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An out-of-towner raises the roof

The term “carpetbagger” is defined as one who is an unscrupulous opportunist. But just as it is true that all that glitters is not gold, it is also true that not all who came to Atlanta following the Civil War were solely unscrupulous, opportunistic carpetbaggers. Take the case of Hannibal Ingalls Kimball.

H.I. Kimball was a salesman for the Pullman Car Company who came to Atlanta in 1866 and he, most certainly, was involved in some very shaky financial dealings. He also, most certainly, was involved in a number of ventures that greatly benefited the City of Atlanta, such as the Cotton Exposition of 1881 and the building of a “world-class” hotel.

Hannibal Kimball did very well for himself during his time in Atlanta. He lived in a big Victorian mansion near the present day Fox Theater. He walked in “high cotton,” as they say, rubbing elbows with most of Atlanta’s movers and shakers and, most importantly, he made a lot of money. Things were good for Kimball, well, up until that point where he and the Governor of Georgia had to leave town quickly to avoid prosecution for financial wrong doing.

But even after that, Hannibal Kimball got an “all is forgiven” pass from the city fathers and he was invited back to town to help with the rebuilding of a structure he had built in 1870…a structure that is the subject of this week’s Stories of Atlanta.

Lance Russell

Lance Russell is an Atlanta-based filmmaker and media communicator who, for over three decades, has been entrusted by clients to tell their stories. A seasoned producer with an innate ability to cut to the heart of the matter, Lance’s instincts are tailor-made for today’s “media bite” culture. Brief, poignant and always entertaining, Lance’s current passion is bringing Atlanta’s colorful and inspiring past to life with his “rest of the story” style video series, Stories of Atlanta. “History’s best communicators,” says Lance, “have always been storytellers. It’s in our DNA. ‘Once upon a time’ is how we got to where we are now.”


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  1. letmesaythis October 4, 2016 6:59 am

    The Kimball House Hotel is my favorite ‘torn down’ building. 
    The Atlanta History Center has several windows from the hotel on display and architectural blue prints or drawings in it’s archive. 
    Additionally, the sushi bar at Park Tavern in Piedmont Park has architectural (crown moulding) installed from the second Kimball House Hotel. 
    If I was rich I would tear down that parking deck and rebuild the Kimball House Hotel  – viaduct cutting off it’s face and all.Report

  2. Lance Russell October 4, 2016 1:56 pm

    letmesaythis Interesting stuff.  I’ve been to the Park Tavern building and never knew that about the crown moulding.  Thanks! – LanceReport

  3. letmesaythis October 5, 2016 7:24 am

    Lance Russell letmesaythis

    …about 12 ft of crown moulding is installed on the lower level, interior wall behind a bar / sushi counter. 
    AJC article about it ..maybe 15 yrs ago?Report

  4. Zach April 7, 2017 3:33 pm

    Lance! I always enjoy your videos but I have to point out a small error in this one: the first image is ca.1871 and is of the 1st KHH done in the then-fashionable second Empire style (the narration says otherwise).
    Thanks and keep up the great work!Report


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