Chamblee54

Organic Furniture

Posted in Poem by chamblee54 on July 19, 2020

The Jezebel Revival

Posted in Book Reports by chamblee54 on July 18, 2020


“Don’t trust anybody who’d rather be grammatically correct than have a good time.” When perusing lists of salient quotes from Skinny Legs and All, this one will be there. Like many quotes separated from context, it is much more fun to find in the text. Quotes are like perfume. A tasteful drop behind the ear can liven things up. Too many quotes, applied without proper care, can leave the reader running away, gasping for air.

” an old sedan rattled up to the crosswalk, full of music, smoke, and rust. When the light changed, it pooted and tooted in the direction of New Jersey, but not before the objects noted a sticker on its bumper that announced “I’d rather be partying.” Can o’ Beans imagined it to be an infraction of taste, if not of grammar, declaring, “You should never trust anyone who uses ‘party’ as a verb. He/she felt appropriately chastised, when Dirty Sock growled and shot back, “Uh-huh, and don’t trust anybody who’d rather be grammatically correct than have a good time.”

Perspicacious readers might note that this exchange was between a Can o’ Beans, and a Dirty Sock. Since the o’ in Co’B is lower case, it is probable that this is an abbreviation for of, and not an Irish surname. “He’s not Irish” is an old-fashioned way of saying that a person is Jewish. Since the Co’B presumably contained pork, it is unlikely that it was Jewish. The national identity of Co’B must remain a mystery, along with the idea that it was talking to DS.

Tom Robbins novels are, generally, both grammatically correct and purveyors of good times. This does not mean that they always make sense. Co’B and DS are in the basement of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. They are watching a performance artist named Turn Around Norman, who stands on Fifth Avenue and slowly, slowly, slowly does a 270 degree turn. This appeals to Co’B and DS, as well as their departed associate Spoon.

The inanimate threesome was left behind in an Idaho cave. Former, and future, owner Ellen Cherry Charles Petway took them into the cave, intending to have Co’B as lunch. This after husband Boomer Petway intended to have Ellen Cherry for dessert, before eating the more solid food. Boomer wore Dirty Sock into the cave. All was going well, until Ellen Cherry demanded that her hubby call her Jezebel. This woke up Painted Stick and Conch Shell. PS/CS woke up after a millennium long slumber, after hearing the name of a Goddess admirer. If this is getting confusing, maybe you should just go ahead to the pictures. They are from The Library of Congress.

PS/CS were worship objects from ancient Phoenicia. This is a neighbor of Israel, later known as Lebanon. At the time SLAA was set, Lebanon was a hell hole, not least because of its proximity to Israel. After Ellen Cherry cried Jezebel, PS/CS decided that it was time to go to Jerusalem, where grammatically incorrect good times are always abloom. The fact that they were inantimate objects did not stop them from traveling. This is one part of the SLAA fantasy that is not adequately explained, and it probably just attributable to some good mushrooms turning up in the Robbins household.

Jezebel is a historic nickname, for a painted good time woman. Her biblical infamy is probably not deserved, which doesn’t stop the fun. Back before Buckhead became gussified beyond recognition, an apartment building on East Paces Ferry Road featured the Jezebel lounge on the ground floor.

SLAA was written sometime in the late eighties, and published in 1990. At that time, the concept of Singular They had not, mercifully, emerged. The one advantage of ST is referring to objects of uncertain gender. They works much better than he/she. Fwiw, Dirty Sock and Painted Stick are male, while Conch Shell and Spoon are Robbinesque celebrations of femininity. One ponders the chauvinism of he/she. Good manners say that ladies should go first.

PG took a facebook break, and stumbled onto a video. The poet wrote this when he was fifteen +/-, and starred in a performance as an adult. It is about “toxic masculinity” and is filmed on an in-town sidewalk. PG did a screen capture of the money shot. A no-parking sign is growing out of his head. Part one of this commentary was published twelve days ago.

