Tag Archives: atlanta

Atlanta’s most historic Coca-Cola landmark

So, I know you want to know about the Dixie Coca-Cola Bottling Company building on the corner of Edgewood and Courtland in downtown Atlanta. It’s a beautiful gem of a Victorian building and doesn’t look a thing like it could have seen anything akin to manufacturing. It looks like a little Victorian house, maybe with a saloon on the bottom floor…

125 Edgewood 1893-2011

In 1886 Joel Hurt and Samuel Inman formed the East Atlanta Land Company, that’s right, Inman Park, Druid Hills, the Hurt Building, and … Edgewood Avenue. Edgewood didn’t even exist until 1888, when Hurt, wanting a direct line to run a streetcar to his upcoming subdivision, made it happen (by coercing the legislature, buying up land along the route via the East Atl Land Co, and leaning on the city to condemn properties he was unable to purchase). 125 Edgewood at the future corner of Courtland and Edgewood appears to be one of the properties he bought, as well as most of the Edgewood frontage on that block and in 1891 the Victorian commericial/residential building was built. The historic picture below is from 1893, the streets were still dirt, but a streetcar line was already operating to Inman Park.

Meanwhile, another shrewd Atlanta businessman (and later Inman Park resident), Asa Candler, was building his own monopoly. After a good bit of swindling on Candler’s part, The Coca-Cola Company was officially formed and previous records were destroyed to obscure any dubious origins (wiki). In 1894 Joseph Biedenharn of Vicksburg, Mississippi, began bottling Coca-Cola to sell the soda to country customers “right off back of the turnip truck” (not sure if that was talking about the customers or the selling), Candler acknowledged the gratuitous cases sent him with a mere “that is fine”–he was not interested in bottling his product. On July 1, 1899, Benjamin Thomas and Joseph Whitehead of Chattanooga secured a contract to bottle Coca-Cola in the U.S. (excepting Mississippi and New England which had their bottling operations and Texas for the time being). They began in Chattanooga then Whitehead headed to Atlanta where he started the Dixie Bottling Company just one block down from Candler’s Coca-Cola Company headquarters at 179 Edgewood. That’s right, it was 1901 and Whitehead and Lupton opened the bottling operation in this cute little Victorian commericial/residential building, one of many businesses to grace this building with their presence over the 70 years or so of it’s operational existence. And it didn’t last long, not even long enough to appear in the City Directory before they moved to expand operations. But a picture below shows a sketch of the early bottling operations and how it may have appeared in this special little building.

So why is it a National Landmark? it wasn’t actually the site of the Coca-Cola Company, it wasn’t even where the drink was first bottled (certainly an significant step in its impact on the world), it wasn’t even the first official bottling operation condoned by Candler himself, but it was the site of the FIRST OFFICIAL BOTTLING OPERATION IN GEORGIA. and that’s important.

After the Dixie Bottling Company moved out, 125 Edgewood was home again to a rotation of diverse enterprises: John Payton’s Beer Saloon around 1911, Joseph Horowitz Ladies clothing, and, for a couple decades, Virgil Shepard’s window display shop. Whereas this area had been largely racially mixed (black, white, Jewish), by the 1920s it seems that things were more segregated and the block was mostly comprised of black-owned businesses evident by their advertisements appearing in the Atlanta Daily World, the offices of which were just around the corner on Auburn.

Adventures in Parking #2

You may not all know about #1 but that was when i locked my keys in my car downtown. At that time I accidentally forgot to pay for parking and it went unnoticed, but last night the illicitness was intentional. I thought I could get away with it and left my car in a gated lot, only to find, at 9:35 when i got to the desolate part of the block i’d parked on that my car was locked inside! i was so stressed with school I calmly decided not to worry about it til morning, immediately preparing myself to pay whatever it took. Thank goodness for neighbor classmates—I called J and she gave me a lift home.

There was nothing else for it, I woke up before 5am, early even by my studying standards (but Viv was still up first) and headed out the door for the 5:24 bus. Do they even run that early i wondered, but soon enough boarded a half-full bus which is pretty good for Marta! sure enough, 5:51 found me at Five Points and walking north toward my car, the streets were still shady. Moments after I arrived (gate still locked which i was glad of, hoping to catch the attendant), a Rapid Taxi van pulled up and a not-very-talkative fellow hoped out to unlock the gates, 6am on the dot.

I am totally in support of the disjointed 3rd party parking lot operator system! I drove out of there scot-free but you can bet i won’t be parking THERE again.

