Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Happy Halloween from Oakland!

We interupt our normally scheduled Temple Tuesday AND Atlanta History Center posts to celebrate Halloween. It was Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind (1936) that got me to walk more than 2 miles from hotel for a visit.

Mitchell and her second husband, John Robert Marsh, are buried together here.

Oakland also is the final resting spot of legendary golfer Bobby Jones.

If you need a ball or two, this is the place to get them.

Country music artist Kenny Rogers is also buried here.

Fittingly, this monument is round, with the title of one his songs (recorded in 2011) inscribed above, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” Edited from the Birthplace of Country Music website:

The original version of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” was a hymn written in 1907 by Ada R. Habershon, with music by Charles H. Gabriel. The words and melody of the verses in the original hymn depart substantially from the way it is usually sung today. A. P. Carter rewrote the song when The Carter Family recorded it in 1935. The sentiment conveyed in both versions is that we have all lost loved ones, but that they have gone to a better place where we will see them again. “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” is an homage to the pioneers of country music and a salute to current artists who honor these diverse roots. The circle is unbroken because the music is handed down from generation to generation.

Below is the The Confederate Obelisk.

From the nearby signage:

The Atlanta Ladies Memorial Association (ALMA) formed in 1866 with a purpose to “preserve and foster the memory of our Confederate Dead.” The federal government did not fund Confederate burials after the war. Volunteer groups, often organized by women, assumed responsibility for Confederate burials and commemoration. Their efforts shaped public memorialization of the Confederate dead and the Confederate cause for future generations. ALMA arranged for the interment of unknown soldiers at Oakland and commissioned two monuments, the Confederate Obelisk and the Lion of Atlanta. The 65' tall Confederate Obelisk is made of Stone Mountain granite. ALMA laid the cornerstone in 1870 on the day of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s funeral. The obelisk ranked among the city’s tallest structures when completed. Roughly 15,000 people, almost half of Atlanta’s population, attended the dedication ceremony on Confederate Memorial Day, April 26, 1874. The obelisk became a gathering place for future Confederate Memorial Day ceremonies.

At the bottom of the signage contains this paragraph titled, “The Struggle for Equality”:

As white Southerners built monuments to honor their dead, African Americans continued to fight for their civil rights. From 1865 to 1870, three amendments to the Constitution (the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments) were ratified in an effort to establish freedom and political equality for African Americans. State Laws and federal court decisions weakened the power of these amendments. In 1896, the Supreme Court upheld racial segregation laws in Plessy v. Ferguson. The segregation of public spaces, including Oakland, continued until the early 1960s.

Plessy v. Ferguson was a case from 1896 that upheld a Louisiana state law that allowed for “equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races.” From the archives.gov website:

With the cooperation of the East Louisiana Railroad, on June 7, 1892, Homer Plessy, a mulatto (7/8 white), seated himself in a white compartment, was challenged by the conductor, and was arrested and charged with violating the state law. In the Criminal District Court for the Parish of Orleans, Tourgée argued that the law requiring “separate but equal accommodations” was unconstitutional. When Judge John H. Ferguson ruled against him, Plessy applied to the State Supreme Court for a writ of prohibition and certiorari. Although the court upheld the state law, it granted Plessy’s petition for a writ of error that would enable him to appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

The lone dissent in the vote came from Kentuckian Justice John Marshall Harlan, who wrote, “I am of the opinion that the statute of Louisiana is inconsistent with the personal liberties of citizens, white and black, in that State, and hostile to both the spirit and the letter of the Constitution of the United States. If laws of like character should be enacted in the several States of the Union, the effect would be in the highest degree mischievous.”

There were a number of mausoleums at Oakland, including the one for William Allen Rawson, who died at age 68.

Inside you can see this beautiful stained glass detail.

My obsession with cemeteries also has to do with the expressive statuary that you can find in these historic burial grounds.

The moss and decay add to the feeling of “living history,” as nature continues to erode away what once was living. Nothing lasts forever, including these monuments to the dead.

Happy Halloween to all who celebrate! I hope you enjoyed this tour of Atlanta’s historic cemetery. See more Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta photos at my main website.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Trip to Atlanta, Pt. 3

One of the things I was most excited to see in Atlanta was the Civil War Cyclorama located in the History Center. During my 2007 visit, it was located in Grant Park (see photo below).

The Atlanta History Center offered a rich diversity of exhibits, from the expected to the unexpected. A vintage Coca-Cola bottle definitely fits into the former category.

The display has the originator listed as Dr. John C. Pemberton; Wikipedia has him as John Stith Pemberton. It was pointed out by one of the Conference speakers that Pemberton invented Coca-Cola in Columbus, Georgia, and then brought it to Atlanta. It would appear that the AHC goofed; there is also a John Clifford Pemberton who fought in the Civil War, but he had nothing to do with Coca-Cola. Oops.

Below: Ku Klux Klan Drumhead, circa 1915. From the accompanying display blurb:

The popular film, “The Birth of a Nation,” and the Leo Frank trial inspired Atlantan William J. Simmons to re-establish the Ku Klux Klan. Although the white supremacist group existed in several forms since Reconstruction, the revived Klan was also anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic, and anti-immigrant. On Thanksgiving night, Simmons and 16 other men climbed Stone Mountain and lit a cross proclaiming the Klan’s rebirth. Klan members routinely rallied at Stone Mountain throughout the 20th century.