The Illness We Pick

Posted in Poem by chamblee54 on July 17, 2020

Blue Tail Fly

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Music by chamblee54 on July 16, 2020

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Q: What does “Jimmy crack corn” mean, and why does he not care?—Matt, Columbus, Ohio

PG was trolling stupidquestion.net when there was a convergence of stupidity. (The site does not exist in 2012.) All his life he had heard “Blue Tail Fly”, and been embarrassed. And there, in (pardon the expression) black and white, was someone who wondered the same thing.

It seems as though “Blue Tail Fly” started out as a minstrel song. For those who don’t know, minstrel shows were white people putting on black makeup, and imitating African Americans. Minstrel shows are not well thought of these days.

The story of BTF involves a man named Jimmy. A fly bit the pony the old massa was riding, the pony was offended, and threw the old massa off. He was hurt landing, and died. Jimmy still has to crack corn, but he doesn’t care, because old massa has gone away.

Dave Barry took a poll once to find out the stupidest song of all time. The overwhelming winner/loser was “MacArthur Park”. The combination of over the top show stopping, while singing about a cake left out in the rain, makes this ditty a duh classic.

In the spirit of corny convergence, the video is a karaoke version featuring Donna Summer. Miss Summer is a talented singer, who happened to connect with Giorgio Moroder. Lots of singers could have hit the big time by fronting those records. Donna Summer hit the jackpot.

For a proper post, there needs to be a third stupid song. This is not about stupid bands, singing about being D U M B. Even though they totally don’t belong, there is a video of the Ramones included. PG saw the Ramones at the Agora Ballroom in 1983. This was after their prime, and before a homeless man caught the Ballroom on fire.

We still need a third stupid song, and PG wants to get this posted with as little research as possible. Just like some writer was once given twenty minutes to write a song, and he decided to do the worst song he could think of. The result was “Wild Thing”. PG used to have a 45 of someone who sounded like Bobby Kennedy singing “Wild Thing”. Let the good times roll.

These four hundred and twenty hastily chosen words are a repost. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. This was downtown Atlanta in 1941.


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Phone Booth

Posted in Poem by chamblee54 on July 15, 2020

Nappy Hair Where?

Posted in GSU photo archive, Quotes, Race, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on July 14, 2020





This is a repost from 2011. A link about white privilege now directs to The Story Behind ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ – the 50-Year-Old Song that Is Forever Young. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
PG was reading facebook, minding his own business, when he saw something that made his head explode. It started with a post with the splashy title White Liberals Have White Privilege Too! . There is something about online discussions about white privilege that make well meaning people want to type a lot of words into little boxes on the monitor. PG usually avoids such a conversation, as if it were an amway pitch, but made an exception this fateful afternoon.

The seminal article was written in 2007, and mentioned the media controversy of the day. It seemed as though Joe Biden said
“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy … I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” Mr. Biden is currently the Vice President, serving under the FMAA.
There was a link to a bit of archaic html called ” Black People Love Us!, which tells the story of Sally and Johnny…
“We are well-liked by Black people so we’re psyched (since lots of Black people don’t like lots of White people)!! We thought it’d be cool to honor our exceptional status with a ROCKIN’ domain name and a killer website!!” The fun starts when a facebook paster quoted a letter to BPLU.
“I swear, if one more white person says that they want to touch my hair, I am gonna puck a f*ckin mousetrap in it so their f*ckin hand gets caught in it. anyways… GET WITH THE PROGRAM! Have any of you ever heard of sarcasm? Irony? Satires? Canterbury Tales? Shakespeare’s “As You Like it” and “Much Ado About Nothing?” If some of you would actually get your heads out of your asses for one second and read a f*cking book or get educated, you will see that this website is NOT trying to break down PEOPLE, but break down BARRIERS and erase STEREOTYPES…With much love for Sally and Johnny… A Black University of Michigan Student with nappy-ass hair”.

The resulting visual ruined the day for PG. BUMS should keep their pants on, and not burden the world with the sight of nappy hair on their posterior. The same thing goes for any asian, latino, caucasian, native american, or zorlack with this problem.





PG was recently reading a list of rules for writing. He began to think of a few. A wordpad was opened, and before long 18 suggestions appeared. Many are only marginally about writing.

When you publish a list like this, you are placing a target on your back, with the word hypocrite written above. PG does not claim to take all these suggestions all the time. What follows is a goal to work for, not a script for a situation comedy.

