The Making of Modern Suburban Atlanta; or, The Great Dunwoody Tennis Boom of 1991

14 Sep

Now we all know how everyone left the city (on roads, in their cars) but to where did they go? That’s what episode three of The Making of Modern Atlanta is all about.“The development of suburbs and exurbs raise many thorny issues for the making of modern Atlanta.”

The History Twins meet us by Arabia Mountain in DeKalb County. I love when they both go casual at the same time. Continue reading

Wi-fi on Ponce

2 Sep

These are REAL wireless networks along Ponce de Leon Avenue.

This one is at the intersection of Ponce and Boulevard. Spooky!!

This one popped up like a block east of the Clermont Hotel/Lounge.

Can you even imagine what the passwords are??

Follow-up note: Just realized there is now another Church’s Chicken on Ponce that is very close to where the old one was, so the wi-fi network was not my phone being haunted by a deceased fried chicken restaurant like my initial reaction implies. Sorry.

The History Twins: Forget all your troubles, forget all your cares…

1 Sep

How could there even be another episode of The Making of Modern Atlanta after that last one? What more is there to say about Atlanta?

First of all, it may take a bit of explaining to tell you what’s going on in this picture below. Once upon a time, there was a “construction” industry in Atlanta. They actually “built” “buildings” rather than just setting off news stories about planned developments. These “buildings” and their corresponding “construction” required a great deal of “money” that came from “jobs” and “investments”.
Now you might better comprehend the context of this episode.

It begins with our good friend Tim Crimmins anxiously scaling the heights of the Peachtree Plaza.
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The Making of Modern Atlanta: 20 years later

30 Aug

The year: 1991. The Olympics: Five years away. Atlanta: Hadn’t done a thing to prepare itself for the event it was pinning its every hope and dream for the future on.

Ready to blow the lid off this whole “Atlanta” thing – for the entire world to see, on Public Broadcasting Atlanta, with the help of that shadowy group called the Georgia Humanities Council.

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Atlanta’s music scene

8 Aug

In 1970, on this very day in history, somehow Atlanta got a centerfold in Billboard for having a happening music scene.

Most of the stories in this section of the weekly magazine are of the boosterish quality that exemplifiy anything that the city’s movers and shakers could twist enough arms to get written about them in the national press, when they weren’t already writing it themselves in the local media.
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Finally! GSU’s school spirit: “The life here is so urban where we learnin'”

14 Jul

Remember that terrrrrrrrrible song by the GTGs of Georgia Tech, called “The Ratio“? And that embarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrassing UGA Orientation Leader music video, “Party in the UGA“? Georgia State University finally has its own peppy music video – “Bleed Blue” – the opening notes of which sounds a little like the overture to Red, White, and Blaine. Undergraduates probably feel deep pride for this college football-inspired theme, whereas I just admire Frenchy P.k.A. JeenyuZ’s silky Jermaine Stewart locks.
(via GSU’s library blog)

Anyone can related to wanting salads with raisins and ranch dressing! Anyone can relate to wanting a class in the “fancy” (relatively – by GSU standards) and over-air-conditioned Aderhold building where “you can follow me as we walk past the homeless/in Woodruff Park, yeah, I kind of feel like they my homies.” Anyone can relate to wanting to dance in a tube top in a Downtown plaza! That’s why this video is so universal, regardless of one’s affiliation with GSU or not.

Frenchy917 has so many other Panther spirit videos on YouTube, too. SO MANY.

Previously: State budget cut threats have gone too far

Little 5 Points, 1990

1 Jul

We won’t ruin any of the beautiful moments in this clip from People TV‘s Atlanta Lifestyles by describing them with vulgar words. Just watch!

Previously: Autumn refreshment

Sneak peek!

29 Jun

This past weekend while researching the second installment of Pecanne Log’s Rural Explorer, which has been a full year in the making, we snooped around Cedartown. I had to go ahead and post these pictures and urge you to make haste to Cedartown because last Friday wrapped a shoot for an upcoming Billy Bob Thornton movie in downtown Cedartown. This was/is a gigantic deal for the little town, and a gigantic deal for me as the whole downtown is still done up like it’s in 1969 small town Alabama (the setting). I’m not sure how long the “set” will be up, or if the production crew took it down on Monday – but if you’re going up that way for the 4th of July weekend, check it out if you love good old-fashioned window dressings!

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Poncey-Highland’s construction boom

14 Jun

Do we really need two stories of hot dogs? No, this isn’t a hypothetical question; do we as Atlanta residents need two stories of gourmet hot dogs? I have been waiting on a hot dog retailer to start in this city for YEARS but frankly, I just think two stories of hot dogs is one too many. It just is!

And a block south, we have been struggling to comprehend Buddy’s strategy and corporate vision through its recent aesthetic improvements – taking down the iconic Buddy’s lettering, painting the awning, transforming from a Citgo into a Chevron, etc. Still, they have not done a thing with that flower shop that was supposed to be the King of Pops’ shop, and the latest development is a small shanty town on the north side of the store. Seriously, what is going on at Buddy’s?

