Defying convention

May Irwin was a 19th century actress who starred – with John Rice – in an 1896 short film titled The Kiss. Chances are you are not familiar with The Kiss – or Ms. Irwin or Mr. Rice – but the film’s title holds a special place in movie history as do its actors. Today, […]

How things get done

In almost every significant step forward, there are the people who get the credit and then there are the people who actually do the work. Sometimes they are the same people and sometimes not. It was Coca-Cola Chairman Robert W. Woodruff who supposedly said, “There is no limit to what a man can do or […]

The future mayor

With the terminus point finally set, the community officially named and plans for development drawn up, all that was left was to build the town of Marthasville. That effort received a boost when a pioneer citizen arrived to build the one thing the community most needed. We introduce the “Father of Atlanta” on this week’s […]

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 […]

A familiar face comes to town

“The play’s the thing.” You’ve heard that phrase. Shakespeare wrote it. Hamlet says it. So it must be true. And, though probably not in the same vein that Hamlet meant it, the play certainly was the thing when it came to 19th century Atlantans. Opera and the theatre captured the attention of 1800s Atlanta in […]

They chose a name

It turns out that it was Sam Mitchel’s idea to build a town around the Western & Atlantic’s terminus point. He even had plans drawn up. And then it came time to name the town and that’s where it got interesting, as we’ll see in this week’s Stories of Atlanta.

Unknown stories of everyday people

At the intersection of Memorial Drive and Boulevard sits Oakland Cemetery, the City of Atlanta’s first official burial grounds. Established in 1850 on an original six acres of land, Oakland now spans 88 acres and is home to thousands of residents. Among them are names familiar to most generations of Atlantans, a “who’s who” of […]

The summer of love

It was the sixties and hundreds of thousands of people gathered for a 3-day, open-air rock concert featuring a stage full of rock n’ roll legends. And while there was no tainted red rope licorice, there was enough to make it this week’s Stories of Atlanta.

Appreciative Guests

If you’re going to throw a party, make it a memorable party. The City of Atlanta did just that when railroad history came to town…the result? Atlanta got a free ride on a party train. This week on Stories of Atlanta, it’s a tale about the benefits of sharing water.

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 Name Change

He was one of 22 under-equipped soldiers charged with building a fort on Georgia’s western frontier during the War of 1812. After the war, he returned to the area, bought 1,000 acres and made a life for his family. The family business is long gone but the name is still around as told on this […]

An Unexpected Guest

Our intent this week was to talk about Atlanta and her visitors. Any city that attains any sort of momentum attracts interesting visitors…some famous, some not so much. But with every visitor comes a story and this week we were going to tell a visitor story. A pretty good one too. Kind of a “Day […]

He left in a huff

A chief engineer identifies the terminus point, a stake is driven into the ground and, around that marker, the City of Atlanta grows. It’s a pretty neat story…except that isn’t exactly how it happened. Nothing in this world – or that world – is safe from political intrigue, as you see in this week’s Stories […]

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 other buildings in the neighborhood.

A dubious first

Being a lawman in Atlanta during the Civil War was challenging enough. It was especially hard for Tom Shivers when he came face to face with the man who wanted his job. It’s a story with an ironic ending that culminates with a dubious first on this week’s Stories of Atlanta.

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 […]

Moral Moviemaking

In September of 1895 at Atlanta’s Cotton States and International Exposition, Charles Jenkins demonstrated to the world what he called a Phantoscope, an early version of a movie projector. From that moment on, the world would never be the same. The invention of the movie projector led to the emergence of filmmaking as an art […]

It's probably not what he had in mind

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 […]

The first, first born

They came seeking a new life in a new town. As a newlywed couple, Sarah and Willis Carlisle left a comfortable home in Marietta and moved to Terminus to make their fortune. Little did they know that just by doing what every newlywed couple does, they would make history. It’s the story of a first […]