When in doubt, shut up.
A halo is best worn over one ear.

If you want to be forgiven, forgive. If you want to be understood, understand.

There are few situations that cannot be made worse with anger and loud talk.

You have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as you talk.

A douche is a hygiene appliance. The verb form refers to using this device, for cleaning purposes. Neither the noun nor the verb is appropriate for use as an insult.

A sentence has one period, placed at the end. Do not place a period after every word to make a point. You should find another way to show emphasis.

Not everyone enjoys the sound of your voice as much as you do.

Do not place “ass” between and adjective and the object. “Ass” is a noun that refers to either a donkey or a butt. An adverb is used to modify an adjective, and is placed before the adjective. Using “ass” as a misplaced adverb is improper. This applies to “a$$”as well.

Before you “call out” somebody for “racism”, drape a towel over your mirror.

The third commandment says to not use the word G-d “in vain”. The G word should only be used for worship and respectful discussion. Improper uses include expressing anger, swearing to, selling life insurance, and pledging allegiance to a nationalist symbol.





A Woman And A Cow Perform A Duet

Posted in Library of Congress, Weekly Notes by chamblee54 on July 13, 2020


The display of a link on this page does not indicate approval of content.
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Key Metrics for COVID Suppression Researchers and Public Health Experts unite …
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Ahmaud Arbery will not be erased But will his death finally force America to see truth?
Information Regarding Damaging, Destroying, Replacing, Removing Monuments
Case Against Amy Cooper Lacks Key Element: Victim’s Cooperation
What you see is what you get / After six-year lull, Winger returns with ‘Big Bad Love’
Hidden History: Decatur students shed light on 1960 MLK arrest, release
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Anti-Slavery Zealot John Brown is No Hero
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The Jolt: Behind the WNBA fight that Kelly Loeffler sought
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Jim Morrison’s dad had a hand in starting the Vietnam War
The Misplaced Populist Opposition to Qualified-Immunity Reform
There’s No Such Thing as the “National Interest”
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Police-Involved Shooting, Baltimore July 1, 2020
‘We feel like we’ve been abandoned.’ Atlanta suffers a deadly July 4
Trump DOJ’s efforts to line up a secret supply chain for federal executions
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rufus wainwright ~ Julian Betton ~ senator barbie ~ no talent show ~ McDonough statue
Blackout Day 2020 ~ critic at large ~ Electronic/Electroacoustic ~ edgewood
“so the other day this guy sends me a video on Twitter and I watch it it’s some black guy … yelling he’s like they’re gonna rise up you know and it it’s obvious what you’re watching you’re like man this guy’s like these riots are out of control … I find it on YouTube … then the next thing the guy says is this president is divisive this president is the problem it’s so divisive he’s causing all this division and it’s like holy shit he’s actually talking about Trump and then I kept watching and he’s like President Obama’s got to go” ~ A Letter on Justice and Open Debate … cultural institutions are facing a moment of trial. This letter is co-signed by many familiar names. It is a call against the “radical” reaction of many to social justice issues. Maybe, the idea of framing a quest for a better society as warfare is not a good idea. Remember, your *ally* in this struggle is frequently your enemy in the next one. In any warrior action, there is going to be collateral damage. Much of the logic used to support Social Justice Jihad is flawed and misleading. ~ A More Specific Letter on Justice and Open Debate ~ There is a #Catch22 about the #WhiteFragility meme. If you don’t subscribe to the concept, It is considered an indication that you have #WhiteFragility ~ If there is a street party blocking Jesse Hill drive, how are people able to get to Grady hospital? ~ @Sonya79628309 PLEASE GUYS, NO DM’S! IM MARRIED AND NOT LOOKING FOR A DATE! Jesus is my Savior. I love my country&I love my President! #Trump2020landslidevictory Ohio, USA #MAGA Country Joined March 2019 ~ This poem was shared at a virtual open mic last night there is little virtue in a sewer, water is buried and rises again, playful rebellious and immature, not that any of us will ever win, ever sober responsible cautious, sailing through blizzard under curfew, deluding ourselves to be dangerous, for security will never be true ~ pictures today are from The Library of Congress. ~ selah

The Whitman To Ginsberg Express

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on July 12, 2020


“… I’ve slept with Neal Cassady who slept with Gavin Arthur who slept with Edward Carpenter who described sleeping with Whitman to Gavin Arthur. [The “Gay Succession”]” Allen Ginsberg was fond of his place in a line of gay succession. This is a repost.