This put me on Peachtree headed north at 6:05am, an ungodly hour to be in downtown Atlanta, but lo and behold a Starbucks was open on the corner of 6th (or so, i’m not really sure how far up i am), so i’ve enjoyed watching the light come up and Atlantans come out in the early morning. I have to note that even the Starbucks on Peachtree has a local crowd, people know each other here, this one guy next to me chats with a kid and his dad, a girl with her out-of-town guests in for a conference says hello to other neighbors who ask about her dog, and an older fellow studying his Bible has an early morning meeting, while joggers come in for coffee before heading home to change for work. It’s been a rather enjoyable morning and i think, even if i’d had to shell out the dough, it would’ve been a good morning anyway. Now is it almost time for me to saunter on up Peachtree to Rhodes Hall where i will park my car totally legally and free for the rest of the day.

it is also pretty cool that i can take a photo with my computer for this post (:

tree sale

As I type this the annual Tree Sale at Trees Atlanta over in Cabbagetown (or Reynoldstown as they say) is still going on, but Viv and I arrived right at 8:00 to make sure we got what we wanted. Viv was prepared, armed with the list and notes all over it, we got 2 tea olives and then 2 more orange tea olives cause they were priced right, a sycamore and, our one impulse purchase, a curly cue filbert (hazelnut) which may or may produce nuts, but it is one heck of a delightful-looking plant.

tree sale 2

Trees Atlanta is one of the coolest non profits this city has. They began in the 1980s planted trees downtown because there were NO trees really at all, an appalling sight. Today, downtown’s street trees are beautiful and shady. Dad was headed this way in Jackson of course, with his plant now ask later, or rather, plant now, point out to the mowers later. Perhaps one day there will be such an organization, official and supported in Jackson! Anyway, more of Trees Atlanta history can be read here.

The tree sale happens every year, a good way to get a huge variety of trees for your yard. Tree Atlanta, while they are responsible for CREATING a lot of greenspace have also taken it upon themselves to take care of the trees both that they plant and that exist. They understand that for the city and citizens to be happy with them, they need to place trees appropriately for traffic and keep them limbs out of joggers’ eyeballs. To this end, pruning is probably the most important and never-ending task that the organization has and they offer classes in Piedmont Park (where they also plant) on pruning and you have to graduate from to be on the volunteer pruning task force. When it comes to planting, Trees Atlanta knows their trees and select appropriate trees for each site (and no Bradford Pears of course) and native.

After the tree sale, we stopped at Homegrown for breakfast (how could we not?) and saw a chicken crossing the road on the way over. no, seriously, we did.

wren’s nest

honestly, a wren’s nest in the mailbox is nothing new, nothing special to any one place though it is marvelous. We’ve almost always had wren’s nesting in our mailbox in jackson (ever since dad built this one at least—that note is to the mailman to please use the alternate mailbox) but we didn’t go and name a dang house after the phenomenon!

The Wren’s Nest IS special. I managed to drag B over there a few weeks ago on a Saturday and we got stuck listening to some storytelling. Stuck is relative, i loved it. When it was done, however, we were hungry and I opted to come back another time and “observe the interior of the house”, my real purpose. Joel Chandler Harris moved to this farmhouse in West End, Georgia, back in 1881. He’d married in 1873 and had a young family which he’d recently uprooted from Savannah in an attempt to escape the yellow fever. He was an author and journalist then, though the Brer Rabbit stories wouldn’t come til the late 1890s. The property then was 5 acres of “country” land, called a “snap bean farm” he would renovate the small Folk Victorian house in 1884/85 to become the Eastlake-style Victorian delight that it is today.

While i listened, interested obviously, to my tour guide, i was jotting notes on the interior design and furnishings. The intricate, usually floral Victorian wallpaper throughout, particularly the Art Nouveau sample in the living room, picture molding, wallpapered ceilings, floor cloths, a mismatched chair at the dining room table, beadboard wainscoting, the oak, late 1800’s golden oak furniture everywhere and the oak woodwork in the house was gorgeous. I have a new favorite. It made me sad that the girls at Sunshine found the golden oak dining room set hideously out-of-date in the 30s and demanded their papa replace it. I wish i knew what it looked like! Yes, I could live comfortably among the busy patterns and dark woodwork of Joel Chandler Harris’s house while reading up on all his books in the reading room or on his front porch. What a lovely life that would be.

now, if you’ve been following any of my links you may have noticed how much fun it is to read about the Wren’s Nest house museum on their website and blog, it might be due to the fact that their young(er than me??) Executive Director is of the Professional Organization of English Majors and also great-great-great grandson of Harris himself. Anyway, i recommend reading, visiting, and participating!

