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Newnan

Atlaunuh's ovuh!

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My Grandmother, who was a born and bred Atlanta belle, used to complain a lot about the growth of Atlanta and how it's simply not a southern town anymore. She would always say, "well...Atlaunuh's ovuh!" Sure, you still can get sweet tea and grits at restaurants in the city and you hear many southern accents, but is Atlanta really a southern town?

If not Atlanta, what about the Northern suburbs. Towns such as Roswell, Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, and Dunwoody are noe filled with transplants from all over the country, diluting the southernness these places used to have. I have a cousin that lives in Sandy Springs, and one that lives in Dunwoody. Both of their parents have southern accents yet they don't have a trace of one! What's happened to the once gentile southern town we used to know? or am I just being silly. Are we going to see metro Atlanta eventually become like southern California, where all cultures have blended? Help me out here, especially you old line Atlantans (Andrea) This is a puzzling issue for me.

-I have NOTHING against Transplants. Both of my grandparents were from up north. Just wanted to clear that up in case any of you got the wrong idea

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I don't really care if Atlanta's Northern or Southern. Designating something as either seems to be a mentality from days long gone. What we need to do is remember our past (which is Southern, I suppose), keep on moving into the future, and let time determine what we are.

In the end, I believe that the SunBelt migration will kill the entire North vs. South thing because the two culture will mingle together.

If it were up to MTV or BET, Atlanta would be "ghetto" or "crunk" and would be called "the ATL".

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^^^Oh, that's a very complex question, Newan. I don't think there's any doubt that Atlanta has become increasingly generic and less distinctly Southern.

In my opinion that process started in earnest in the 1950s (although maybe I'm just saying that because that's when I was born!). But that's when we began to experience huge leveling trends like television, the interstates and the vast increase in auto and air travel, and the proliferation of fast food restaurants and national chain merchandising. That's when white flight began and the suburbs started becoming dominant. Big league sports pulled Atlanta more into the national scene -- with the Crackers we'd played in a league with teams from Birmingham and Jacksonville and that was our horizon line. We also became a "regional hub," and by the time I went to high school in the 1960's I'd guess that maybe 1/3 of our kids were already transplants. I think a lot of us were also ashamed of being Southern in those days because of the negative connotations associated with this part of the country, and that probably contributed to the process as well. It's interesting, in that as I've remarked before my relatives who lived outside of Atlanta referred to us as Yankees -- even in the 1950's they didn't think of us "citified" folks as real Southerners.

Yes, you can still find vestiges of the South around Atlanta but they are far less common. Buckhead was pretty hard core in that respect, and when I moved into the neighborhood 15 years ago there were lots of old timey stores, pubs, greasy spoons, barbecue joints and down home restaurants, but it seems like many of them have bitten the dust. With relatively few exceptions most things that might be termed distinctly Southern in Downtown and Midtown are gone as well.

I believe there's still an emotional connection to the South among many Atlantans. It's also true that rest of the country views us as Southern (or at least not part of the West or the North). We've got our Civil War history, too. While the old saw says it's a rare to meet an Atlanta native, if you grew up here you tend to know zillions of locals.

So, to answer the question, I'd say it's yes and no. We're certainly not the distinctly Southern town that Atlanta was in the 1950's. We've lost much of the physical evidence of those more parochial times. Like most of America, we've become increasingly dominated by relatively generic suburbs that could just as easily be in NoVA or Houston or Seattle. It's not much more common to hear a Southern accent here than it is anywhere else in the Sunbelt. Yet we still retain a lot of cultural and historic ties to the South. Our colleges and universities, our churches and other social institutions, and to some degree our neighborhoods, also supply a significant connection to the South.

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Its a very sad state of affairs in Atlanta. We still have Mary Macs and Bobby and Junes Country Kitchen, but things like that are few and far between. I had a history teacher at Tech 2 semesters ago, who was as Southern as you can get. One day he told us that other than what lies between North Ave and 10th street(Tech) that he wishes 'that firebug Sherman would do it all over again.' He was half joking of course, but Atlanta aint what it used to be as far as I can tell.

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I had a history teacher at Tech 2 semesters ago, who was as Southern as you can get. One day he told us that other than what lies between North Ave and 10th street(Tech) that he wishes 'that firebug Sherman would do it all over again.'

Huh. I'm not sure I could agree with his Tech-centric attitude. Those of us who attended the state's primary university over in Athens tended to receive a somewhat more rounded world view.