A 1974 interview makes the same point about Whitman-Carpenter-Arthur, but does not mention Cassady-Ginsberg. Could anyone be telling stories? The Carpenter-Arthur connection happened in 1924, but is described in wonderful detail by Mr. Arthur in 1967. There are few details about the Arthur-Cassady link in the chain. As a BBC interviewer said to Mr. Ginsberg in 1994 “Both Bob Dylan and Jack Kerouac, I think, described you as a “con-man extraordinaire”. What did they mean?” AG: “Oh, maybe they were projecting their own goofiness on me.”

“Edward Carpenter (1844-1929) was a writer and gay mystic and lived in England all his life. Although ordained an Anglican priest in 1869 he soon renounced religion and became a Fabian socialist. Among his works on social reform is Towards Democracy (1883-1902), a long, un- rhymed poem revealing the influence of his friend Walt Whitman. He edited the first gay literary collection, Iolaus: An Anthology of Friendship”

Mr. Carpenter exchanged letters with Mr. Whitman. “Although Whitman was not a socialist, his writing had a profound effect on Carpenter, who made the long trip to America primarily as a pilgrimage to his literary and spiritual inspiration. He visited the poet for several weeks in 1877 and again in 1884. In 1906 he published an account of his visits to America, Days with Walt Whitman, writing a respectful, even somewhat glorified, portrait of his idol.”

“It was not until the 1966 publication of a memoir by Gavin Arthur entitled The Circle Of Sex that the intimate details of Carpenter’s visits were revealed. Arthur slept in bed with Carpenter … leaving us with our only description of Whitman’s sexual behavior, an area otherwise shrouded in mystery and controversy.” In later years, we learned that Mr. Whitman possibly spent a happy afternoon with Oscar Wilde. Mr. Whitman was also fond of cruising the Brooklyn Waterfront.

Gavin Arthur (born Chester Alan Arthur III; March 21, 1901 – April 28, 1972) is a key link in this chain. As often noted, he was the grandson of Chester Arthur. The elder Mr. Arthur was elected Vice President in 1880, and promoted after the death of James Garfield.

The younger Mr. Arthur was a piece of work. In the early 1920’s, Mr. Arthur dropped out of Columbia, got married, and moved to Ireland. Mr. Arthur somehow got to meet his idol, Edward Carpenter. At the time of this meeting, Mr. Arthur was 23, and Mr. Carpenter was 80.

THE GAY SUCCESSION “… is a document given me by Gavin Arthur in 1967.” The story goes into extravagant detail about the meeting between Mr. Arthur and Mr. Carpenter. One wonders how the elderly Mr. Arthur remembers all this 43 years later.

EC – “No, Walt was ambigenic,” he said. “His contact with women was far less than his contact with men. But he did engender several children and his greatest female contact was that Creole in New Orleans. I don’t think he ever loved any of them as much as he loved Peter Doyle.”
GA – “I suppose you slept with him?” I blurted out half scared to ask.”
EC – “Oh yes–once in a while–he regarded it as the best way to get together with another man. He thought that people should ‘know’ each other on the physical and emotional plane as well as the mental. … the best part of comrade love was that there was no limit to the number of comrades”
GA – “How did he make love?” I forced myself to ask.”
EC – “I will show you,” he smiled. “Let us go to bed.”
Mr. Arthur spares few details in what happens next.

Chester III renamed himself Gavin. After losing the financial support of his family, Mr. Arthur moved to San Francisco. For a while, he sold newspapers on the street. “And he delved deep into both astrology and sexology. Gavin took his star charts very seriously: When one self-administered reading told him he was heading to prison soon, he immediately drove to San Quentin and took a job as a teacher, the better to prevent going in as an inmate.”

