting trip in Virginia. While Spencer and his fellow passengers were asleep, his railcar became […]

They came from far and wide

Last year (2016), the City of Atlanta booked somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 conventions, meetings and events, which drew around 52 million visitors to our city. Atlanta is most definitely a major player in the world of event planning and, if you think about it, it is a role that the City of Atlanta comes by quite naturally. Hospitality is deeply ingrained as a part of Atlanta’s culture.

Thanks to him…we know

Much of our knowledge of Civil War Atlanta comes from the work of the official photographer of the Army of the Mississippi, George Barnard. Assigned to document military camps, fortifications and rail lines, Barnard followed General William Sherman and his troops on their infamous March to the Sea. In the process of completing his assigned […]

A name we should know

The name Martin Amorous is not one that most Atlantans associate with the development of the City of Atlanta but that doesn’t diminish his contribution to the well-being of our city, not in the least.

Martin Amorous was born in Savannah, in 1858. His father , Mathias Amorous, was a proud Spaniard from Barcelona who captained a merchantman sailing vessel and he made frequent trips to the Americas.

The woman who wasn’t there

It is safe to say that the era of the grand department store is a thing of the past. It was wonderful while it lasted but, as they say, nothing lasts forever. It was the department store that helped to lead the way into the salad days of the post WWII boom and then went on to anchor the explosion of shopping malls that populated just about every suburb in America.