Atlanta: A Lot Can Change in Two Decades

Am I the last person to discover this new-for-2012 blog, entitled Return to Atlanta??

What the gist of it?  Well here’s the two-sentence summary…

From 1989 to 1995 I roamed Atlanta taking photos of scenes that were sure to vanish.  Two decades later I’m revisiting the same spots to see how things have changed.

Curbed Atlanta [who gets my hat-tip] describes the site as a “more intimate version of Atlanta Time Machine”.  I think that’s a pretty accurate description.  So all you ATM lovers out there, you may want to add Return to Atlanta to your regular rotation.  I know I will!

1995 and 2012 photos of view from N. Highland bridge courtesy of Return to Atlanta

Little 5 Points circa 1990

Always wondered what L5P looked and felt like back in its 1990s hey-day, but haven’t been able to get your hands on any plutonium for the Delorian?  Well, Youtube is the next best thing!

h/t: Pecanne Log

Midweek History: Centennial Park Before-and-After

Is pre-1996 really history?  Of course it is!

For all you – or should I say “us” – post-Olympic transplants and not-borns, here’s what sat on the site of Centennial Park in downtown Atlanta before it was built.


Photo courtesy of the Centennial Park Facebook Page

Coke’s Secret Recipe Published in the AJC in 1979?

I’m sure many of you have already heard about this, but it’s Atlanta history that’s captured the world’s attention, so therefore I feel compelled to mention it.

“This American Life” thinks it has discovered the secret recipe for Coca-Cola in a 1979 issue of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

And in case you’re interested, here’s the AJC’s coverage of its own story, gone viral.

1939 Color Home Movie of Atlanta

Video of the 1939 Premiere of “Gone with the Wind”.  Courtesy of the Atlanta History Center!

Georgia Railroad Freight Depot Will Outlive Whale Mural

Everyone knows that Sherman burned Atlanta.  Fewer know that the Confederacy burned some of Atlanta first as they retreated out of the city on September 2, 1864 (which I recently learned at a Decatur Book Festival talk).

But perhaps even fewer know where to locate the oldest building in downtown Atlanta today.

Well, if you’ve never been out of your car downtown, you’ve probably never seen it.  But if you’ve ever rambled around Underground Atlanta, you might be accidently come across it.

The Georgia Railroad Freight Depot – built in 1869 – sits just outside Underground, below an oddly placed mural of whales on the side of a Central Avenue parking deck, and serves today as banquet hall for the Georgia Legislature.  Many Atlanta history buffs have pointed to the strange juxtaposition of the Depot and whales of downtown Atlanta as a great visual example of Atlanta’s strange and forgetful relationship with its own history.

Well now, according to the AJC, the 17 year-old whaling wall must be removed in order to repair the deteriorating parking deck.  Soon the wall will promote Georgia State instead of celebrate Atlanta’s great whaling history.

So I guess a dramatic mural of a steam engine rolling into the station is out of the question, but perhaps GSU could reserve a small spot on the wall to indicate the key piece of Atlanta history located just below the surface of our modern infrastructure.

Photo courtesy of City Data

Prohibition: Atlanta’s Inadvertent Savior?

Where would Atlanta be without Coca-Cola?  And where would Coca-Cola be without prohibition?

From the January 11, 1908 issue of The Atlanta Georgian.