“By the 1960s, Gavin Arthur had become a well-known and respected astrologer. In 1966, some Bay Area activists, cultural and political, began to plan a transformative event. They wanted to unite the cultural radicals of the Haight, and the political radicals of Berkeley. Those plans led to the Human Be-In. In order to have maximum astrological impact, its organizers asked Arthur to determine the most auspicious date. Arthur determined that January 14, 1967, would have the greatest impact.”

“I had a flashback to the time I spent with Ginsberg in Cambridge, MA, in 1982, when he told me that I was part of an erotic lineage that connected me to Whitman … a quick Google search identifies Arthur as ”a certain astrologer and San Francisco character, Gavin Arthur … gave lectures at San Quentin while Neal was a prisoner.” Another entry reports that he studied astrology with Ronald Reagan before Reagan started his political career.”

“In 1958, he (Neal Cassady) was arrested after being caught using marijuana at a San Francisco nightclub. He was sentenced for two years at San Quentin State Prison.” This was when Mr. Arthur was teaching at San Quentin. Mr. Cassady mentions him in two letters to his wife Carolyn. (For those who just got here, Neal Cassady was the model for Dean Moriarty in On The Road. Mr. Cassady also drove the bus “Further,” for the Merry Pranksters.)

August 13, 1959 from San Quentin to Carolyn Cassady “Last Saturday, “Uncle Gavin” Arthur, grandson of our twenty-first President who, Republican though he was, could hardly have been more conservative than is Gain underneath all his Occult Astrology, failed to show (again, for the third time in six weeks) to teach our class in Comparative Religion and Philosophy, about three dozen regularly in attendance, on account of a death in his group at the Global House, which he bought by selling papers on Market Street for ten years; so again it was my pleasurable duty to instruct the boys in Cayce-hood [Edgar Cayce]”

Septetmber 22 1959 from San Quentin to Carolyn Cassady “Uncle” worry-wart [Gavin Arthur] missed showing up for the class again last week and I hear, probably unfounded, rumors that it is to be discontinued, too bad if true, because it was fun to hear the old geezer expound, without at all remembering he had, on the very same things week after week. I mean his examples, and their wording were always so alike one could not only anticipate, but, with any memory at all, give in advance the exact sentence he would be about to pronounce: it was sort of a game.” Eight years later, the “old geezer” described a 1924 tryst in clinical detail.

San Quentin broke Neal Cassady. The railroad would not take him back, and Carolyn divorced him. “He, however, felt now he had utterly failed in his mission, and he knew he could never go back. He died inside; only his body survived. This he did his best to destroy. He no longer believed in suicide, but he did all he could to be killed. … He told me he swallowed handfuls of pills anyone offered, even not knowing what they were. Is this not an obvious death-wish? He admitted it was.”

During this down and out time of his life, Neal Cassady apparently connected with Gavin Arthur. In a 1974 radio interview, Allen Ginsberg recalls “That was already the ’60’s, but there was that atmosphere back in San Francisco, around Gavin Arthur, particularly. Arthur was a great friend of Neal Cassady, slept with him all the time, or whenever Neal had nowhere to go he’d wind up in Gavin’s house, sort of falling asleep, exhausted, in his bed.”

The Neal Cassady to Allen Ginsberg connection is well documented.

“A second, serendipitous event further spurred (Joey) Cain’s interest in researching Gavin Arthur. Cain found a used copy of Carpenter’s “Towards Democracy” in a used bookstore for $3.00. It had a lot of writing in it. Cain noticed the following lament among the notes in the book, “This is one of my Bibles, please return. This volume is the third I have had to buy, people being so dishonest about books.” Then he looked below and saw Gavin Arthur’s signature and address. The writing belonged to Arthur. The book in his hand had once belonged to Gavin Arthur. He went up to the cashier who said, “It’s a shame about all this writing in it.” Cain replied, “Let me pay for it first, and then I’ll tell you about this writing.” Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

Little Virtue

Posted in Poem by chamblee54 on July 11, 2020

Krog Tunnel

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on July 10, 2020


PG had some time to spare downtown. The 2019 pictures from the krog tunnel had run out. In the thirteen months since he was there last, the tunnel had accumulated a few layers of paint.

