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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Atlanta’s historic home tours: Rhodes Hall


Rhodes Hall welcomes its Old World Santa in December.

Today’s stop on our Atlanta historic home tour is Rhodes Hall, an unmistakable building on Peachtree Street among office buildings, gas stations and roadways.

So far, we’ve seen Bulloch Hall, the Martin Luther King Jr. Birth Home, Margaret Mitchell House and Swan House. Rhodes Hall’s Old World Santa events begin next month, but there are others, too, like the 15-minute weddings on Valentine’s Day.

Rhodes Hall

History: “The Castle on Peachtree” was the home of furniture magnate Amos Rhodes and his wife, Amanda. They moved into the home, designed by architect Willis F. Denny II, in 1904. As other old Atlanta homes along the city’s most famous street were torn down, Rhodes Hall was donated to the state with the requirement that it be used to preserve history. It once housed the state archives, and is now the offices of The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, and is available for tours, weddings and other …

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Atlanta’s historic home tours: Swan House

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Swan House at the Atlanta History Center has several holiday events. AJC file photo

We continue our tour of Atlanta area historic homes today with Swan House, another home that, like the Margaret Mitchell House, is managed by the Atlanta History Center. My colleague, Howard Pousner, explained that even before going on the tour, this home always caught his eye. It’s easy to see why.

You can see the other homes we’ve visited so far in the History category.

Swan House

History: One of Atlanta’s favorite residences, it was designed by celebrated Atlanta architect Philip Trammel Shutze, who adapted Italian and English classical styles in this 1928 mansion for Emily and Edward Inman, heir to a cotton brokerage fortune.


  • The two-story home’s tone of classical symmetry and elegance is well established by the curved, free-standing staircase that dominates the central hallway.
  • The Inmans loved birds. Heir to a cotton brokerage fortune, Edward Inman collected representations …

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Atlanta’s historic home tours: Margaret Mitchell House

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Visitors check out the bed of Margaret Mitchell in her apartment. Three-quarters beds like this were popular in small apartments of that day. Atlanta History Center photo.

Our journey to the area’s historical homes has so far taken AJCer Howard Pousner and me to Bulloch Hall in Roswell and the Martin Luther King Jr. Birth Home on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta.

For the next stop, Howard checked in on the Margaret Mitchell House on Peachtree Street in Atlanta.

Margaret Mitchell House

History: “The Dump,” as Mitchell referred to this tiny, sweet apartment, is where the author composed most of “Gone With the Wind” from 1926 to 1929.


  • After the Atlanta History Center made some changes to the Mitchell House tour this summer, guests now enter the building through the rear Crescent Avenue entrance, just as Mitchell did when she lived in Apartment No. 1.

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    Margaret Mitchell House

  • The sunny corner where the would-be author, recovering from a foot injury, typed away on a used 1923 …

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Atlanta’s historic home tours: Martin Luther King Jr. home


There are free, half-hour National Park Service-run tours of the Martin Luther King Jr. Birth Home on Auburn Avenue every day. Nearby, the National Historic Site and King Center round out the tour experience. AJC file photo

Yesterday’s historic home tour took us to Bulloch Hall in Roswell. Today, we’re continuing our list of holiday stops with the Martin Luther King Jr. Birth Home. You can see more photos of the home in this photo gallery from a tour led by King’s sister, Christine King Farris.

Martin Luther King Jr. Birth Home

History: The Auburn Avenue birth home of  Martin Luther King Jr. reveals how he grew from a bright young boy into a civil rights leader. It’s the jewel of a neighborhood that also features more National Park Service-owned historic buildings, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and the King Center.


  • Every guide has a different way of telling stories and a different connection to the house. The Rev. G.H. Williams was among the …

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Atlanta’s historic home tours: Bulloch Hall

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Bulloch Hall in Roswell is used these days for education, preservation and events like festival and quilt shows. AJC file photo

Out-of-town family and friends should soon arrive at your house for ye olde holiday visit, and the age-old question remains: What to do with them? Even for the ones you’re sincerely happy to host, this can be tough.

AJCer Howard Pousner and I had an idea: get out of the house and take them to someone else’s — one of Atlanta’s historic homes, some of which already have halls beautifully decked for the season. They can learn something about the way our fine burg was back when chestnuts really did roast on an open fire. Life their  spirits with garland, candlelight and other seasonal decoration done by folks with a true talent for making things pretty. (Not that we’re not suggesting you’re something short of Martha Stewart; no, we’d never.)

Howard will start us off with a tour he took up in Roswell.

