Atlanta Has Another Gifford Lecturer!

For the third time in 130 years, the Gifford Lecture will be given by an Atlantan. Emory philosopy professor Robert McCauley will give the lectures in 2020-2021 at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. He is the founding directory of Emory’s Center for Mind, Brain and Culture.

Previously, Atlanta was represented by Jürgen Moltmann in the mid-1980’s and by Lynne Rudder Baker in 2001.

This lecture series has produced some amazing work over the years. Standouts include

  • Hannah Arendt 1974 Life of the Mind (Willing is her masterpiece, in my opinion)
  • Karl Barth 1938 Knowledge and Service of God
  • Henri Bergson 1914 The Problem of Personality
  • William James 1902 Varieties of Religious Experience
  • Iris Murdoch 1982 Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals
  • Karl Niebuhr 1940 Nature and Destiny of Man
  • Martha Nussbaum 1992 A Theory of the Emotions
  • Carl Sagan 1985 Varieties of Scientific Experienc (a nice play on the William James classic)
  • Richard Sorabji 1996 Emotion and Peace of Mind
  • Arnold Toynbee 1953 An Historian’s Approach to Religion
  • Clement C.J. Webb 1918 God and Personality (a forgotten gem, you can find on Archive.org )
  • Alfred North Whitehead 1928 Process and Reality

Looking forward to what he presents.
Here’s the official notice

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HENSE is so legit now

Oh, he had so many death-defying tags around town: rail bridges over The Connector, old warehouse roofs you could see from MARTA, etc. But now that he’s a “Real Artist” including the huge mural at 14th and Spring, he’s graduated to even doing work you can walk on…. if you happen to be in Sicily!

Looks very similar to the piece on 14th but that one had large sculptural elements for the black circles and one of them came off this summer landing in front of the Starbucks — luckily no one was injured! A nice write-up in ArtsATL today. Keep on truckin’, brother.

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The Atlanta Sound, circa 1969

I love this Billy Joe Royal album from right in the middle of the string of hits he recorded from fellow-Atlantan Joe South’s songwriting. Undisputed classics like “Hush, hush, thought I heard you callin’ my name”, “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden”, “Games People Play” and of course “Down in the Boondocks”. These were some strong tracks and the talent pool fed right into Atlanta Rhythm Section (detailed in the excellent new authorized band history ) and all the work Al Kooper did when he came down here from NYC (detailed in his autobiography ).

This is the back side of “Cherry Hill Park” (not a Joe South tune)

I like the little description

To be a part of the “Atlanta Sound” is to feel the warmth and sensitivity that’s always around you…. He has it and he shares it with you. He loves love, he loves life, and you come to believe it…. I think you’ll understand

Keep in mind, they only had another year or two before South spent 5 years in Maui getting his life back together. Anyways, there’s one definition of the “Atlanta Sound”.

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Ann Taylor Boutwell, a remembrance

One of my favorite local historians died in August. I first noticed Ann when the Intown Paper still was going by zip-code editions and I think I saw her first in 30308. Each month, she would do a run down of things that had happened that month throughout Atlanta’s history. She always dug up new things to share every year. I found out about all kinds of nooks and crannies from her writing.

Here’s a nice piece by the editor of the current version of Intown Paper

https://atlantaintownpaper.com/2018/09/editors-letter-remembering-historian-ann-boutwell/

I don’t see a canonical way to find all of her articles on their site, hopefully they are not all “gone with the wind”. They would make a terrific source for a day-by-day desk calendar!

I took the liberty of copying a picture from there in case it disappears sometime

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Atlanta Airport keeps growing

Got to tour the airport grounds with Hannah Palmer, who’s new book Flight Path details the absorption of small towns like Mountain View. The house-by-house buyout through the early 1970’s cost some $350 million.

The town would be to the far right of this photo, the hotel over the gap in the fences is where the 1960’s space-age terminal sat and the Delta technical control building to the left might be future domestic gates.

As far as the business of the airport, concessions bring in about $600 million a year and parking $150. Parking decks are about to be drastically changed, but I didn’t realize a sizable chunk of them almost became the hold baggage screening facility until they realized they could just put it up against the main terminal where the long berm was just acting as a wearing surface. Constructed from 2004-2008, it’s just to the right of this shot that also shows the new canopy under construction

Innovations that fly under the radar (hah) like the lighting in the parking decks: You can imagine the maintenance of 5,000 light fixtures, a few years ago they had lighting companies fight it out for the longest lasting, brightest technology and ended up with the current LED system that only need to be touched every 5 years.

The Fifth Runway crossing I-285 is just a massive piece of infrastructure

As they reconstruct other runways and taxiways, they cut up the old surface like biscuits in a pan, and run the chunks over to temporary onsite cement plants to be broken up and reconstituted for the new surfaces. They finished one entire runway in 30 days a few years ago! Nothing goes to waste and they make the most of the space. To compare, DFW sits on 18,000 acres and ATL has less than 5,000 and operationally exceeds all of these physically larger airports.

Ms. Palmer also talked about a project to rejuvenate the headwaters of the Flint River with about 2 miles of its course in pipes. This granite outcroping is part of one basin

And to the left is a pipe where potentially the river could be restored to more of its natural course

More about this plan here but it could be something like the new Old Fourth Ward Park combined with the Clear Creek restoration north of Piedmont Park. Pretty exciting stuff!

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A bill from Olmsted for Druid Hills

The Library of Congress just released a clutch of Olmsted documents and there was a nice little Atlanta bit in there. I hoped for more, but this was nice.

LOC link

Joel Hurt had begun the buildout of Inman Park and was ready to start on his next project on a big chunk of land to the east, in what he was calling the Kirkwood Land Company.

While Olmsted was transforming the massive grounds of the Biltmore in North Carolina, he had made a first visit and in June 1892, before making a second visit requested a topographic map with five foot contours.

Obviously, Hurt wasn’t ready to begin development so soon, and the next year Olmsted provided a design bill which was promptly paid

Aparently “sun prints” are a way to transfer an image to a cloth-based medium. Then came a national economic crisis which jeopardized both projects, but Inman Park still slowly progressed. The next ten years saw little progress on Druid Hills and Hurt eventually sold the whole enterprise to Asa Candler who developed it with George Washington Adair and captured the high-end Atlanta housing market from Inman Park before it progressed north to Ansley Park and Buckhead. Olmsted’s designs have remained the basis of the Druid Hills neighborhood and the recently restored linear park along Ponce de Leon Avenue.

Thanks LOC and thanks to CityLab for the heads up

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Atlanta Tornado of 1975

March is a bad month for tornadoes in Atlanta and 1975 had one I’d never heard of. Sunday morning, March 24th a wicked little storm blew in from Alabama. Here are the spots it hit in Georgia

A funnel cloud touched down starting in Perry Homes and worked it’s way up near Georgia Tech touching down again south of Buford. Overall it did $56 million in damage and uprooted over 30,000 trees (I have been unable to find how many trees were impacted by the 2008 tornado). Three were killed, 152 injured. The governer’s mansion had moved from Ansley Park to Buckhead in 1967 and the new structure was heavily damaged which led to this storm being called the “Governor’s Tornado”.

Look who the city was trying to enlist to remediate the tree situation back in those days:

Greater Atlanta Nurserymen’s Association (no longer exists) and the American Society of Landscape Architects were both asked to help the city park department. Trees Atlanta certainly fits the bill better today!

Here’s a cool meteorological paper describing the storm and the science available at the time

From AMS August 1976

Be careful in Atlanta during March!

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