It was down to a routine. You make two trips, back and forth. The first time, you focus on the outer walls. The second time, you take in the columns, with the cars going past you. When you finish the west side, you move on to the east.

The pictures in this gallery are from the east side columns. It was the last of the four rounds. PG was getting tired, his bike-wreck damaged shoulder was complaining, and the vehicle was not in a safe parking spot. By this round, PG was not trying to chronicle everything he saw, but going for the highlights. A few shots of the column supports, with the rest of the tunnel in the background, began to appear. That is what this gallery is today.

Monroe Drive Or Boulevard

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on July 9, 2020

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It is an Atlanta cliche. Boulevard turns into Monroe Drive because one was black, and the other white. The white people did not want to live on a street with the same name as the black neighborhood. You hear this all the time, with very little explanation. It is plausible. At one time, Ponce de Leon Avenue was a dividing line between the white, and black, neighborhoods. There are, however, a few questions about this name change business. This is a repost.

In the space between I-85 and Dekalb County, there are four streets that change names when they cross Ponce De Leon Avenue. These are Juniper/Courtland, Charles Allen/Parkway, Monroe/Boulevard, and Briarcliff/Moreland. Several streets cross Ponce without changing names, including Spring Street, Peachtree Street, Piedmont Avenue, and North Highland Avenue.

Four thoroughfares are affected by the Ponce rebranding. Juniper/Courtland is mostly commercial, at least south of Ponce. Briarcliff/Moreland is mostly white until you get to the railroad tracks south of Little Five Points. When Moreland Avenue goes under the MARTA line, the neighborhood is Reynoldstown….which was not named for Burt Reynolds.

Charles Allen/Parkway does change from white to black at Ponce. The street name then changes to Jackson Street, the original name, at Highland Avenue. Monroe/Boulevard, one block east of Charles Allen/Parkway, also goes from white to black at Ponce. However, when you cross the railroad tracks, Boulevard goes through Cabbagetown, a white neighborhood. Boulevard residents change color several times before the road dead ends at the Federal Prison. Oakland Cemetery, and Zoo Atlanta, do not play a role in this drama.

If this litany of street names is boring, it is all right to skip over the text. The pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
Roads change names all over the metro area, for a variety of reasons. In the area between Ponce De Leon Avenue and I 20, there are roads that change at railroad tracks (North Highland/Highland, Krog/Estoria.) Others change at Highland Avenue (Parkway/Jackson, Glen Iris/Randolph) or Decatur Street (Hilliard/Grant, Bell/Hill.) Some of these changes are racially motivated, while others are not. Some make sense, while most do not.

No one seems to know when this Monroe/Boulevard thing happened. An 1892 “Bird’s eye view” shows Boulevard sailing off into the horizon, past a racetrack in today’s Piedmont Park. A 1911 map shows Boulevard starting near “L.P. Grant Park,” and sailing past Ponce up to Piedmont Park. A 1940 map shows Boulevard going past Park Drive, only to turn into Monroe Drive at Montgomery Ferry Road. Finally, a 1969 map of “Negro Residential Areas” shows Monroe Drive changing into Boulevard at Ponce De Leon Avenue, like it is today. Boulevard is a stand alone street name at all times.

If anyone knows about this name change business, please leave a comment. It would be interesting to know when these changes were made, and what government agency made them. Google has not been helpful, except for pointing the way to several map collections. UPDATE After the last publication of this post, a comment was made about the namesake of Monroe Drive. A post inspired by this comment is reposted below.

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“North Boulevard was renamed Monroe Drive in 1937 to honor noted Landscape Architect W.L. Monroe who built his house and a plant nursery on the road and was noted for his many landscape projects and public parks in Atlanta.” Faset (Bill) Seay, February 4, 2020, 3:48 pm This comment was made to Monroe Drive or Boulevard. MDOB looks at Atlanta roads that change names, and the reputed racial motivations for these changes. The Monroe story takes place in Piedmont Heights.

