Our Thursday tour takes us on a visit to the World of Coke. From there we will go to the CNN Center for lunch "On Our Own". Following lunch we will visit Inman Park and the Margaret Mitchell house, then return to the hotel around 3:00.
The original World of Coca-Cola was located in downtown Atlanta, Georgia at 55 Martin Luther King Jr Drive, where it was adjacent to the Underground Atlanta shopping and entertainment district. The museum opened in 1990, and would remain open until 2007. The original World of Coca-Cola saw around nine million visitors during its years of operation, becoming Atlanta's most visited indoor attraction.
The museum was located in a three-story pavilion and its entrance had a huge neon Coca-Cola sign (30 feet high and 26 feet wide). This sign was built by Metals Manufacturing in West Valley, Utah. The tour started on the top floor and worked downwards, featuring approximately 1,000 Coca-Cola artifacts presented in chronological order, interactive exhibits such as a replica 1930s soda fountain, video presentations of Coca-Cola advertising over the years, and a 10-minute film about Coke around the world. The tour featured the 'Spectacular Fountain,' where visitors were allowed to sample various Coke products. At the 'Tastes of the States' area in the same room, guests were able to try 22 different soft drink brands, some available only regionally. The 'Tastes of the World' exhibit was located in the International Lounge. There was also a gift shop. This location closed in 2007.
The Atlanta museum was relocated to 121 Baker Street in Atlanta, just blocks away from where John Pemberton created the original Coca-Cola formula. The 92,000 square foot building was constructed at a cost of $97 million and opened in 2007. It is located in Atlanta, Georgia (where the company's headquarters are located) at Pemberton Place (named in honor of John Pemberton, the inventor of Coca-Cola). The 20-acre complex is located across Baker Street from Centennial Olympic Park that is home to the Georgia Aquarium and the Center for Civil & Human Rights. It opened to the public on May 24, 2007, relocating from and replacing the original exhibit. The museum features exhibits about the secret formula of Coca-Cola and allows visitors to taste 60 different flavors from around the world. It also houses a fully functional bottling line that produces commemorative 8-ounce bottles of Coca-Cola for visitors to keep as souvenirs.
After we leave the World of Coke, we will stop for lunch on our own close to CNN Center. There are several restaurants nearby including Johnny rockets, Baha Fresh, etc.
Inman Park was planned in the late 1880s by Joel Hurt, a civil engineer and real-estate developer who intended to create a rural oasis connected to the city by the first of Atlanta's electric streetcar lines, along Edgewood Avenue. The East Atlanta Land Company acquired and developed more than 130 acres east of the city and Hurt named the new suburb for his friend and business associate, Samuel M. Inman. Joseph Forsyth Johnson was hired as landscape designer for Inman Park who included curvilinear street designs and liberal usage of open spaces in his planning.
The Atlanta Constitution in 1896 grandly described Inman Park:
"High up above the city, where the purest breezes and the brightest sunshine drove away the germs of disease, and where nature had lavished her best gifts, the gentlemen who conceived the thought of Inman Park found the locality above all others which they desired. It was to be a place of homes, of pretty homes, green lawns, and desirable inhabitants. And all save those who would make desirable residents have been excluded. . . . It's the prettiest, highest, healthiest and most desirable locality I ever saw. Everybody is friendly and neighborly. . . . And as far as accessibility it ranks second to no residence portion of the city. We have three car lines and frequent schedules." Like new developments throughout the United States at the time, but in stark contrast to the attitudes prevalent in the neighborhood today, Inman Park was conceived of and promoted as a segregated community.
The arrival of the automobile allowed upper class Atlantans to live in suburbs farther north from downtown workplaces, such as Morningside and what is now considered Buckhead. Inman Park became less fashionable and the exuberant Victorian architecture came to seem dated. The mansions came to be subdivided into apartments.
Similar to other in town neighborhoods such as Virginia Highland, Inman Park fell to blight during the white middle and upper class exodus to the northern suburbs in the 1950s and 1960s, and was:
"an economically depressed neighborhood of mostly blue-collar white folks, elderly couples who could not afford to move out and families on disability and welfare. They lived in rented bungalows or big houses chopped up into tiny roach-infested apartments."
