Posts

Right place – right time

It was a new camera and the photographer only had 5 flash bulbs, yet there he was, on that fateful night, witnessing what would become the most devastating hotel fire in American history. Arnold Hardy ended up getting detained by the police that evening but not before he made history as we tell in this […]

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 […]

It was partly about style

Throughout history, some of the world’s most enduring companies have been the result of business partnerships.  Sometimes, the partnership brings renown to all of the partners, Procter and Gamble, Hewlett-Packard and Ben and Jerry come to mind. But not every partnership can be Rodgers and Hammerstein and, as they say, ‘Fair’ does not always mean ‘Equal’. […]

Nothing but women

South Carolina-born architect Geoffrey Lloyd Preacher headed the Atlanta architecture firm of G. Lloyd Preacher and Company.  In the first half of the twentieth century, Preacher was nothing if not prolific. Among his designs were some of Atlanta’s most iconic structures: Peachtree Street’s Grady Hotel, Bass High School near Little Five Points, and the current Atlanta City […]

The end was a beginning

There is a statue in Underground Atlanta of a man and a bear. The statue is representative of a section of Atlanta during its pioneer days, when confidence men, con artists, snake oil salesmen and animal acts were a common sight in our city. The display of wild animals was, of course, not unique to […]

A young boy’s inspiration

Since Atlanta’s early days, religion and spirituality have been key factor in the lives of many Atlantans. In some cases, the influence of religion spilled over into other aspects of the city’s development. One clear example of this is the case of Friendship Baptist Church and its founding minister, Reverend Frank Quarles. Today, Friendship holds […]

Downtown became more challenging

Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”  However, in true Henry Ford style, he did not ask for opinions and what we got was the “horseless carriage.” And the world has never been the same. Americans have long had a love affair with the […]

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.