“In 1823 Benjamin Plaster was granted 3,000 acres of land along Peachtree Creek and Clear Creek in recognition of his military service during the War of 1812. This was two years before Archibald Holland acquired a similar tract several miles to the east where another village called Terminus was founded in 1837, later renamed Marthasville and eventually Atlanta. … Plaster built a bridge across Peachtree Creek and the trail to it became known as Plaster’s Bridge Road. The bridge’s stone abutments still remain on the creek banks and a short section of the old road, running along the northern boundary of today’s Piedmont Heights, is now called Plasters Avenue. As other settlers followed a township called Easton grew up around Walker’s Grist Mill on Clear Creek near the site of today’s Ansley Mall at Piedmont Road and Monroe Drive.”

“Around 1850 Captain Hezekiah Cheshire arrived from South Carolina. His sons, Napoleon and Jerome, settled on opposite sides of the south fork of Peachtree Creek. They built a bridge across the creek near to connect their farms and the road to it became Cheshire Bridge Road. … In 1864 General Sherman’s Union soldiers swept through Atlanta. General T. J. Wood’s troops built entrenchments along the eastern edge of Easton on the property of Benjamin Plaster’s son Edwin, putting the little community in the battle of Atlanta. These entrenchments remained until the 1950s when they were destroyed by the construction of a Holiday Inn. Today a few crumbling stone steps and historic marker on the site honor the Edwin Cheshire family’s handyman “Gold Tooth John” whose ghost is rumored to still wander the halls of the old hotel at night.

“In 1871 the Atlanta and Richmond Air Line Railway opened a line between Atlanta and Toccoa, Georgia with a depot at Easton. Its “Air Line Belle” train, said to be the finest on the line, allowed Easton residents to commute to Atlanta without having to ford Clear Creek which still had no bridge. Train service spurred growth of the township to 100 residents by 1888 but the surrounding area remained rural and mostly devoted to farming and dairying. The rail line serving Easton was called the “Southern Railway Belt Line” and in 1883 the “Georgia Pacific Belt Line Railroad” connected with it just north of Easton at Belt Junction, an area which later became known as … Armour/Ottley. … In 1895 North Boulevard was built, running through Easton parallel to the railroad, as a main route into Atlanta. … In 1912 Fulton County annexed Easton and renamed it Piedmont Heights. Plaster’s Bridge Road was paved in 1917 and its name changed to Piedmont Road.” (According to this narrative, the Boulevard-Monroe thoroughfare was originally called North Boulevard. This is not the same road as North Avenue. Confusing road names is not limited to multiple Peachtrees.)

“In 1925 Landscape Architect W. L. Monroe bought 15 acres on North Boulevard at Wimbledon Road where he operated a popular nursery and landscaping business for many years, … Remnants of two small stone structures that Monroe built … remain on the grounds of today’s Ansley-Monroe Villas Condominiums. In 1927 a portion of North Boulevard was renamed Monroe Drive in honor of Monroe’s many landscape projects in the city.” … “In 1928 the City of Atlanta began annexing Piedmont Heights by taking in the lots along North Boulevard. In the 1930s a new home could be bought for $4,700 on North Boulevard or Wimbledon Road.”

There is a bit of confusion here. One source says the Monroe renaming was in 1927, while another source says 1937. Then there is the story told by maps, found in the original post.

An 1892 “Bird’s eye view” shows Boulevard sailing off into the horizon, past a racetrack in today’s Piedmont Park. A 1911 map shows Boulevard starting near “L.P. Grant Park,” and sailing past Ponce up to Piedmont Park. A 1940 map shows Boulevard going past Park Drive, only to turn into Monroe Drive at Montgomery Ferry Road. Finally, a 1969 map of “Negro Residential Areas” shows Monroe Drive changing into Boulevard at Ponce De Leon Avenue, like it is today.

Two things are worth noting. None of these maps have a “North Boulevard.” The street name is a stand-alone Boulevard. Second, the 1940 map shows the street as Boulevard at Eighth Street, and Elmwood Drive. The first mention of Monroe is at Montgomery Fairy, near the Monroe Nursery. This might contradict the racial narrative.