Driving through the neighborhood on his way to appraise stained glass windows in the doomed home of Judge Durwood T. Pye on Poplar Circle, Robert Griggs was smitten by the extraordinary architecture of the Beath-Dickey House, then a dilapidated multi-unit rental property. He and his partner, Robert Aiken, bought the house and restored it to a single-family dwelling. They were followed by others who restored homes; founded Inman Park Restoration, the neighborhood association; and created a neighborhood newsletter, a garden club to rehabilitate public spaces, and a pre-school. To publicize the progress they were making, they began a Tour of Homes with a small festival, which has grown into the hugely popular Inman Park Festival, held each spring.
After decades of restoration and renewal, Inman Park is now regarded as a highly desirable intown neighborhood with a mixture of rental and owner-occupied houses and condominiums.
Built up as it was over decades, the neighborhood housing now ranges from tiny mill town shotguns to the Victorian mansions of the original development, intermixed with bungalows of all sizes built during the first three decades of the 20th century. Like its housing, the makeup of Inman Park has changed since its inception, with a population that is 25% non-white and of varying economic levels—although increasing housing prices are beginning to force more economic homogeneity. Since the beginning of its renewal a strong sense of community has distinguished Inman Park. The neighborhood association has always welcomed renters and homeowners alike, with nominal annual dues, while the Inman Park Festival, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors every spring, brings residents together to produce the largest all-volunteer festival in Georgia. The Festival's centerpiece is the Tour of Homes, which showcases the wide variety of sizes and types of residences in the neighborhood.
Former industrial areas on the west side of the neighborhood have been redeveloped into mixed-use complexes. The former General Pipe and Foundry site is now North Highland Steel and the Mead paper plant site is now Inman Park Village. In the early 1990s the former Atlanta Stove Works was transformed by swapping 2 letters of its name and became the Atlanta Stage Works, a film and media production center, that eventually housed the early Tyler Perry Film studios and the National Aids Quilt. In 2015 it was converted into a mixed-use office and restaurant space, which will now be added to the space across Krog Street to form the Krog Street Market.
Margaret Mitchell House:
This was the home of author Margaret Mitchell, located in Midtown, at 990 Peachtree Street. Constructed by Cornelius J. Sheehan as a single-family residence in a then-fashionable section of residential Peachtree Street, the building's original address was 806 Peachtree Street. The house was known as the Crescent Apartments when Mitchell and her husband lived in Apt. 1 on the ground floor from 1925 to 1932. While living there, Mitchell wrote the bulk of her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Gone with the Wind.
The house now contains a visitor center, and a portion of the museum is wholly devoted to the making of the 1939 film based on the book.
The house was built as a single-family residence in 1899. Commercial development quickly overtook the neighborhood however, and in 1907 the original family moved to Druid Hills. The house changed hands several times until the winter of 1913-1914 when the house was moved onto a new basement story constructed on the rear of the lot. Given a Crescent Avenue address, the building was remodeled in 1919 and converted into a ten-unit apartment building, known as the Crescent Apartments, and "three brick stores" were built where the house had originally sat. Located in what was then Atlanta's largest business district outside of downtown, close to trolley lines, and walking distance from her parents' house, the Crescent Apartments was home to Margaret Mitchell and John Marsh when they married in July 1925. Unfortunately, the building's owner became over-extended, and it was sold at auction in 1926. The next owner, too, was driven to bankruptcy when the stock market crashed in 1929. Maintenance declined, contributing to Mitchell's characterization of their apartment as "the Dump." By the fall of 1931, there were only two occupied apartments in the building, one of which belonged to the Marshes, but they, too, moved to a larger apartment a few blocks away in the spring of 1932.
With a new owner, the Crescent Apartments were revived and continued to attract tenants until shortly after World War II. By then, the building was in poor condition, and in 1946 the porches were removed from the Crescent Avenue side of the building. (The original front porches were lost when the building was moved in 1913). By the 1950s, the building was mostly vacant and overdue for rehabilitation. There were a few commercial tenants, and the old apartments were popular with Georgia Tech students. In 1964, the opening nearby of Ansley Mall signaled the death knell for the old commercial district on Peachtree Street between 8th and 14th. But at the same time, the Crescent Apartments got a much-needed rehab and were reborn as the Windsor House Apartments.
In 1977, the last tenants were evicted and the building boarded up by a new owner who intended a major redevelopment of the area. By the time he and his company went bankrupt in the late 1980s, their only accomplishment was construction of a new office building at 10th and West Peachtree and the razing of dozens of historic buildings in the area. The old Crescent Apartments continued to deteriorate, especially after a fire set in the southwest corner of the building did minor damage in the late 1980s. However, another fire, presumed to be arson, destroyed much of the building in September 1994.
We should return to the hotel around 3:00.
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Updated by Terry W. McManuels