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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 […]

It’s an origin story

The occasion was a somber one. A group of friends had gathered in an Atlanta bar to toast the memory of one of their comrades who had tragically died earlier that same day. As the drinks flowed, a plan was hatched to memorialize their friend by having an Atlanta street named after him. Despite the […]

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 […]

beatles, atlanta

Three landmark events at Atlanta Stadium in the 1960s – Were you there?

By Guest Columnist BO HIERS, who has ‘semi-retired’ from a 35-year career in the reinsurance industry and now volunteers at the Atlanta History Center

It’s difficult to imagine Atlanta without a professional sports stadium, especially when you consider the Braves, Falcons, and Hawks are now proud owners of three of the newest and slickest stadiums and arenas anywhere. But that was the case in 1964. Cue Milwaukee Braves owner William Bartholomay and the National Football League (NFL). Attendance was sagging at County Stadium in Milwaukee, and the NFL was looking to expand its geographic footprint into Southern states. There were plenty of twists and turns along the way, but the Braves and Falcons were on the way.

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 […]

They deserved a monument

It is not hard to imagine how difficult life must have been for America’s early settlers. Most of us today would be ill-equipped at, best, to walk out into the wilderness and make a home for ourselves. In the 1800s however, it would have been expected of you. Tales abound in American history of the […]

The Grand Master got the honor

A lot can happen in one year. Just look what has happened this year and the year is not even over. It may have taken a different form and a different pace back in the day, but innovation and change have always been a part of life. This week, we go back to 1928 and […]

Not exactly a favorite son

I can think of at least two residents of Metro Atlanta that have tossed their hat into the Presidential candidate’s ring. Maybe there are more, but, has there ever been a Presidential candidate who was actually a resident of the City of Atlanta? Our friend Greg Hodges asked that question and the answer he discovered […]

A return visit

In November of 1864, having occupied Atlanta for a little over two months, William Sherman left the city to continue his march to the sea. About three miles out, he paused briefly and gazed back at Atlanta. Years later he wrote of that moment, “Behind us lay Atlanta smoldering and in ruins, the black smoke […]

It changed his life

Donn’s father was a well-respected mathematics and psychology professor. He was, in fact, the chairman of the mathematics department of an Oklahoma university. Unfortunately for Donn, he lost his father at the age of six months to Leukemia. The family moved to Atlanta, where Donn would graduate from Booker T. Washington high school. It was […]

A caring parent makes a difference

History is replete with examples of the power of one person making a difference. There are, in fact, so many examples of the ability of one person to affect change that what is surprising is that we still marvel when it happens. Such is the case with Selena Butler as we see in this week’s […]

Turning defeat into victory

William Hartsfield’s re-election bid – in 1940 – ended in defeat to Roy LeCraw. 
But, in spite of this, Hartsfield’s political career was nowhere near over.  Events brewing far from Atlanta would have an effect on the entire world, including Atlanta’s City Hall, as you will see in this week’s Stories of Atlanta.

Worthy of a painting

In Washington, D.C., there is a memorial to Major General James B. McPherson.  It was erected after his Civil War death in Atlanta. When McPherson fell, his 2nd in command led the charge.  Several years later, John Logan’s wartime exploits were commemorated by Logan himself.  The result of his efforts stands to this day and that is the […]

The Merry Mutes

In the 1950s, a regular act at the Henry Grady Hotel was a comedy duo known for not talking. They called themselves The Merry Mutes and their deceptively simple act consisted of lip syncing to popular songs of the day.