The House on Marietta Street

Most people, when giving a tour of the City of Atlanta to friends or family, usually find themselves starting more than one sentence with the phrase, “On this spot…” It’s pretty much a necessity in Atlanta to point out what was in a location because, as almost everyone knows, Atlanta has never been particularly sentimental about preserving its past. We are an out with the old, in with the new kind of city. It’s sad but don’t look away from the mirror, it’s who we are.

Atlanta’s idea of preserving its past usually has meant saving a few bricks, stones, columns or the occasional facade but often not in their original location. The effort to save the Fox Theater galvanized the city like no event in its history and it gave hope to the city’s preservationists that we had turned a corner. But that was over 40 years ago and there is precious little evidence that a city-wide movement to hold on to our past has taken root. As one Atlantan once said, “We are a city of the future, not of the past.”

Be that as it may, it is worth keeping the on going preservation discussion alive, if for no other reason, that it helps us to define not just who we were but who we are. And to that end, we offer 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.”

7 replies
    • Lance Russell says:

      Steve – I checked out the “Save 44 Acres” Facebook page and downloaded the handout. Think I’ll drive over there this weekend and see for myself. Thanks. – LanceReport

      Reply
  1. Greg Hodges says:

    Great “story”, Lance. I have long thought that a highway style historical marker should be placed along the sidewalk at this very spot…….the actual birthplace of what would become one of the most recognizable brands on the planet. Pemberton was a Civil War veteran who attained the rank of Lt. Colonel and moved to Atlanta from Columbus soon after the war. The story of the special concoction that he ‘cooked up’ there on Marietta St. is, of course, well known. His remains are buried in Linwood Cemetery in Columbus. My late father worked for many years ‘next door’ in an office building at 101 Marietta.Report

    Reply
    • Lance Russell says:

      Greg I so appreciate your comments, always informative. In researching this story I read that Pemberton suffered a saber wound during the Civil War. Apparently, as he was a pharmacist, he had access to morphine which he used to relieve the pain from his injury. Predictably, Pemberton became addicted and later began experimenting with Cocaine in hopes of replacing the morphine. You can guess the rest of the story. I’d never heard that.Report

      Reply
  2. Don Thomas says:

    For my lifetime there have been no residential dwellings on Marietta Street from 5 Points westward for quite some distance. I wonder if there had been a thriving residential neighborhood bordering that major artery post Reconstruction. Pemberton’s home is substantially large and dignified indicating that, most likely, it did not stand alone but comparable to those of similar economic circumstances. I believe the painting of Pemberton’s home was created by the research and hand of Wilbur Kurtz without whose creations more of Atlanta’s significant past would be unknown.Report

    Reply
    • Lance Russell says:

      Don – thanks for the contribution and you are correct. That painting of, what I understand was a boarding house at 107 Marietta, was painted by Wilbur Kurtz, a man to whom all Atlantans are indebeted. He left us with such a treasure chest of images that, had it not been for Kurtz, we would never have had.Report

      Reply
  3. Burroughston Broch says:

    @ Lance Russell This painting is on page 120 of Garrett’s “Atlanta and Environs, Volume II.” Garrett states that Coca-Cola owns the painting and that the house stood on the northeast side of Marietta St. between Spring and Barrow.Report

    Reply

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