Bulloch Hall

History: The Greek Revival home of one of …

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70 years later, ‘Gone With the Wind’ re-premieres in Marietta

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On Dec. 15, 1939, police lined up in front of the entrance to Loew's Grand Theater for the gala premiere of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone With the Wind.' AJC file photo

It’s been 70 years now, almost too long for even the rare Atlanta natives to remember it, but the talk of the town then was all about the “Gone With the Wind” premiere at Loew’s Grand Theater. It sounds like the entire town was giddy with flashbulbs, hoop skirts and autographs. Here are dozens more images from the 1939 premiere.

As an AJC headline explained it 50 years after the debut, it was three days that “rocked” Atlanta. (I posted that 50th anniversary story last year in another blog. It’s still worth a read.)

The Gone With the Wind Museum in Marietta will celebrate the 70th anniversary this weekend with a costume ball, movie screening, autograph signings — a full two days worth of events. But I’ll admit, I wondered, too, why the “re-premiere,” as they call it, was rocking 18 miles to the north.

AJCer Ralph …

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PHOTOS: Atlanta History Center’s Day of the Dead


Amanda Gonzalez, 6, and other dancers got a lesson from SalsAtlanta instructors during Atlanta History Center's Dia de los Muertos celebration. AJC photos by Jamie Gumbrecht

I hate driving and I really hate sitting in traffic, but it bothered me less on Sunday because I was in a line of cars waiting to get into the Atlanta History Center for its Day of the Dead celebration.


Sugar skulls. Not surprisingly, popular with the kids.

It was a free day of learning, dancing, singing, art and history. Vendors sold pan de muerto, tamales, tacos, churros, but the longest lines were for corn quesadillas in blue corn tortillas. It was a beautiful day for an outdoor festival and, again — free history! Here are even more photos.

This was a one-day celebration, but the History Center’s  photography exhibit, “Through the Lens of Mundo Hispanico: Georgia’s Hispanic Community,” continues through Jan. 3.

Want to go? Atlanta History Center, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-5:30 p.m. …

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What’s in store for the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site?


U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, left, bumped fists outside a house just down the street from the Martin Luther King Jr. Birth Home. Federal stimulus money will go toward stabilizing the house. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

AJCer Rosalind Bentley talked with Judy Forte, superintendent of Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, for a Q&A that ran Sunday.


Judy Forte

Every time I’m there, it’s packed with field trip students, out-of-town visitors and adult locals inevitably returning after years without seeing the exhibits, rose garden or birth home tour.

In this interview, they talked about the park service gradually taking over more property around the King birth home, and stimulus money that will go toward stabilizing the home pictured above — all of which could improve the visitor experience.

There’s also some talk about how the historic site, King Center and the new Center for Civil and Human Rights might fit together.

Q: Under your administration, have you explored …

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Book your Oakland Cemetery Halloween Tour tickets early

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Gene Ramsay plays Edwin Marsh during the Oakland Cemetery tours. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

Rain is ultimate foe of fun outdoor activities –  unless it’s a graveyard tour.

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Crowds arrived for Oakland Cemetery tours, rain or not.

I arrived at Oakland Cemetery last night while the sky had that swirly gray look that Hollywood uses to add forboding to horror movies. Despite the forecast, there was an umbrella-ready crowd in line for the sold-out Halloween tours. Any other place without a roof, I would’ve predicted thin attendance. Not here.

We heard a basic cemetery history from our guide, Andrea Janssen: Oakland was founded in 1850 on six acres that had been a family farm. The orignal entrance was off what is now Memorial, near Six Feet Under.

For those that want to plan ahead:  Oakland Cemetery still has about 14 funerals there per year, but you’ve got to get on the list for a plot. And if you’re considering a marker, Janssen recommends granite. After more than 100 years, guides can …

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Atlanta area ghost tours abound — what’s your favorite?

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The Roswell Ghost Tour at a cemetery in 2007. AJC file photo

Savannah is known as Georgia’s most haunted city, but you don’t need to travel that far to find a ghost story.

Metro Atlanta has enough haunted tours to keep you busy for a few nights.  They come in a variety of styles, so here’s a piece that explains a bit about what you can expect from each of them: “Atlanta’s ghoulishly good fun.”

Here are the links to the tours the story features.

I’ve been on one ghost tour in my life, and I’m afraid I’m not much fun. During a walk-and-talk tour in St. Augustine, Florida, I left with some lovely photos and a strong urge to fact-check the stories. Like I said: no fun.

For those …

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