But yeah, Southern style cooking is getting harder to find ITP. I still haven't recovered from the conversion of Bradshaw's on West Paces to a Cafe la Madeleine.

:angry:

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Huh. I'm not sure I could agree with his Tech-centric attitude. Those of us who attended the state's primary university over in Athens tended to receive a somewhat more rounded world view.

Everyone has their faults. UGA is yours :P

Just kiddin with ya.

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My job requires me to speak with reps from the BellSouth Headquaters in Atlanta and I tend to hear a southern accent everytime I call. The accents I hear may be original Atlantans or transplants from other southern states, but either way it helps maintain Atlanta's southern culture. That is, if you call a southern accent the epitome of southern culture although I tend to think otherwise.

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My cousins in Roswell are very Southern, though it is easy to see the area losing its character with development. I do think it's interesting, however, to consider that Atlanta has spent much of its history defying its Southernness - reinventing itself at every turn, only to rediscover its Southern nature again. I'd hate to see the tide of McMansions sweep away the last shreds of character.

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Sounds like what's happening in Charlotte too

And Columbia as well....actually most of the Southern cities, depending on what part of the city you live in

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I do think it's interesting, however, to consider that Atlanta has spent much of its history defying its Southernness - reinventing itself at every turn, only to rediscover its Southern nature again. I'd hate to see the tide of McMansions sweep away the last shreds of character.

Wait a minute, Tom -- McMansions *are* the character of Atlanta. Have you driven through Ansley, Druid Hills, Buckhead or Inman Park lately? They were slapping these things up 100 years ago!

And just think of all the McMansions they've already torn down in neighborhoods like Mechanicsville -- talk about jamming in monster houses on tiny lots next to much smaller houses! They really had it down to a science back in the 1800's.

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Wait a minute, Tom -- McMansions *are* the character of Atlanta. Have you driven through Ansley, Druid Hills, Buckhead or Inman Park lately? They were slapping these things up 100 years ago!

And just think of all the McMansions they've already torn down in neighborhoods like Mechanicsville -- talk about jamming in monster houses on tiny lots next to much smaller houses! They really had it down to a science back in the 1800's.

Andrea this reminds of a question I had for you about the retaining walls you see along Juniper in Midtown (such as the Backstreet lot and the lot between 7th & 8th). Do you know if these were built when there were Mansions there or wer they constructed by the city at some point?

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Andrea this reminds of a question I had for you about the retaining walls you see along Juniper in Midtown (such as the Backstreet lot and the lot between 7th & 8th). Do you know if these were built when there were Mansions there or wer they constructed by the city at some point?

Martinman, I'm not sure. My guess is that the retaining walls were part of the buildings that used to be there, as I'm not sure why the city would have bothered to build them otherwise. They've just been parking lots as long as I remember. Here's a shot of Piedmont in that approximate area in the 1920s, looking north, I believe, which I guess would be the lower side of the road.

800Piedmont.jpg

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A possibility would be the homes were converted to a business use, with a storefront built onto the front. You can see that in a lot of old businesses, such as the old Kodak store across from the Krispy Kreme on Ponce.

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A possibility would be the homes were converted to a business use, with a storefront built onto the front. You can see that in a lot of old businesses, such as the old Kodak store across from the Krispy Kreme on Ponce.

True. I don't personally recall any businesses along that part of Juniper although there certainly could have been. I still think it's more likely that the retaining walls were probably constructed by the owner of the building rather than the city, but that's just a guess.

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^^ Tom, to me many of the better built houses of today do look as good as the McMansions of yesteryear. Maybe we're looking at different buildings?

I do agree that new structures don't have the "patina" of age, but everything was new once.

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The proportions of many of the new houses are so often off that I'm usually disturbed by the new variety of McMansion. A few of them aren't bad, but most have bad proportions, bad detailing and a general disregard for architectural norms. While I will grant that each and every period of architecture has had both good buildings and poor ones, the great majority of these new structures bear the marks of builders rather than architects. I know I'm making a sweeping generalization here, but these new creations usually depress me. One would think that houses which are so obviously expensive might also have a shred of architectural worth. Sadly, that can't be said of the vast majority of the Contractor Palaces which appear like pock marks across the land. I would venture that the houses pictured above have at least a modest regard for the basic principles of proportion which make buildings attractive.

