Posts

Building for the times

It’s no secret that in Atlanta far too many of our older buildings have had a limited lifespan. There is no better example of our penchant for replacing the old with the new than along Atlanta’s most famous thoroughfare. We examine the transformation of one downtown intersection on this week’s Stories of Atlanta.

The dragon that reaches out and grabs you

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 […]

He called it the way he saw it

The old saying “a penny for your thoughts” is, by current standards, too expensive. We are living in a era where seemingly everyone is “on the record” about…everything. We blog, vlog, tweet and post about whatever thought enters our head. In the opinion of some, we’ve gone a little too far in sharing our pontifications. […]

A small remnant of antebellum Atlanta

Mathew Brady is known as one of America’s first photographers. It was Brady who personally financed and oversaw the effort to photographically document the Civil War. At his own expense, he hired a team of photographers who traveled with various Union armies and together those photographers produced over 10,000 plates; a body of work which […]

From Atlanta he sold to the world

As sure as there is breakfast, lunch and dinner, there is snacking.  Satisfying those between-meal cravings is a need we all have. While some people are able to eat healthy snacks, many of us cannot resist the lure of less healthy foods.   Snacking certainly is not a new innovation.  It goes back, in some […]

Atlanta hosts a special visitor

When the 1895 Cotton States Exposition opened in Atlanta over 120 years ago, 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 dollars. The exposition […]

Seek and ye shall find

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 that Atlantans generally wanted to be seen with. The late 1800s was a banner year for visitors to the Gate City, not the least of […]

From milkshakes to spirits

As of this writing, Underground Atlanta is, for the most part, closed to Atlantans. Cautious optimism is the order of the day as Atlantans concerned about this valuable section of Atlanta’s history await its next incarnation. Perhaps, while you wait, you should consider visiting another of Atlanta’s historic gems, the Michael C. Carlos Museum on […]

A Southern Automobile

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 before 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 […]

For sale, the State of Georgia

Qualify, enter your name and cross your fingers. That was the order of the day, when thousands of Georgians took their chances on winning, sight unseen, plots of land to be sold at dirt cheap prices. People whose names were drawn in the lotteries were winners, but some won bigger than others, as you will […]

The numbers keep growing

In 1926, an airplane hangar was constructed on a dirt field south of town. History would ultimately describe that act as the work of visionaries. That vision was articulated by Alderman William Hartsfield when he said, “The skies will be to the 20th century what the seas have been to centuries past, and the city […]

The story of Marietta Street

In the Fairlie-Poplar neighborhood of downtown Atlanta, there is a street named after Ruben Cone. A former judge from the City of Decatur, Cone moved to Marthasville in the 1840s and shortly after he arrived he made a decision. And if you’ve ever doubted the power of the individual to make a difference, you should […]

An early attempt at boosterism

It is common knowledge that Atlanta got its start as a railroad town. So it shouldn’t be surprising that the influence of the railroads reached far and wide across our city. But you might not realize just how far and how wide that influence actually ran. Which is why we decided to tackle the question […]

The solution was to go up

As they say, “there are two sides to every coin,” a fact of life that Atlantans in the late 1800s knew all too well. The City’s success as a railroad town brought wealth and distinction but that success also brought to town a life-threatening problem. Thankfully, Atlanta was filled with clever people who devised a […]

Our debt of gratitude

When one thinks of influential Atlantans who played a role in shaping our city, a lot of names come to mind. Frank Quarles, however, is probably not one of them, and that’s a shame. The Reverend Frank Quarles was a former slave who founded Atlanta’s Friendship Baptist Church and his role in shaping the future […]

Making radio better

There are two main lessons to be learned from the movie “A Christmas Story.” First and foremost, don’t shoot your eye out. Running a close second, play your cards right, and you just might win a major award. Where we may have some disagreement is on just exactly what constitutes “a major award?” Perhaps we […]

Marketing in the 1800s

How many times every day do you have your picture taken? By some estimates, which include security cameras, it’s about 75 times. That’s a lot of pictures and it’s one of those 21st century statistics that wouldn’t even translate to Atlantans in the 1800s. Back in the day, having one’s image captured was a rare […]

He was only doing his job

Shakespeare had it right, “the play’s the thing.” And that was especially true of Atlanta in the 1890s. The theater was the dominant form of entertainment and, as you would expect, it was an industry that gave many people a chance to make money. One such Atlantan was Martin J. Dooley who made a nice […]