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ironchapman

Reclaiming Lost Atlanta

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It seems a little odd that Creative Loafing would have such an interesting article (to us at least).

Reclaiming Lost Atlanta: Five Undiscovered Redevelopment Gems

Call them diamonds in the roughest neighborhoods. A 1920s Mason's hall sitting empty and abandoned. Warehouses waiting for a new use. Vintage movie houses that have grown decrepit since the days when a double-feature was a quarter. Pockets of quaint old storefronts filled with a whole lot of nothing.

I knew that when I saw this article on the front page of the paper, I had to read it. It'squite a good article, especially by Creative Loafings standards.

Some interesting sites mentioned here, among them are Summerhill, the nieghborhood where Turner Field and Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium were built, the long forgotten retail district of Lakewood Heights, an dBankhead Highway, which, accroding to the article, could be "the next big thing"..

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I spent a day knocking around in Lakewood Heights this past summer. It certainly does have a number of small storefronts that could be renovated. There's basically a good housing stock there, too, although a number of places are in sore need of attention. The site of the old Chevy assembly plant on Sawtell is an intimidating 30 acre post-industrial wasteland. To me the neighborhood had sort of a gritty, slightly scary feel but all the people I talked to were really nice and I could see how things could improve.

Despite the problems, two major area landmarks -- Southview Cemetery and the Federal Prison -- are in excellent shape. Both Southview and the Penitentiary have a tremendous amount of history attached to them.

It's interesting that they mention an old granite Masonic building, because I also took a picture of a striking granite building on Jonesboro Road, and it's probably the same thing.

I can remember when the Lakewood area was bustling and solidly working class. A friend of mine's Dad worked at the Chevrolet factory, and one time we rode the bus with her Mom to meet him at the plant, and then we all went to the Southeastern Fair, which was just down the street.

Masonic%20Building.jpg

Federal%20Pen%2075.jpg

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I spent a day knocking around in Lakewood Heights this past summer. It certainly does have a number of small storefronts that could be renovated. There's basically a good housing stock there, too, although a number of places are in sore need of attention. The site of the old Chevy assembly plant on Sawtell is an intimidating 30 acre post-industrial wasteland. To me the neighborhood had sort of a gritty, slightly scary feel but all the people I talked to were really nice and I could see how things could improve.

Despite the problems, two major area landmarks -- Southview Cemetery and the Federal Prison -- are in excellent shape. Both Southview and the Penitentiary have a tremendous amount of history attached to them.

Wasn't the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary almost as feared as Alcatraz at one point in its history (I know famous Socialist Eugene V. Debs was kept there at one time).

It's so nice that there is a forumer here who knows what the pre-1970/80's Atlanta was like. Thanks for the perspective, Andrea. :)

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Yes, IC, the Atlanta Pen is still one very fearful place. Al Capone was there. Little Nicky Scarfo is there. I think Brian Nichols is there. It's notorious for the brutal treatment of prisoners even today.

Read with caution

And thanks so much for the kind words, IC. It's a lot of fun for me to think back about some of this stuff, although it also forces me to accept the fact that I'm older than dirt.

However, I was at my Mom's house earlier today and she and a old friend of hers got to talking about riding the streetcars for a nickel and how that was how they used to go out with their boyfriends. Now that made me feel downright modern!

:lol:

Merry Christmas to you, IC, and to all Urban Planeteers!

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Yes, IC, the Atlanta Pen is still one very fearful place. Al Capone was there. Little Nicky Scarfo is there. I think Brian Nichols is there. It's notorious for the brutal treatment of prisoners even today.

Read with caution

And thanks so much for the kind words, IC. It's a lot of fun for me to think back about some of this stuff, although it also forces me to accept the fact that I'm older than dirt.

However, I was at my Mom's house earlier today and she and a old friend of hers got to talking about riding the streetcars for a nickel and how that was how they used to go out with their boyfriends. Now that made me feel downright modern!

:lol:

Merry Christmas to you, IC, and to all Urban Planeteers!

That's what I figured about the Atlanta Pen. Not exactly the place you'd want to be sent, though I hear that Nichols was held in a cell at Douglas County's prison in Douglasville for a while after he was caught from his rampage.

BTW: My grandmother and grandfather's first "date" (though not necessarily a date as much as romantic enounter) was as my grandfather walked her home from the Rollerdrum (or whichever roller rink was near where the Old Spaghetti Factory today) they took an Atlanta streetcar.

So, in a sense, my family kind of owes itself to an Atlanta streetcar! :P

One last thing, I have wanted to use the phrase "Urban Planeteers" for a long time now...you beat me to it ;)

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I spent a day knocking around in Lakewood Heights this past summer.

Federal%20Pen%2075.jpg

Thats funny... I was looking around in that area recently also when I took a look at some condos that sit on a hill and have a GREAT view of the city (can't remember the name). I couldn't believe that was a prison it looks so beautiful.

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Thats funny... I was looking around in that area recently also when I took a look at some condos that sit on a hill and have a GREAT view of the city (can't remember the name). I couldn't believe that was a prison it looks so beautiful.

When was that building built?

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