Unsolved mysteries

Boys of Summer, Part I

14 Jun

Helloooooo Georgia Historical Society Senior Historian Dr. Stan Deaton, star of Today in Georgia History!

For the record, until Councilmember Alex Wan grows back his surfer hair, we will not be featuring him as a Pecanne Log Boy of Summer!

Well, maybe for old times’ sake we’ll post one screenshot of his previously wavy locks just to remind us how it used to be:
Thank you to the special tipster who sent us that screenshot.

A brief filmography of Xernona Clayton

6 Jun

The street renaming controversy has gotten everyone in a lather over what constitutes a boulevard, if things should be named for living people, if Centennial Olympic Park should be renamed Thomas Patrick Wheatley Contemplative Park and redesigned as a traditional Irish garden/a potato field, etc., etc., etc. But the biggest question in the comments of every local internet news source is, “Who is Xernona Clayton?” Since people do not curse Ms. Clayton’s name whenever they get lost in Downtown Atlanta trying to find Trader Vic’s but instead just keep running into one block of loading docks and parking garage entrances after another, and since she has a first name that starts with an X, everyone is curious about this future namesake of some sort of City of Atlanta property (a plaza). However, one correct answer to this popular query about her identity that I haven’t yet seen is, “Co-star of the 1974 horror film The House on Skull Mountain.”
(Senator Leroy Johnson also makes a brief appearance as “Mr. Ledoux”, an attorney.)

Well, this is just leading us to more questions; specifically, what is the house on Skull Mountain? Obviously, guys, this is it:
Continue reading

Alternatives to public transit

15 May

While MARTA is famous for being MARTA, there are lots of other little lesser-known transportation services running in metro Atlanta that are realer than the streetcar, BeltLine’s transit component, and Stonecrest monorail – for example, Buford Highway’s jitneys, Decatur’s pedicabs, and the Jesus Come Into My Life bus service. We’ve seen these buses traveling in a pack through Downtown before, but were never fast enough with the camera phone to capture the moment.

Then this weekend a map/transit nerd reader who shares with us an appreciation for Google Maps’ street view sent us this:

While you’re googling the Jesus Come Into My Life bus schedule and routes, watch the first minute or so of the following super 8 footage to see MARTA rail in the very early 1980s.

Be a doll and buy these for me

13 May

Clear out a shelf in your lighted curio cabinet or rearrange the decorative needlepoint pillows on your bed to accommodate the greatest sale on Gilt Groupe ever, Madame Alexander Collectible Dolls! Including three kinds of Scarlett O’Hara dolls AND A RHETT BUTLER DOLL.


Previously: St. Patrick’s Day, again??

Buford Highway, Esquire

12 May

Has anyone ever employed the legal counsel/architectural design services of this fine firm?

Little Darlings

9 May

It’s almost summer camp time, which means for adults, watching movies about summer camp with deep nostalgia and sentimentality and pretending that summer camp was like that for us. One of the most famous of the camp genre was 1980’s Little Darlings, which still languishes in VHS-only purgatory. However, the summer is a great time to catch it edited for television audiences, whether on TBS, TNT, or one of those other channels.

Little Darlings was filmed at Hard Labor Creek State Park (terrible name, wonderful place) in Rutledge, Georgia but the pre- and post-camp scenes were shot in Atlanta. The generic poor person apartments where Angel (Kristy McNichols) lives have likely been demolished…

…but we know Ferris (Tatum O’Neal) is rich because she lives at the Swan House and shows up for camp in a smart linen suit and a Rolls-Royce.
Continue reading

Another modest proposal

5 May

While on the Ponce kick from yesterday, we found this clever little article by one “Slab Towner” in the July 1984 issue of The Great Speckled Bird proposing an Atlanta Fast Food Historic District:

The creation of an “Atlanta Fast Food Historic District” in the area of Ponce de Leon, Boulevard and North Avenues, to maintain the historic value of the area, could serve to protect the fast food and convenience stores from unfair competition from other potential retailers who might employ vicious tactics, like offering quality and lower prices, to drive them out of business. A certain percentage of the land would have to be devoted fast foods and convenience, just like it is now, forever.

This modest proposal could also serve as a model for other areas seeking such designations, like the Memorial Drive Strip Center Archeological District, to preserve the remnants of the earliest days of “white flight” in the southern portions of Fulton and DeKalb, or even the selection of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and Parking Lots as a National Historic Site to show precisely how sensitive and responsible a white local government can be in balancing community needs for frivolous stuff like housing and the desires of big business for a Big League City with Big League profit opportunities, and fast.

27 years ago, folks! Get the full article here.

And y’all gotta go to the DeKalb History Center‘s exhibit “The Great Speckled Bird: The Turbulent Sixties in Atlanta, 1968-1976” that opens May 17 (I know – only two of those years were the actual sixties). We’ve heard it’s so good, and hope to see lots of photos and former residents of the infamous Pershing Point Apartments!