Rhodes Hall

I didn’t expect to be doing much this summer, much less working for the Georgia Trust driving around backroads inspecting old houses. But here I am with a temporary desk on the 3rd floor of Rhodes Hall, a ca. 1906 Romanesque Revival “castle” stuck in the bend of Peachtree and hemmed in by the beginning of Buford Highway and I-75/85. Idyllic location. Of course, it WAS an idyllic location when Amos Rhodes first picked this hilltop location on his 114 acres that extended mostly west from Peachtree (what is now the 75/85 interchange) but this is hard to picture from the ground. It is much easier to imagine the sea of green land and the sweeping view down Peachtree toward downtown from the top of the Rhodes Hall tower.

On my first day there K gave me the tour, introducing me to people, and showing off appropriate rooms. A tour of the famed Civil War windows I did not get though, upon later observations i must admit they’re pretty magnificent. No, the best part of my tour was the Attic. Straight up we went and looked out a 3rd floor attic window onto the front yard and Peachtree. The massive stones are exposed on the interior and rafters spun up the underside of the roof of the turretted corner we were in, the heavy wooden floor and rafters had that wonderful smell and feel of well-built older homes: a smell of quality wood and the undisturbed age of a place. My desk would be located in the 3rd floor gymnasium, though i couldn’t help wondering how much use this place actually got. For a home begun when the children must’ve been nearly grown and then given over to the State of Georgia for “historical purposes” less than 30 years later after Mr. and Mrs. Amos Rhodes’ deaths. Something else wonderful about working in this place is how the people, the offices, and particularly the 3rd floor remind me of my childhood days in the offices at the Old Capitol. Yes, i feel a little bit at home here (:

the aesthetic of urban decay


I’ve never really thought about it before but i, like so many others, have long been enthralled by urban decay. I’ve sought out ruins for exploration and art. I’ve been in awe of their derelict structures, entranced by the beauty of their abandonment. It’s put me in search of Urban Exploration sects though i never too seriously sought to get involved, i’d totally go exploring one night if you asked me to! My exploring may have begun with Dad teaching us how to scoot under the chain link gate at LeFleur’s Bluff (and getting caught one of those times), and later on his midnight tree-planting on state property (or federal or city, whichever). At any rate, i’ve been an explorer for a long time, after all, it’s the whole reason my blogging ever began.

Bayside Cem smallpox the highline fountains and terraces high bridge park beginning of a very nice long cold walk Hotel La Rence Borden's

So, suddenly the realization that my research paper has evolved into something right up my alley is hitting home! it began as a “guided tour” of the Beltline, relating structures along a segment to the evolution of the American Built Environment. But comments from my teacher that suggested focusing on urban decay, unpoliced spaces and art (I was planning a section on atl graffiti) and then last weekends visit to the kiang gallery (previous post) really got me on this path of urban exploring which brings up unregulated spaces and how we act/react to them (do you tap your marta card when the bus driver is nowhere in sight?), which brings up unsanctioned art—graffiti—and sanctioned art—Art on the Beltline. And what does this obsession with, this aesthetic we’ve promoted out of urban decay say about us? where is development going? once urban renewal meant tear down and built new, now it means (more often than before anyway) preserve and celebrate the old and derelict.

Atlanta’s World’s Fair

The topic in class the other day was the Architecture of Leisure in America, or something like that. Our reading and discussion consisted of Coney Island’s amusement parks, Disney, and the Worlds Fairs, specifically, of course, the Chicago Worlds Fair of 1893 which was no longer just one Crystal Palace, but a whole array of buildings with dramatic architectural facades to house the latest innovations of the day. Designed to be an ideal city (mostly Beaux Arts style of course) it exceeded other World’s Fairs in scale and grandeur. I was enthralled. So imagine my delight when the very next day i sat down to scan through some Sandborn maps of Atlanta on microfilm and the very first frame was of Atlanta’s World’s Fair just 2 years later.

(check out this plan too)

The Cotton States and International Expo of 1895 sat on what is now Piedmont Park, the map I came across was gorgeous, irresistible, and i coveted it even though it printed out on the awful blue paper of the Kenan Research Lib. In some later research I found out that Booker T. Washington gave the opening speech, and much of what is Piedmont Park’s layout today seems to’ve come from this exposition, including the infrastructure of the park and Clara Meer, the lake. Heck, J and I have trimmed hedges on an embankment by the lake, standing on walls we never knew were the vestiges of a World’s Fair!

