As you all may know, I am a part of a team of awesome SIFs who are working on an educational, innovative project. The project is aimed towards recreating an interactive virtual 3D model of the intersection of Decatur St. and Ivy St. (now Peachtree Center Ave.) in what it would have been like in the 1930s. Working on this project for the last semester has shed light in the fact that the project has taken a lot more time and energy than expected, while also hitting several bumps on the road. To me, that’s no problem as I know that all great masterpieces (not implying that our project will live up to the word “masterpiece”) take hard work, time, and dedication.

Currently we have been at a standstill with the project because of one fact: there is a lack of pictures of the street during the 1930s. In order to resolve our problem, My job for the project was to search the internet inside and out for any pictures of buildings, preferably head-on shots, that would aid in recreating the building in a virtual 3D model as accurately as possible. Another SIF was setting up the 3D world in the game engine called Unity. As the search continued and the results were very disheartening and minimal, we decided to look to outside sources for help. One of our project supervisors heard that Emory was attempting to recreate the city of Atlanta into virtual 3D model in a similar project. He explained that those at Emory had access to old maps and pictures. Soon we were in contact with a project member from Emory, and found that they did have a lot of information and maps but they were not specific to the street that we were particularly focused on during the time. Then again, back to square one.

As a couple of weeks went by, A SIF came back with news that he had contacted GSU’s special collections which had resulted with no pictures, but he did return with an explanation.

Decatur Street from the 1920s to the 1930s was a hub of Blues artists, moonshiners, and prostitutes. The street was home to Theater Eighty One which housed some of the most influential rising blues artists. At the time racial discrimination against African Americans was still a prominent issue. Decatur Street was a street filled with famous dancing halls, great blues artists, and completely original entertainment but it was also severely impoverished. The area was filled with poor African Americans and other minority groups that were rowdy and to the public eye, an eye sore. During this time the idea of the new south was being implemented and to the government photographing only the positive sides of Atlanta was in their best interest. As the poverty rate in this are was astonishingly high, also contributed to the fact that people in this area did not have access to cameras and therefore added to the high rate of undocumentation of the area. This street is a hole in history, when it comes to trying to dig up photographs and visuals of the area.

With all of that said consideration of taking the project to a different historic street around the GSU campus might have to be looked into. Hopes for recreating the virtual model of Decatur street are still strong, we just might have to consider other sources.

Although we have come to a wall in the project, all the research done has allowed for us as SIFs, and myself personally, to gain so much knowledge of the area that surrounds us as well as gain experience , that not all projects are going to come to be finished and completed easily.

I am still looking forward to where this project will take us and what new information and knowledge I can gain.

Until Next Time,

Alexandra Orrego