In the meantime: Boyd Lewis’ “Hippies in Atlanta! However did they get in?” on Like the Dew and Tales of Old Atlanta.

Previously: This week in history: Edgewood Avenue increasing in importance and popularity

Anarchy in the PDL

4 May

Here’s another charming reminder of Atlanta’s relentless gentrification and decline and unfulfilled threat of gentrification and even further decline: An early ’80s be-turtlenecked Tom Zarrilli performing “Destroy Midtown”, a vicious punk number with the band Attack and Decay to protest the closing of the Nitery Club on Ponce.

Warning: Contains satirical adult language and graphic descriptions of violence inflicted on landlords and Evil Real Estate Developers!

If you’ve been on his tour of Ponce de Leon Avenue, you’ll recall that the Nitery Club is where the owner sold Italian men’s dress shoes behind the bar. According to Mr. Zarrilli, after the Nitery Club shut down, it briefly became a gay bar, and then a Greek restaurant called the Golden Dolphin. Now it is that grown-up version of a college dining hall adored by overcooked pasta lovers all over town, Eats.

As we’ve mentioned before, there’s been a long-time fear of Ponce de Leon Avenue becoming upscale or overly yuppie. Now there is a Whole Foods, a Chipotle, and an Urban Outfitters on Ponce – all signs of modern middle-class retail development. But there is also the vandalized City Hall East, the rotting empty Clermont Hotel, Model T bar, the mysterious Lake Building, and the woman who pleasures herself on a beach towel in front of the vacant Wachovia at the corner of Monroe Avenue. Ponce doesn’t have a Smut Busters like Cheshire Bridge Road (well, Midtown Ponce Security Alliance) but there is an ongoing resentment of the crime and blight issues related to the sharp divide between Midtown and Old Fourth Ward that Ponce represents, as well as, on the other hand, the isolated development or “revitalization” that has happened (don’t even get us started on Sembler parking lots and in the ’50s and ’60s what an article in The Great Speckled Bird alluded to as “a shadowy group called the Ponce de Leon Association”). Everything we find about Ponce’s condition since the dissolution of Atlanta’s urban core echoes the same concerns, like everything else about Atlanta ever – but we’re too busy to be self-reflective or observe multi-decade patterns of failure!

Do you think “Destroy Midtown” played last Saturday night when 3 Legged Cowboy closed?

According to our sources, there should be another tour of Ponce this spring/early summer, so watch the Urban Hiking blog or email list for updates.

Previously: Plaza Drugs through the ages

Let’s get literary

20 Apr

via GSU's Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers Photographic Collection

What’s your favorite poem about Buckhead? Come on, everyone has one!

Looking for the Buckhead Boys” by James Dickey?

(Sample verse: “First in the heart/Of my blind spot are/The Buckhead Boys. If I can find them, even one/I’m home. And if I can find him catch him in or around/Buckhead, I’ll never die: it’s likely my youth will walk/Inside me like a king.”)

Buckhead Spring” by Clark Dean?

(Sample verse: “And a woman walks her goldendoodle alongside joggers who stride down sidewalks glistening,/while brightly colored buses lurch from their stops to join the sports cars and SUVs/that parade down Peachtree”)

“This Smells” by an elderly academic?

(Sample verse: “And I remember that ’56 Chevy/Barrelling down the valleys of Piedmont and Habersham/Down, careening one-eyed in to the trees down Roswell Road/Down our sainted and genuflecting Peachtrees”)

Happy National Poetry Month!

Previously: Buckhead Betties

Step it up

12 Apr

These photos, taken by Thomas Askew, were collected by W.E.B. DuBois and shown in his “Negro Exhibit” at the Paris Exhibition of 1900 to demonstrate middle-class African-American life in America. Askew photographed many of his scenes in Atlanta because that was where black middle-class life could be had. DuBois wanted to show progress, education, and prosperity – the lives of the “talented tenth” – in the African-American community, not the suffering and tribulation that was typically the focus of national and international attention on his race. Read DuBois’ description/review of the show, “An American Negro in Paris,” in The American Monthly Review of Reviews.

But on a lighter note – watch your step for some serious fashion!!

Atlanta University

Continue reading

Alma mater

30 Mar

Any fans of the documentary Alma in the house tonight? The film shows little clips of Margie Thorpe’s band Miss Margie and the Tall Boys performing, but here’s a full song – gospel hymn “I Saw the Light,” live at Austin Avenue Cafe (was this in Inman Park?).

Here’s the part where we would normally tell you to go rent Alma (set mostly in Hapeville and, I think, the West End; IMDb key words: “Exhibitionism,” “Southern U.S.,” “Mother Daughter”) at Movies Worth Seeing as we were once also wisely instructed to do, but now there’s a special urgency to that assignment because they’re closing soon forever!! And all the movies are not only for rent, but for sale!

(Don’t worry, WEEKS AGO we bought all the VHS documentaries that had anything to do with Georgia or food, if only to spite the person who tried to throw away our VCR last month.)

Previously: Blue Christmas

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