Nearly tucked into the grass is this sign. It features a picture of a crane, and the phrase “Atlantification.” The sign is a diamond and triangular, like one warning about construction areas. I can only infer, but to me, the piece felt like a commentary about Atlanta’s habit of destroying and rebuilding rather than adapting, though a bit ironic message to be on the Beltline, a poster for urban reuse.
Ponce City Market, perhaps the Beltline’s most famous and biggest attraction, was in a festive spirit last week. Fake cobwebs and other iconic Halloween decorations dotted the shopping center. Next to several large tables on the second floor was this display featuring several pumpkins, skeletons, cobwebbed trees, and more.
This picture may seem rather unremarkable, but it stuck out to me. This was my third trip to the Beltline, a sunny Saturday afternoon. My first two trips took place on a rainy Sunday evening and the middle of a Thursday. Thus every other time that I had passed this clearing, I saw no one else. Saturday, however, it was full. A symphony of chatter filled the air, and kids were running everywhere. It truly showed off the desirability of the Beltline.
Not long after you enter the Eastside Beltline, the entrance across from Krog Street Market, a long length of fence has a gallery of photos displayed. The gallery includes collections of several different themes, from sunbathers on a Greek beach to survivors of African warlords to children playing sports in developing countries. It is a testament to the Beltline’s ability of inclusiveness in regards to medium.
The Beltline line contains yet another a unique exhibit: an arboretum. The Beltline plans to create the longest arboretum in the world at 22 miles. Together, the Beltline and Trees Atlanta plan to restore the ecology surrounding the entirety of the trail. Currently, the Eastside Trail encompasses more than 190,000 individual plans across 43 varieties of wildflower and grass species. The group intends to plant hundreds of trees throughout the upcoming Westside Trail. This feature of the Beltline, beyond the wonderful aesthetic, has opened educational opportunities to learn about ecology, conduct research, and work on restoration projects, while offering a history of Atlanta’s floral history.
Each different species of tree has a marker in front of providing details about (pictured above). As seen in the picture, the marker identifies the tree ( a China Snow) with its common and scientific name, names who “donated” the tree (Atlanta Beltline and Atlanta Trees), and denotes where the tree originates from (China, Japan, Korea).
For more info, go to http://beltline.org/programs/atlanta-beltline-arboretum/
Several artworks have signs like this one, that give information on the piece and the artist. The top of the sign lists the artist’s name, then the name of the piece, and then a paragraph written by the artist that explains the piece. It adds to the art museum effect of the Beltline by offering information on the art.
We had a short discussion of benches when we looked at my first collage of artifacts, so naturally, I was on the lookout for another one. This one resembles something out of the Flintstones. It has curvy wood separated by three points by large stone circles. Going back to our classroom discussion, we talked about how benches are often made thinner to prevent homeless people from sleeping on them. For this bench, it is definitely slim, and the curves would prevent someone sleeping even more. As usual, I hope that this is simply an artistic choice.
This video offers a drone’s eye view of the Atlanta Lantern Parade that has become a tradition along the Beltline. The parade involves people crafting lanterns and marching them down the trail. Anyone can participate, and involvement has swelled to tens of thousands of people in just a few years. Even more watch. This video gives a brief tour of the parade and the Beltline, and boasts the area’s beauty.
As most know, the Beltline is focused on the unused railroads that led to the city’s construction. Unfortunately, few know about the beauty destroyed when the rail stations were demolished. Atlanta’s main central depot, Atlanta Union Station, was built in 1853, razed by Union forces during the Civil War in 1864, rebuilt in 1870, then relocated in 1930. Passenger rail activity ended in 1971, and the city finally bulldozed the station in 1972. Pictured above, one can see the beautiful 1930 station (picture taken 1946). Below, one can see what it is today: a parking lot.
This map attempts to give an approximate account of my two walks along the Eastside Beltline. The routes that I walked on have been highlighted, and several artworks that I saw marked. However, all locations are just estimations and should not be relied on. Further, Google’s routing mechanism manipulates the walking paths slightly so that it may have thrown off the highlighted areas slightly. Nevertheless, the map should give readers a good idea of where I walked and where I found various images.