the histories of our streets

Georgia State University students map Atlanta's past

Tag: Demolished Buildings

Techwood Homes

Tanyard Creek
Image of Tanyard Bottom

In 1936, Techwood Homes became the first-ever public housing project in the Nation. It was located northwest of Downtown, between the Coca-Cola headquarters and Georgia Tech’s campus. Its construction replaced a de facto integrated low-income neighborhood known as Tanyard Bottom. At the time of its opening, Techwood Homes was established as a “whites only” complex. It would remain this way until white flight infringed on the city after integration was brought on by the civil rights movement. Over the years, federal funding was not properly allocated toward housing projects such as Techwood. As a result, the neighborhood became a blight to the city with failed revitalizations, high crime, and high poverty rates. In 1990, it was announced that the Summer Olympics would be hosted in Atlanta, and thus began the revitalization of poor neighborhoods such as Techwood Homes. Sixty years after its creation, Techwood Homes would be demolished and replaced by a mixed-income housing project called Centennial Place which still stands today. The initial development and then redevelopment of Techwood Homes are both terribly similar as both times business and political leaders sought to replace a blighted neighborhood and, in the process, ended up disproportionately harming some of the city’s most vulnerable communities.

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Dr. King’s Nobel Prize Banquet and Coca-Cola during the Civil Rights Era

African American integration leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., right, winner of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, receives a glass bowl inscribed to him as a “citizen of Atlanta, with respect and admiration,” from Rabbi Jacob Rothschild of the Temple Synagogue in Atlanta on Jan. 27, 1965. (AP Photo)

“African American integration leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with Rabbi Jacob Rothschild in Atlanta. January 27, 1965.” AJCP552-028b. Atlanta Journal-Constitution Photographic Archive. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library

In January 27th of 1965, a huge dinner banquet was held in Dinkler Plaza Hotel (known as Hotel Ansley until 1953), located alongside Williams street in downtown Atlanta. The banquet was to congratulate and honor an Atlanta native who just won the Nobel Peace Prize in November 1964, the leader of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The banquet was a huge success, and was attended by as many as 1,500 people of both black and white races. The New York Times next day reported that “the Dinkler Plaza Hotel was jammed far beyond comfortable capacity with Atlantans” who “stood and sang [We Shall Overcome], the most famous song of the civil rights movement”, and commented that the successful banquet was “symbolic of Atlanta’s attitude on race relations”.[1]

However, though it is not very well known, success of this banquet and the civil rights movement in general, were also closely tied to Coca-Cola, an Atlanta native company that became an international giant. The banquet to honor Dr. King was a symbolic incident which highlighted Coca-Cola Company’s effort to respond to a changing American society, and to the civil rights movement during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Continue reading

Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium: Mayor Allen’s Impact on Atlanta

Growing up thirty minutes outside of Atlanta has its perks. For me, the best thing about it was going to Braves games. By the age of 10, I considered myself a dedicated Atlanta Braves fan. I’d stay up late fantasizing about inviting Braves players to my birthday party or playing for the team in the big leagues. The main reason I live in Atlanta today is because those games made me fall in love with the city. Atlanta has so much life and energy so I’ve always been intrigued by its history. While Turner Field became the permanent home of the Braves following the 1996 Olympics, I never got the chance to witness a game in the Braves’ former ballpark, Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Yet, the remnants of the coliseum still stand tall and firm, casting a long shadow over the infamous Turner Field ‘blue lot’ reserved for commuting fans. My passion for the Braves and curiosity of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium inspired me to identify the party responsible for bringing my favorite team to the city; that search led me to a familiar name, Ivan Allen, Jr. An individual whose impact on Atlanta stands tall and firm much like the memorial wall wrapping around the blue lot today.

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Atlanta’s Carnegie Library

The history of Atlanta’s Carnegie Library is the story of a building, the story of the people who used its services and the story of the systems that were built to maintain and take advantage of it. Unknown to most Atlantans is that the public library system, seen as an everyday, normal part of life in Atlanta, had its very beginnings in that building. The story of this old building is particularly difficult to grasp because it has been torn down and replaced with the new Atlanta-Fulton Public Library on the same piece of land. In this report, I found it important to embrace the human element by discussing the works of individuals to create the Carnegie Library system, such as Anne Wallace and Andrew Carnegie. But I also did not wish to ignore the social and economic factors that affected it, such as the racial politics of the Jim Crow South. The connections between an international system of Carnegie libraries and the specific Atlanta branches helped to bring historical context and answer questions of continuity and perception.

 

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The Secret Mysteries of Kell Hall

Myke Johns, "Georgia History:100 Years of Georgia State University." Atlanta's NPR Station, Nov. 22, 2013.

Myke Johns, “Georgia History:100 Years of Georgia State University.” Atlanta’s NPR Station, Nov. 22, 2013.

UPDATE: KELL HALL WAS DEMOLISHED IN 2019-2020

If you attended Georgia State University, Kell Hall is forever ingrained in your memory. It was the old building where classrooms were frustratingly hidden away in bizarre half-level floors. There was an odd rampway that you climbed arduously to reach science labs on 4th, 5th, and 6th floors. You remember the gray and beige exterior that seems aesthetically questionable. What If I told you that these features were purposely designed by well-renowned engineers? What if Kell Hall was meant to be a beautiful and technological marvel? What if Kell Hall had a secret past in a different life? In search of these answers, let’s journey into the mysteries of the secret past of Kell Hall.

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