Stouffer’s Atlanta Inn

Here’s an ad from 1974 for the old Stouffer’s which for years was a Renaissance, and is now a Melia Hotel

Scan 2

The bar back then was the “swinging’ Grogshop” with live entertainment from cocktail time and dancing til 2am

Posted in Midtown | Tagged , | Leave a comment

View from the tower

A few pictures from last month from the top of the old BellSouth tower




Posted in Midtown | Leave a comment

A Brief History of 280 Elizabeth

Ok, it’s real brief right now ;)

This was an old creek bed that ran between N Highland and Lake/Sincair and when it was a giant surface lot for the Mead factory, it flooded the houses to the east frequently. The retention pond at IPV helped tremendously but when this part of 280 is running, I think the problem will be solved


Here’s the dirt displaced for the trench


I call it Mount Victory Sandwich

Update: pano from Feb 1, 2014

Posted in developemnt, Inman Park, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Midtown has always been screwy

So, you want to complain that 11th Street doesn’t connect from Piedmont Park to Westside; that 13th doesn’t cross Peachtree; that 12th is crooked at W. Peachtree. Well, you’re just spoiled I tell you! Atlanta pioneer, Richard Peters owned most of midtown and created a nice street grid but his property didn’t go north of 8th Street. Anything north of that was chaos! Check out this property map from 1895 — courtesy of our old friend Franklin Garrett


Posted in Midtown | Leave a comment

A lttle streetcar progress

A sign of the times!


There’s one curved track at Ellis and Peachtree and now another down at Edgewood and Fort. Slowly but surely


Posted in streetcar, Sweet Auburn | Leave a comment

Lakewood Fairgrounds

When it was finally time for Atlanta to build a proper water system, after numerous false starts they settled on a spot just a few miles south of downtown. Near the headwaters of the South River a dam was completed 35 feet above the river bed and 350 feet long and by June 1875 was filled 25 feet deep. Within 10 years, the city had already outgrown it and this is when the artesian well (here’s an older post about various wells dug around Atlanta at the turn of the century) was dug 2044 feet deep at Five Points downtown which did produce 200,000 gallons a day but soon that was outgrown as well. By 1893, the whole operation was moved to the current Howell Mill location and Lakewood became a 300 acre spot for rest and boating. The whole of which was leased out for $600 a year to concessioners.

In 1915, the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce wanted to put together a huge regional fair to expand the existing Boys’ Corn Club (later 4-H Club) shows that they had sponsored since 1910. The Lakewood grounds had a large lake and were already owned by the city and was deemed the best location. The exposition buildings were completed in time for the first Southeastern Fair held in 1916. Here they are in the 1940’s (thanks, Sherwood!)

Lakewood 1945

The fair continued to grow and add roller coasters and other rides until the late 1970’s. Here’s a view from the 1960’s (thanks, A!)

And here’s a vivid description A posted to my old website years ago. It really makes you feel like you’re there

There’s so much to say about Lakewood it could easily justify several threads. I just thought I’d comment briefly on the Fair. It was truly one of the highlights of the year.

The fair was a whirl of colors, sounds and smells that you don’t find in today’s theme parks and air-conditioned exhibits like the World of Coke and the Aquarium. At the fair the generators and cables and the machinery they powered were all out in the open, humming and crackling with electricity. Tending them were men with tattoos and slicked back hair and mustaches and faces that didn’t look like our daddies and the other men we knew. The smells of the livestock, the grease and gasoline, the baked goods, the popcorn and hot dogs, and the crowd itself and a million other curious things mingled together in the humid Georgia evening in a way that still instantly comes to mind. There were sounds everywhere — sounds you didn’t hear everyday. Bells dinging, the cacophony of the gears, pulleys and belts that drove the rides, and the tantalizing whirl of cotton candy machines. Feet on wooden ramps, the shouts of the barkers, tinkling coins, softballs whacking against canvas as their hurlers strove in vain to topple a stack of wooden milk bottles which you would think could be knocked over by my grandma.

Well, I could go on, but suffice to say it was certainly a magical time, especially for us kids. Here are … a couple of things that still stick in my mind. One is a photo from 1961 showing the mighty Greyhound. In my mind it dominated the whole park. You could see it and hear its unmistakable clatter and roar from just about any point on the fairgrounds. The second is a picture I took in 1974, coming from the opposite direction. This was shortly before the Greyhound was demolished for Smokey and the Bandit and because it had just become too dangerous.

Sadly, I can’t find these photos any more. Then Scott’s Antique Market took over into Shirley Franklin’s time as mayor. Then the most amazing thing happened. Movies! It’s now the home to tons of motion picture sound stages and hopefully will be for a long time.

If you want to do some good work with old buildings, the 1920’s era commercial district nearby around Jonesboro Road and Lakewood Ave still largely stands. It’s ripe for redevelopment and I think you’d get plenty of business from the movie folks.

