19 things you didn’t know about Atlanta’s past

Atlanta had its own version of Haight-Ashbury

Atlanta Colony Square
1969: The Great Speckled Bird sponsored free concerts in Piedmont Park.

Photograph courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library

Built in the late 1960s, Colony Square quickly became ground zero for Atlanta’s hippies. This was thanks in part to its proximity to Piedmont Park, which often hosted live concerts featuring national acts and up-and-comers like the Allman Brothers. There were drugs. Head shops. Record stores. And crime. One police officer told Atlanta magazine last year, “I came out of Vietnam, and I felt like this was worse than combat. Handguns were rampant. Homicide was rampant.” Much of the heyday was captured by the counterculture newspaper, The Great Speckled Bird, published from 1968 to 1976.

The Great Speckled Bird
The Great Speckled Bird

Cover illustration by Frank Cieciorka, courtesy of The Great Speckled Bird and Georgia State University