Turns out, the park at that time was not owned by the city, and it wasn’t until 1904 that the city finally bought it (having overcome their thinking that it was a. too far away and b. we already have Grant Park why another?). It wasn’t until 1909 though that Frederick Law Olmsted was commissioned to shape up the bones of Piedmont into what it is today.

and the park today! there is so much to go into there.

Korean Tacos

and food trucks in Atlanta.

it was Friday afternoon and I was free, Mark, who was visiting from Jackson, and I had plans to scout out the Korean taco truck, which I have visited plenty of time at the Urban Picnic in the parking lot of the Sweet Auburn Curb Mkt by the Atlanta Street Food Coalition (lots of names there), but I have not had the chance to track them down this winter since they have become the FIRST food truck to get a permit to sell food mobilly on Atlanta’s city streets. Like food trucks in NYC (and my particular favorite the Treats Truck), they twitter they’re location each day/the night before but have a general schedule of locale. It seems that at least twice a week for instance they are in Buckhead, a mere 2 block walk from McC’s office. That is a 2 block walk she convinced her Atlantan co-workers they needed to take. Amazing huh? And now they know, the korean taco truck is worth it, or, more accurately Yumbii. So that’s where we went for lunch Friday, after yoga i picked up M and H in ctown, then to downtown to get Mark and straight up to 17th St where we found the Yumbii truck still parked in Atlantic Station. Having never been faced with such ample time to devote to just a korean taco experience (at the Urban Picnic you have to save room for so many other delicious food choices, least of which is not a King of Pops popsicle, but i’ll tell ya about that when it’s back in season), I loaded up with a beef taco AND the pork sliders (total: $6) and had trouble finishing it all. next time i’m going to stick to my 2 taco limit, esp when they’re filling them to the max like they were the other day at 2.


Buckhead and the CBD

a CBD (Central Business District) is, while usually a city’s downtown, not always. It is often defined in bigger cities by an upsurge of skyscrapers plotted on the horizon like some economical bar graph. Many cities, with the advent of the car and suburbs have developed a 2nd CBD which may work in sync with or simply leave behind the old downtown. In Atlanta for instance the business district walked itself up Peachtree St to Buckhead in the mid-20th century, and in the 21st century has walked farther north and spread itself in office park pockets along the perimeter to accomodate their employees and have cheaper rent. As a CBD moves, it has ahead of it the “zone of assimilation” and leaves behind it a “zone of discard.” As it evolves, we see the center tighten and the frame go through a variety of changes as it learns to support or is excluded by the core. Residential neighborhoods like what was once Buckhead evolve to accommodate the incoming business and eventually bow to destruction. The following is a class blog post on the subject.

Buckhead hasn’t always been the mass of office buildings, condos, and shopping centers it is today. It was once a home for the wealthy who planted their estates on the picturesque hills just up the road from Atlanta’s center, followed by middle class neighborhoods like Garden Hills that emerged as Atlanta grew outward in the early 20th century. Buckhead wasn’t even annexed by Atlanta until 1952, but it didn’t take long for this jumble of major intersections to lure business from downtown and become Atlanta’s 2nd CBD. The construction of Lenox Square mall in 1959 and Lenox Towers in 1966 led the way and Buckhead has been constantly evolving ever since. This constant construction and evolution has created pockets of zones of both assimilation and discard as the skyscrapers and widened roadways leave shops behind only to re-envelope bits of the frame later. Funnily, despite all the destruction and construction Buckhead has never completely obliterated it’s past, making for some dramatic juxtapositions in the landscape.

Even in the core of the CBD, bits of architectural history remain, this fancy home sits next door to the original towers of Buckhead (Lenox Towers). The front lawn has long since been paved and The Mansion (condos), along with other glass office buildings, now towers over it.

Just a few blocks from the core, one finds a confusing mix of architecture. Quaint cottages remain, standing alone amidst condos and modern shopping centers where they were once part of whole neighborhoods. Oddly, some neighborhood streets have remained intact, but zoning has made them solidly commercial.

It’s not just homes from the first half of the century, but even mid-20th century single-story shopping centers that sprang up to feed the growth are now dwarfed by parking decks and loomed over by the ever-present construction crane, evidence of Buckhead’s constant evolution.

Finally, my favorite juxtaposition is of the streets and neighborhoods that remain residential, walled off from the highway and still in the shadows of skyscrapers. Middle class and wealthy neighborhoods alike were not spared the jarring the imposition of these towers on their vista.