Posted in Lakewood, Water | Leave a comment

1911: Oakhurst’s first mayor murdered in his front yard!

After the founding, the first election of municipal officers was held on Tuesday, January 3, 1911. The “progressive little suburb of Atlanta, held its election for mayor and councilmen”.

The people honored W.H. Johnston with the mayor’s chair. Mr. Johnston is the “father” of Oakhurst, having devoted his time and capital to the up-building of the town.

The counilmen elected with him were: B.P. Dickinson, C.L. Morgan, J.M. Farmer, J.L. Wallace and K. Dearing. Bonds worth $5,000 were issued to build a school house/city hall. [where was that?]

That summer, Decatur was already attempting to merge with Oakhurst. Then, scandal hits:

Saturday afternoon, September 23, 1911:
Mayor Johnston murdered!

Who better to tell the tale then the soon-to-be-Hearst-owned, Atlanta Georgian

Pearson W. Zuber was a grocer on College Ave and Mayor Johnston was at his home.

In a great many places in Oakhurst the road is torn up, so Zuber was forced to employ a boy with a push cart to deliver groceries. The boy, according to those who witnessed the affair, had left the cart standing on the sidewalk in front of Mayor Johnston’s home in Viola ave [now Madison]. Johnston, it is said, seeing this, walked up and deliberately kicked the cart, with its cargo of groceries, into the gutter. The delivery boy ran to the nearest telephone and notified Mr. Zuber of the mayor’s action.

Zuber hurried to the scene and demanded that Johnston pay for the ruined groceries. This the mayor, it is said, refused to do. A blow was struck. By whom it is not clear, but the consensus of opinion of witnesses indicates it was by Johnston. For a moment or so they battered each other, and then Johsnon was seen to pull away from the grocer and draw from his pocket a revolver. Five shots rang out as Johnston emptied his revolver at Zuber. Blood spurted from the two wounds Zuber had received, but, picking up a heavy scantling [basically, a two by four] that lay near by, he started for Johnston, who was retreating. With a blow he felled the mayor and then, standing over his prostrate form, beat out his brains.

Investigation made by the police and by Congressman William Schley Howard who knew personally both principals. The fatal fight can be laid directly to an outsider, a young man who stood near them when the argument started and egged them on to fight.

Johnston had been carried into his house where he died a few minutes later in the arms of his wife.

Meanwhile Zuber who had been fired at five times “two of the bullets taking effect, one in his left lung and one in his hand.”

He staggered towards his store and fell unconscious into his wife’s arms. He was placed on an electric streetcar and rushed to Grady as calling an ambulence was deemed too slow to save him.

Johnston is survived by a wife and two children. Zuber has a wife and four children.

Johnston’s funeral was held Monday afternoon, Sept 25, 1911 from Patterson’s chapel. Burial in Westview cemetery.

Oct 13, 1911:
Pearson W. Zuber, the grocer who killed Mayor Johnston, of Oakhurst, with a timber three weeks ago, was arrested Friday afternoon on a warrent charging murder and locked in the DeKalb county jail at Decatur.

Zuber was shot by Mayor Johnston and was sent to Grady hospital, where he was believed to be fatally wounded. He recovered and was released last Saturday. On Friday a warrent was taken out by the family of Johnston and Zuber arrested.

The legal firm of Arnaud & Donehoo, of Atlanta, has been retained as counsel by Zuber and will make an effort to secure his release on bond.

Oct 17, 1911:
P.W. Zuber was released without bond Monday afternoon, when the case him for killing Mayor W.H. Johnston of Oakhurst, was dismissed by Justices Shelverton, Camp and White of Decatur.

The state made a motion for a continuance of the commitment trial on the grounds that as important witness was kept away on account of illness. But Paul Donehoo, attorney for the defense insisted that the trial proceed, as eye witnesses to the fight were present to testify. The justices agreed that the trial should proceed and when the state refused to put up any witnesses, the case was dismissed.

However, a new warrant may be sworn out against Zuber when the state is ready to proceed with its case.

Several weeks ago Mayor Johnston was killed by Zuber in front of Johnston’s home in Oakhurst. A quarrel started over some trivial matter. Zuber was shot and Mayor Johnston was killed by a blow over the head with a timber in which there was stuck a large nail.

Oct 24, 1911:
Zuber rearrested by Sheriff Morris

Friday night Oct 27, 1911:
Zuber was shot at while undressing in his home in the back of his grocery store. The attempted-assassin fled in the darkness and ran up the railroad embankment, just across the road from the store. Zuber was out on $2,000 bond.

I haven’t been able to track down what eventually happened to Zuber. If anybody can help I’d be much abliged!

Atl. Georgian 4 Jan 1911

Atl. Georgian 24 Sep 1911

Atl. Georgian 13 Oct 1911

Atl. Georgian 17 Oct 1911

There’s an article stub on Wikipedia forĀ Rep. Howard

Posted in Oakhurst | 1 Comment