The information about Mr. Monroe neither proves, nor disproves, the story that black Boulevard was changed to white Monroe. City on the Verge: Atlanta and the Fight for America’s Urban Future states “In 1925 landscape architect W. L. Monroe bought fifteen acres on what was then called North Boulevard, establishing a plant nursery that thrived for many years. In 1937, the street north of Ponce de Leon was renamed Monroe Drive in his honor (and to distinguish it as a white area as opposed to Boulevard to the south of Ponce).” The book offers no evidence for this, and its “woke” tone is cause for skepticism. While there is circumstantial evidence to support the legend, verifiable facts are hard to come by. A similar story might be the 1956 change of the state flag.

“William Lott Monroe, Sr. (1891-1965), landscape designer and nurseryman, is recognized in newspaper articles as the “landscape artist” during the development of North Fulton Park (later renamed Chastain Memorial Park) in the late 1930s and early 1940s. This work was financed partially through WPA (Works Progress Administration) funds and supported with local prison labor. … There are three main areas in Chastain Park with Monroe’s signature style as a landscape designer: (1) the master grill area; (2) the picnic grounds area; and (3) the amphitheater. … Monroe’s Landscape & Nursery Co. is removed from Fulton County’s payroll: “… Drawn more than $17,000 from the county in the last year and one-half… The company was drawing $500 a month for supervising landscaping of county parks, which was in addition to flowers, shrubs and blueprints sold by it to the county.” (“Nursery Company Is Cut Off Pay Roll.” Atlanta Constitution, Jan. 25, 1941)” … “1941 Amphitheater still under construction, originally planned as an outdoor venue for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.” … “It is unknown if Monroe oversaw the completion of construction at the amphitheater.” … “October 22, 1965 William Lott Monroe, Sr. dies in Atlanta.” Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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The B-52s

Posted in Georgia History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on July 8, 2020








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There used to be a chinese restaurant, on the Atlanta Highway, called Hunan House. One night, a few people shared a flaming volcano, and formed a band. The b52s played their first show at a valentines day party in 1977. They were named for a bouffant hairstyle.

The b52’s were Ricky Wilson, his sister Cindy, Kate Pierson, Fred Schneider III, and Keith Strickland. The Wilsons and Mr. Strickland were from Athens. Miss Pierson and Mr. Schneider were from New Jersey. Planet Claire was the ancestral home.

Fred had lived in Atlanta before he moved to Athens. He stayed in an apartment on Monroe Drive, across from S&M clutch and brake company. PG knew some of his neighbors, and once rested his feet on a rug, formerly owned by Fred Schneider.

Somebody had connections, and The b52’s were playing shows in New York before long. They released a 45 on db records, “Rock Lobster” and “52 girls”. The first of the girls mentioned…there are only 23 named…is Effie. There was a famous whorehouse in Athens named Effies.

One night, they played a show at the Big Dipper, on Ponce de Leon Avenue. The Big Dipper was a former Maryland Fried Chicken, and is now something else. After the show, either Kate or Cindy was in the parking lot, talking to a local character named Beulah. As was his way, Beulah was talking about Mick Jagger this, Mick Jagger that. Finally, Kate had enough. “Fuck Mick Jagger. One day Mick Jagger will come see me, me, me.”

The b52’s were a fun band. Ricky had an unusual style on guitar, and Kate played a farfisa organ. The girls always wore big hair wigs. Fred was somewhere up front singing.

On Labor Day, 1978, PG saw the b52’s in Piedmont Park. There was a third girl that day, Wendy, who wore an inflatable beach float, and danced. The only songs PG is sure they did were “Downtown” and “Rock Lobster”. A few months later, PG saw the b52’s at the Agora ballroom. The Brains opened.

Sometime in late 1979, the eponymous first album came out. It became a hit, with dance clubs all over playing “Planet Claire”, “Dance this mess around”, and “6060-842”. In the summer of 1980, PG talked with a former Athenian in a hostel in Cannon Beach, Oregon. He mentioned that Cindy was the only heterosexual in the band.

The years went by, and more albums were released. On October 12, 1985, Ricky Wilson died of AIDS. He is buried in Oconee Hill Cemetery, behind Sanford Stadium in Athens. He sold bus tickets at the Greyhound station in downtown Athens before he hit the bigtime.

The band continues to this day. At some point, “Love Shack” was released, and became a hit. It is probably the best known b52’s song today. This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

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