Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ralph and Ivan

Winter's making a last stand these couple of days, one last offensive before packing it in. Later today it's supposed to warm up a bit, tomorrow it'll be back up in the 60s, but right now it's goddamn cold. So I'm staying inside as much as possible, and finally posting these pictures.

Last weekend it wasn't cold, and feeling a bit guilty after eating the Spicy Rat Toes, I went for a lengthy stroll.

Ralph McGill Boulevard goes through a good portion of downtown Atlanta, but in my years here I doubt I've driven down it more than a dozen times -- so this was rather uncharted territory. The bridge above (which I've photographed before, at a much different time of year) has a plaque underneath it indicating that the street's name was once Forrest Avenue. Forrest was named for Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate Army figure, and, um, the first Grand Wizard of the KKK (though according to Wikipedia, he was a relatively moderate Klansman. Hooray?). Ralph McGill was a newspaper editor and ardent anti-segregationist, so I think we can all agree that it's for the best that they changed it.

McGill changes all down its route -- it begins in the east by the Carter Center, with condo complexes and hip restaurants, goes through a mixture of industrial and abandoned office buildings, then small old houses (many boarded up), then a blend of high-rises that would make Jane Jacobs puke and nicer apartment complexes, then big churches, then old buildings/poor downtown.

The above is one of the abandoned office buildings, which you probably guessed.

Even with my rare appearances on this street, I'm surprised I had never noticed this sign -- a vote in favor of walking. It's outside one of the abandoned office buildings. Ivan Allen Junior was a mayor of Atlanta (and another anti-segregationist), and in fact when McGill hits Peachtree, it turns into Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard. There was also an Ivan Allen office products company, and I'm guessing this was once the building -- then the sign was turned inside out to put some other long-gone logo on top. Both sides of the sign had this odd reversed look. The Ivan Allen company is apparently still around in some form, but I bet they've ditched this early-'60s logo, to my chagrin.

I've seen that ghostly figure (which looks like it belongs on an Integrity album) on a few abandoned doors around the city.

This one looks like it's a bit of a second cousin to our old friend on Cain Street. It stands out in a neighborhood that's mostly traditional old bungalows.

This was one of the reasons for the walk -- a small, interesting church at the corner of Piedmont and Ralph McGill. It's diagonal from the Atlanta Civic Center, an architectural monstrosity that conveys all the horror of the 1960s -- the much-smaller church is overshadowed, but far more interesting.

It's hard to tell if it's still open or not -- I suspect not. Some web searching indicates that it is/was a Methodist church, but I may be way off here. I'll get to some research at some point.

Update: yeah, former church. Inman Park Properties has it listed, with no real historical info. It suggests that the bigger building would be a good hotel, but no details on whether it actually was.

It's semi-attached to the building in the background, which similarly looks abandoned, but who knows? Some groups are listed as having addresses in that building, but it's impossible to tell if they're current or not. If anyone stumbles upon this and has information, feel free to chip in.

More of the pics over the weekend (maybe).

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