When it comes to building stuff, Atlanta’s got a great history of public-private partnership. Civic leaders come up with an idea, City Hall irons out the political wrinkles, and then Coke, Delta, the Home Depot, and other hometown companies contribute funding. It’s how Atlanta won the Braves and the Olympics. On the other hand, our track record of taking care of people in the process of building things—large venues in particular—is lousy.
At long last, Collier Heights—a West Atlanta neighborhood built by and for African Americans—has been designated as a Local Historic District by the City of Atlanta, the mayor's office announced today.
As its name suggests, the Center for Civil and Human Rights, which opens to the public on Monday, is about two struggles—the American one that was fought primarily in the South in the latter half of the twentieth century, and the worldwide one that involves oppressed peoples in distant (and not-so-distant) lands. While there’s an obvious thematic linkage between the American Civil Rights Movement and the broader human rights one, the line between them must have been a challenge for the Center’s designers to straddle. One has a built-in narrative, with a beginning and middle (if not yet an ending), and the other requires navigating the vast space beneath the human rights umbrella, whether it’s oppressed women in Africa, child laborers in Pakistan, or tortured activists in Burma.
At one o’clock today, Atlanta city councilman Michael Julian Bond will honor Dante’s Down the Hatch owner Dante Stephensen at city hall with a City of Atlanta proclamation in honor of the restaurateur and jazz promoter’s “contributions to Atlanta’s cultural and business life.” Bond, a regular at the now-shuttered Buckhead nightspot, followed in the footsteps of his civil rights icon father Julian Bond, who was a regular at the original Dante’s Underground Atlanta location in the 1970s. “Dante’s was an Atlanta tradition,” explains Bond. “Locals and tourists alike flocked this unique establishment to experience a taste of the city in a communal fashion. This proclamation is our small gesture to Mr. Stephensen for four decades of service to Atlanta.”
It took $12 million to transform a 276-acre dairy farm west of Downtown into the Southeast’s first theme park; that Magic Kingdom down in Orlando wouldn’t open for four years. But all the clearing and construction didn’t eradicate the red clay and scrubby pines of the Cobb County surroundings when Six Flags Over Georgia opened for business on June 16, 1967. That rustic flavor added to the verisimilitude of Six Flags Over Georgia’s prime attractions: the Dahlonega Mine Train roller coaster, which hurtled from a thirty-seven-foot peak, and the Tales of the Okefenokee boat ride, which took passengers past slightly creepy scenes based on Joel Chandler Harris fables.
If you’ve found yourself in the Old Fourth Ward—maybe strolling up Irwin Street toward Bell Street Burritos or heading down the Atlanta BeltLine to Studioplex—you’ve undoubtedly spotted that giant concrete tower. And you’ve wondered, Just what is that? Or, more intriguingly, Does anyone live in there?
Atlanta sometimes is called “the city in the trees,” and certainly as you fly into Hartsfield-Jackson this time of year, a green canopy appears to cover the city. But deplane and explore at ground level and you’ll soon realize things aren’t quite so verdant. For the third year in a row we have earned a low score on a national assessment of city parks. But—in large part due to the Atlanta BeltLine—Atlanta’s gaining green space and serving more residents.
The dedication of Georgia’s new Capitol on July 4, 1889 was an exercise in mixed metaphors. The ceremony, a grand legislative procession from the lawmakers’ temporary digs in an opera house on Marietta Street to the gilded edifice six blocks away, was carefully staged to symbolize democracy as an institution.