Thursday, January 18, 2007

Remember the Palamont

No ice storm. Just gray misery. I'm a little disappointed because I would have enjoyed the visuals, but on the other hand no one slid across three lanes of traffic to broadside me, so that's kind of awesome.

I drove down Atlanta's Auburn Avenue the other day for the first time in a long while -- a few years, I'd say. It's undergoing a pretty massive revitalization, and while I usually roll my eyes at the prospect of more condominiums around here, something was definitely needed. Auburn is one of Atlanta's signature streets, along with Peachtree, and a few years back, when I wandered around it, it was in pretty desperate shape.

Alas, the plans have claimed a building that I really liked.

The Palamont Motor Lodge was on the corner of Piedmont and Auburn (the photos in this post were taken on a similarly gray and miserable day in 2002 -- as I recall it started pouring rain, leaving me planning to come back and take better pics, which never happened) from decades ago (dates vary -- I've seen it referred to as 1950s-era, and I've seen a 1968 construction date, which sounds erroneous) until last year. It closed sometime in the 1980s, and by the time I was driving by the place, it was a wreck.

These photos (blame it on the rain!) don't show the half of it -- it was crumbling, cracked out, surrounded by fences and barbed wire in a futile attempt to keep people out, covered in graffiti. But it was still an eye-catching building, one that must have been kind of cool when it was active. And it was also a building that had significance to the surrounding community -- one of the only places that accepted African-American guests during segregation.

There was quite a battle to save it, and apparently (by the way, I should note at this point that a lot of the info in this post is from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution archives) its fate was the hold-up in starting the overhaul of the city block. Finally, it was written off as a lost cause, and is totally gone. Happily, they're apparently going to keep the old cool facades of other buildings along the block -- including the Casino Social Club, though driving by today I couldn't see it behind the construction.

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