Chamblee54

Midtown

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on June 24, 2017

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The neighborhood along Peachtree Road has always been a great place to be a freak. For a long time it didn’t have a name. It is north of downtown, between Piedmont Park and Georgia Tech. Sometime in the early eighties, people started to call it Midtown, and the name stuck.

In the time after the War Between the States, this area was a shantytown called “Tight Squeeze”. It evolved into a pleasant middle class area. In the sixties, hippies took over. The area was known as the strip, or tight squeeze. Many stories could be told.

After the flower children moved on, the area went into decline. Gays started to move in, with the battle cry “Give us our rights or we will remodel your house.” Developers, worshiping the triune G-d of location, location, location, began to smell money. The neighborhood became trendy, then expensive, then more expensive. The freaks with money remain. This is a repost. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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There is a nifty webcam up now. It shows the progress of a high rise going up now at 12th and Peachtree in midtown. The location of the camera itself is not certain, with the speculation centering on 999 Peachtree, two blocks south on Tenth Street.

A glance at the image reveals a curve in the road, between the two glass boxes under construction. Atlanta does not have wide, straight boulevards extending to the horizon. It is said that Atlanta did not build roads, but paved the cow paths.

People of a certain age will remember this area as the strip. The tenth street district was a neighborhood shopping area, up until the mid sixties. At some point, the old businesses started to move out and the hippies moved in. For a while, it was a festive party. Soon enough reality returned, and the area went into a crime filled decline.

The 999 complex is the neighborhood story in a nutshell. Before 1985, it was a block of small businesses. There was a hardware store, with the peace symbol set in tiles in the sidewalk. On Juniper Street stood the Langdon Court Apartments. They were named for PG’s great uncle Langdon Quin. Ru Paul used to stay there. He would sit out on a balcony, and wave to the traffic going by.

Across the street was a chinese restaurant, the House of Eng. A staircase on the side led to the Suzy Wong Lounge. Behind the building was an apartment building. It was one of the residences of Margaret Mitchell, while she wrote “Gone With The Wind”. She called it “the dump”, which was fairly accurate. The museum on that site would have amazed her.

PG went to the House of Eng for lunch one day in 1985. He noticed that he was the only customer in the house, at 12:30 pm on a weekday. After finishing his lunch, PG knew why.

At some point, it was decided to build a high rise there. Heery was one of the equity partners, along with a law firm and an ad agency. The building was designed by Heery (duh).The ad agency folded before the building opened, followed within a couple of years by the law firm. Heery was sold to a British company. PG does not know who owns 999 Peachtree now.

This is a repost, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. The building, at 12th and Peachtree, is finished.





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