I woke up to the sound of a building collapsing today. Needless to say, the reality doesn't live up to the image. An old (well, 1950s-vintage) bank building was demolished, presumably for more high-end apartments. The building itself was pretty non-descript -- I've presumably seen it thousands of times, but I can't picture it at all.
Perhaps inspired by the odd beginning to the day (half-asleep, I initially thought it was a bomb) got me to go out and see something I've been meaning to for a while -- a little remnant of old Atlanta.
A while back, I was chattering about old street names in Atlanta, and mentioned that Andrew Young International Boulevard had taken over the old-timey Cain Street downtown.
Well... not completely.
A one-block stretch of Cain Street remains, for reasons unknown. It runs from Boulevard to Jackson -- two rather run-down streets. East of Boulevard, what used to be Cain later (apparently - I'm relying on a 1951 map that I'm not sure is totally accurate) became part of Houston Street (now John Wesley Dobbs). West of Jackson, no street remains -- it appears to be apartment complex parking lots now (what was Cain resumes at the interstate, and that's where Andrew Young International Boulevard begins).
I've driven past this little forgotten chunk of Cain plenty of times, mostly just noting its presence, and a rather odd building there. Today, I finally drove on over.
I'd like to say it was the land that time forgot -- "everyone was dressed like it was 1926, flappers and shit! It was free love and free beer! People were riding unicorns around!" but, uh, no. It's basically empty, a street forgotten except for those who want to get from Boulevard to Jackson. There's that one odd building on the whole block, and a section of Freedom Park, on the north side -- private empty lots on the south.
The building, though, is quite interesting:
No signs, no indication of what it is. A residence? Rather odd area for one. The surrounding neighborhood is so completely disused -- there's nothing there -- that I would presume it was just a defunct building that has escaped the wrecking ball, but it's very well kept-up. A fence around the back kept me from getting a close-up look on that side, and the front offered up no clues.
A search on the address (442 Cain St.) turns up one reference -- a notice about the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic District, referring to our building thus:
"442 CAIN STREET, 1929. A one-story, trapezoid-shaped, brick service station with a shed roof, stepped parapet, and skylight. Facade features a single service bay with double, cross-braced doors and a three-bay office."
That's it. A service station (presumably modified considerably), dating to 1929. Another building for the oddball unknown file. And a cool one -- the last holder of the Cain Street legacy.