Time Ball or High Ball?

Browsing through some old newspapers at the Library of Congress (site) and it turns out the New Years Ball Drop was an actual daily thing 120 years ago.

There was one in New York and one in DC at the Naval Observatory and a third one started in September 1902 in Atlanta. They all dropped at noon but since this was in that period when Atlanta was still in Central Time, ours dropped at 11. This Wikipedia article and this Times Square article suggest that ship captains used these to reset their time pieces. The Greenwich Observatory apparently had the first one.

At the northeast corner of Broad and Marietta Streets downtown was what was then the Empire Building, which later became C&S bank, Bank of America and now is part of the GSU campus. If you get the chance, the old lobby is beautiful and worth a visit.

Here’s the building at the time, but no evidence of a 10 foot gold ball on top and I haven’t found any photos where you can see it

The Empire Building

I love all the awnings and open windows! Anyways here’s the article

Big Golden Time Ball To Drop at Eleven

The building did house the Atlanta office of the National Weather Service but I wasn’t able to find much about James Rossman and what the government’s official timekeeper really did. Seems like a sweet gig! In 1903 they were on the top floor (suite 1407) right next to King & Spalding’s law office.

Posted in Downtown, Weather | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Midtown’s Evolving Etymology

Found a cool article describing the changing place names for Midtown: North Atlanta, Tight Squeeze, Hip Strip, The Community, and one I’d never heard before: Blooming Hill

Good read! AtlantaStudies

Posted in Midtown, Street Scenes | Tagged | Leave a comment

Atlanta Solar System

I’d long had an idea of mapping out a to-scale solar system in town. My first idea was to have the Sun as the 15 foot circle at Findley Plaza in L5P and continue down Euclid Ave. But that didn’t map out too great as a pirate activity as I was hoping to attach planet placards to various street signs along the way and no scales seemed to match up.

Agnes Scott has come to my rescue! https://www.agnesscott.edu/bradleyobservatory/mass/index.html

The Metro Atlanta Solar System project has planet markers from Decatur out to Sweetwater Creek State Park. I consider my work here done.

Posted in Art | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Airport Mascot?

I found this curious article from 2001. Did Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport have a mascot at some time?

selection of an airport mascot. Officials are tight-lipped
Lanii Thomas in charge of mascot project
Posted in Airport | Leave a comment

Your Lights Are On

The hard-working folks on the Beltline started burying the keg-sized bases for lights about a month ago. Carefully digging around all of the beauties planted by Trees Atlanta and having to put up cones to divert the spring-time foot-traffic around their work.

The stretch of solar-powered lights from North Ave down through Inman Park is installed now!


They look a little different than the similar ones in Old Fourth Ward Park, but I haven’t had a chance to really compare them. Here’s the stretch of them looking south:


Talk about great timing, spear-headed by the folks in IPNA Freedom Park is finally getting lights too — after over 20 years! Those are 75% complete at this time.

Posted in Beltline, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

New little Beltline extensions 2019

Complete as of late March from Wylie to Kirkwood Ave. They took a while to get the curb cuts and traffic table in place so this little twenty foot section was fenced up for six months.

The section from Kirkwood to Memorial looks like it will be a while. It’s complete to the north end of the 1920’s era Atlanta & West Point Depot, but from there remains completely undone.

There’s supposed to be some GDOT work on Memorial that they may be waiting on before getting the nice new Beltline trail surface in place.

As of mid-April, they opened the old rail siding that went to the Ford auto factory. Nice wayfaring signs to separate beltline traffic.

Keep Right!

It will be really nice to have the new entrance to Kroger open. Here’s the soon-to-be door that will be right on the trail:

Then we’ll really see the competition between Trader Joe vs Kroger for Beltliners carrying their shopping home.

Posted in Beltline, Ponce | Tagged | Leave a comment

Lapidus and Portman

Found a little poem about what is now the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel. Here’s Portman’s original design for the Peachtree Plaza Hotel, built as the tallest hotel in the world:


The big pedestal held a half acre lake and one restaurant had a 100 foot waterfall. Here’s a rendering of the gardens hanging over the lake and it’s little club islands:


Here’s what it ended up looking like in the early 80’s before two major renovations removed all the grooviness:


So, with all that, maybe this poem will make a little more sense. By Ted R. Spivey


I like that last stanza “Walk then, conventioneers, Through Portman’s atriums, Dazzled by those hanging gardens Which float above the toy lakes”

Posted in Downtown | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Loew’s Grand Fire

Here’s the old beauty in 1972. It had been a long time since she showed first run Hollywood films, but Hollywood itself was pretty moribund at the time.


See the nice array of shops surrounding the ground floor. Plentiful commercial office space above were mostly professionals: accountants, doctors, lawyers, etc. The large gallery arches with tiers of bay windows, the circular corner offices, the beautiful brick work. Then tragedy strikes:


That’s the top of the back of the Coke sign on the Candler Building in the foreground. The Fulton Bank to the left and you can see the top of the Hilton above that. And the result


From what I can tell, the only people in the building were a doctor and his office assistant who discovered the fire and were rescued by the Atlanta Fire Department. And here she is being demolished later to be replaced by the Georgia Pacific tower.



Posted in Downtown, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Last section of NE Beltline is poured

Between Piedmont Park and the Krog Street tunnel only had one little unfinished part which was waiting on the completion of The Edge condo building. It’s pretty much done now but the segment isn’t officially connected yet although you can walk on the south part.

I love how they connected the east and west parts with the pedestrian bridge which echoes the salvaged bridge over Krog Street. The enormous sculptures are a lion, Godzilla and a large bull made of weathered iron. Funny that they went with palm trees here. There’s also a line of palms near their pool.

When this is officially open, you’ll be able to get from Kirkwood (where they’re finishing the bridge), along Wylie, through the Krog Tunnel then all the way to Monroe and 10th Street on the Beltline.

I didn’t catch the light very good, but here’s the bull sculpture and the future home of Shake Shack

The marketing site for The Edge has this rendering

Posted in Beltline, Inman Park | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Broad Street Recognized

Nice little write-up on the wonderful StreetsBlog featuring the newly-pedestrian-only section of Broad St. downtown.

I remember back in the early 2000’s when the city first started closing it down for “Friday Wind Down”, they would fill the street with tables and chairs and set up a small stage for live music. Nice way to enjoy eats from Reuben’s Deli or a slice from Rosa’s Pizza. They started blocking traffic permantently, then this year deployed some nice street furniture and made it into a little plaza. Nice, slow transition which was certainly sped along by GSU’s persence. Bravo!

Read about the other five hororees and vote for you favorite on their website:


Not to influence you or anything, but vote for Broad Street!

Posted in Downtown | Tagged , | Leave a comment