Posts

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.

Change is a fact of life

As the saying goes, the fastest way from here to there is a straight line.  But, sometimes, it is not that simple.  These days, there are any number of possible impediments to a speedy trip: roadwork . . . detours . . . even street names.  Over the years, many of Atlanta’s streets have gone through multiple monikers.  This […]

The City Center

It is Atlanta’s most historic intersection. But in the early years of Atlanta, Five Points was the junction of Peachtree, Whitehall, Decatur, Marietta and Line Street. Two decades after the Civil War, though, things changed for Five Points, thanks primarily to the efforts of one man as you will see in this week’s Stories of […]

Connected to the past

Near the core of the Georgia State campus sits a Victorian structure that seems a bit out of place. Amid the multi-story buildings that line the street, it stands out in its uniqueness. With a gabled roof and turreted facade, what is today the home of the University’s Baptist Student Union resembles none of the […]

They called it Country

This week, it’s sort of a ‘road not taken’ tale, a story of what might have been. Atlanta in the early 1900s had developed quite the music scene. And that scene got a whole lot bigger when, in 1922, WSB radio signed on the air and immediately began looking for talent to fill air time. […]

A campaign promise fulfilled

It turns out that two of Atlanta’s iconic structures share a common heritage, even though they have absolutely nothing to do with one another. Who knew? Trick question…we knew. Which is why, this week it’s a two for one special on Stories of Atlanta.

The creation of an eyesore

There is no question that Atlanta’s Downtown Connector, when unobstructed, is a benefit to the region’s commuters. There is also no question that much was lost as a result of the construction of the Downtown Connector. Some of that loss was anticipated, some of it was not. Join us for the story of an unintended […]

The value of a penny

Joe Jacobs is a name familiar to most aficionados of the City of Atlanta. He is known because he was the owner of the pharmacy that sold the very first glass of Coca-Cola, ever…anywhere. His store was located at 5-Points. There is a plaque commemorating Jacobs’ role in the history of our hometown beverage, a […]

Form or function

The pendulum of opinion swings freely when it comes to the question of form following function. It isn’t necessary to get into that debate here. I bring it up only to offer that, sometimes, it doesn’t matter where one stands on the question…form then function or function then form. Often, it’s the person paying the […]

A story about water

Five Points has been the epicenter of downtown Atlanta for as long as there has been a downtown Atlanta. It derived its name having originally been the confluence of five different streets: Peachtree, Whitehall, Marietta, Decatur and Edgewood. The origin of the names for Marietta and Decatur is obvious given that those streets led to […]

A wartime skill finds new life

One of the challenges of our 21st century lifestyle is trying to process the unprecedented amount of information available at any given moment. We are subjected to so much input on so many different topics that it is hard for us to imagine how people got along before the invention of instantaneous communications. It helps, […]

Thicker than water

This week’s story comes to us from Saporta Report reader and all-around Atlanta history buff Greg Hodges who wrote to ask if we knew the story of Richard Petty’s 1959 victory at Atlanta’s Lakewood Speedway. We did not and it turns out that it is just our kind of story. Long-time Atlantans will remember the […]

As the Saying Goes. . .

There is a well-known joke, told at Atlanta’s expense, about how, even when traveling to the afterlife, you’ll need to make connections through Atlanta. It’s the sort of thing that comes with the territory when one manages the world’s most traveled airport. Given the amount of traffic that passes through Hartsfield-Jackson on a daily basis, […]

Not everyone shared his enthusiasm

James Litchfield Beavers is not a name that most Atlantans today are familiar with but back in his day James Beavers was “The Man”…literally. For 26 years, James Beavers was a member of Atlanta’s police force and from1911 to 1915 he was Atlanta’s “Top Cop,” the Chief of Police. In his almost three decades of […]

Some improvements were needed

Historically, the jail house has been among the first of the public buildings constructed in most new communities. It is interesting to note that, initially, jails were intended to be little more than holding cells…places to keep criminals until they could be tried. And that is exactly the purpose that led to the construction of […]