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The proportions of many of the new houses are so often off that I'm usually disturbed by the new variety of McMansion. A few of them aren't bad, but most have bad proportions, bad detailing and a general disregard for architectural norms. While I will grant that each and every period of architecture has had both good buildings and poor ones, the great majority of these new structures bear the marks of builders rather than architects. I know I'm making a sweeping generalization here, but these new creations usually depress me. One would think that houses which are so obviously expensive might also have a shred of architectural worth. Sadly, that can't be said of the vast majority of the Contractor Palaces which appear like pock marks across the land. I would venture that the houses pictured above have at least a modest regard for the basic principles of proportion which make buildings attractive.

Huh. We must be looking at different houses then. I've seen a few bad ones, but most of the new high end homes I've seen have shown considerable attention to detailing and good architectural form, and they appear as well constructed as your standard McMansions from the previous century.

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Huh. We must be looking at different houses then.

Andrea you sure do love your look alike cookie cutter houses. :lol:

Most of what I see in suburban Charlotte or Washington looks like what you find in suburban anywhere. The houses all look alike, or with minimal differences, and have little to offer architecturally. That's what most people are concerned about in our cookie cutter society-that everything older will be torn down for something new. You can't always replace everything, something must be saved because once lost it's gone forever.

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I've seen a few bad ones, but most of the new high end homes I've seen have shown considerable attention to detailing and good architectural form, and they appear as well constructed as your standard McMansions from the previous century.

Tell that to all the people that have had major structural problems with thier new "well built" houses, such as water leaks, uneven floors, peeling stucco, and warped vinyl. This was covered by a news program on a major network a few years back. It covered how much inferior new construction is.

I have no problem with new construction Andrea, if it is beneficial and needed. Looking at that photo you posted, it looks much better than what is being developed today. The biggest thing I see is that the houses don't all look alike and are built to the older specifications, Lots of woodwork, large porches, maybe some wrought iron, etc. It just looks like a better neighborhood architecturally in that 1920's photo that what you would see in Gwinnett County. I do think a lot of the newer neighborhoods are trying to build to the old standards. Like the one near Atlanta, you would swear it was the 1940's. It was fabulous. Again, I agree, new growth is good, but stucco and warped vinyl and cookie cutter is bad, very bad.

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Wait a minute, Tom -- McMansions *are* the character of Atlanta. Have you driven through Ansley, Druid Hills, Buckhead or Inman Park lately? They were slapping these things up 100 years ago!

I dont really consider, on the east side of Peachtree in Buckhead, the old houses to be mcmansions...put those houses up anywhere in the burbs and they really wouldnt be that big. 200k maybe? 250. but not the 500k monsters put up elsewhere. drive down Lindburgh...those houses seem small.

I like that old picture...wow sidewalks, what a novelty. And I bet they actually went somewhere back then, not just the end of the "neighborhood". Unlike 90% of the development in Gwinnett...

pretty sure Gwinnett will be the slums of the future, save a few pockets.

Gwinnett :sick:

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Tell that to all the people that have had major structural problems with thier new "well built" houses, such as water leaks, uneven floors, peeling stucco, and warped vinyl. This was covered by a news program on a major network a few years back. It covered how much inferior new construction is.

I have no problem with new construction Andrea, if it is beneficial and needed. Looking at that photo you posted, it looks much better than what is being developed today. The biggest thing I see is that the houses don't all look alike and are built to the older specifications, Lots of woodwork, large porches, maybe some wrought iron, etc. It just looks like a better neighborhood architecturally in that 1920's photo that what you would see in Gwinnett County. I do think a lot of the newer neighborhoods are trying to build to the old standards. Like the one near Atlanta, you would swear it was the 1940's. It was fabulous. Again, I agree, new growth is good, but stucco and warped vinyl and cookie cutter is bad, very bad.

Well, it appears we disagree. I'd invite you to check out new construction in high end houses in the city and in the suburbs. Most of it is superb. These days we have better codes, better materials and better construction techniques. We also have many superb architects, craftsmen and contractors at work. Most high end homes these days (new construction and major rebuilds) exhibit huge attention to detail which, in many cases, exceeds earlier construction. Moreover, consumers these days are more sophisticated and very few are willing to plunk down $1 million or more for houses that don't meet the highest standards of quality.

I have personally always lived in houses that were built in the 1930's or earlier, and if you don't think you will encounter plenty of lackluster construction and design, and lots of deterioration due to age, neglect, and ridiclous remodeling efforts, then you are in for some unpleasant suprises when you buy one.

With all due respect, it sounds to me like you are talking in terms of broad, unsupported stereotypes without much first hand knowledge.

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