Leo Frank was convicted in 1913 of the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan, in Atlanta. Frank's trial, conviction, and appeals garnered national attention. He was kidnapped from prison and lynched two years later, in response to the commutation of his death sentence. The new governor vowed to punish the lynchers, but nobody was charged. After Frank's lynching, around half of Georgia's 3,000 Jews left the state. Modern researchers generally agree that Frank was wrongly convicted and Jim Conley was likely the actual murderer. He was posthumously granted a pardon in 1986.

(Below) A reproduction of an original seat from the Fox Theatre, circa 1992.

On December 25, 1929, Atlanta opened a new Christmas present, The Fox Theatre. The ornate building was designed as headquarters for the Yaarab Temple, the local organization of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, commonly known as the Shriners. Soon after construction began, the Shriners realized the project exceeded their budget. They negotiated a deal with movie magnate William Fox, who leased the auditorium as a motion picture theater and named it for himself.

The photo below shows a display about the 1961 integration of African American students in Atlanta. From Atlanta Magazine:

On the morning of August 30, 1961, nine African American students headed for the first day of classes at four all-white Atlanta high schools. They were shadowed by hundreds of reporters, dozens of police officers, and crowds of parents, politicians, and onlookers. At the end of the day, unlike scenes in other Southern cities that resisted desegregation, Atlanta was peaceful. Like so much of Atlanta’s carefully burnished image, the good PR was the result of pragmatic behind-the-scenes efforts. Although the 1961 APS integration did not result in the violence of Little Rock or chaos of New Orleans, it arrived a full seven years after the Brown v. Board ruling, and only because of a court order (Georgia segregationists tried to shut down public schools entirely rather than integrate). The peaceful integration was the result of months of planning by OASIS (Organizations Assisting Schools in September), a biracial coalition of four dozen community groups. OASIS volunteers organized “house meetings” in which facilitators fielded questions from parents, using workbooks covering topics that ranged from the obvious (“must Atlanta desegregate?”) to the offensive (“will desegregation result in increased health problems?”) to the racially phobic (“will school desegregation lead to intermarriage?”). The real heroes of the day were the nine teenagers who entered the hostile territory of those four high schools, and their bravery was largely greeted with silence. Mary McMullen Francis, who integrated Grady High School, told Atlanta magazine four decades later that no one asked her how her day went, and no one talked about her experience. “Even in my own community, it was as if it never happened. The city made it known that nobody wanted you to talk about it.”

Not only does the photo look extremely staged, but the sad look on the student’s face betrays the positive press that the event generated.

Although I didn’t get my hair cut at the History Center, I did visit its Barbershop display.

Eli Sotto arrived in Atlanta in 1953 with little more than his skills as a barber…A Greek Jew, Sotto was the sole member of his family to survive the Holocaust. He says that luck and Nazi commanders who wanted a good haircut saved him. The barbershop that Sotto opened on Peachtree Street…served mayors, businessmen, and the “man on the street.”…He retired in 2014, at age 90.

Below: Hebrew Benevolent Congregation Temple Fragment.

On October 12, 1958, an explosion rocked the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation, Atlanta’s oldest synagogue. Memories of the Leo Frank lynching over 40 years before resurfaced. The city’s progressive image faced a severe threat. The first bombing suspect who was tried belonged to the Confederate Underground, a white supremacist group. Despite considerable evidence, he was acquitted. Though authorities dropped charges against four other defendants, thousands sent letters and telegrams expressing solidarity with the Jewish community. When Mayor William B. Hartsfield stood in the rubble beside Rabbi Jacob Rothschild to condemn the attack, the Jewish Atlantans felt that the city had made considerable progress since the Frank case.

Below: White Ruffle Dress worn by Cindy Wilson of the B-52’s, who were formed in Athens, Georgia in 1976.

Below: Stadium Seat, Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, 1970.

Below: The Atlanta Crackers, one of the most successful minor league franchises in baseball history. Photo is from 1950.

A Crackers Jersey, circa 1956, along with a pair of Buck Riddle’s (first baseman) cleats.

Still more to see from the History Center!

See more Atlanta History Center photos at my main website.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Trip to Atlanta, Pt. 2

Buckhead is a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, with lots of high-rise hotels, shops, and restaurants. While the majority of it feels a bit overdeveloped and devoid of charm, there are still a few cool places to check out. At the intersection of Peachtree, Roswell, and Paces Ferry, you will find Charlie Loudermilk Park. Good old Charlie stands guard there thanks to a life-sized bronze sculpture by Don and Tina Haugen. It was originally unveiled in 2011 to commemorate Charlie’s 84th birthday and put in storage until the park area was renovated. Who is Charlie Loudermilk? Edited from his August 4, 2022 obituary:

Atlanta businessman and philanthropist Charles Loudermilk died at age 95 following complications from a stroke, according to his family. Loudermilk is perhaps best known as the founder of furniture and appliance rental store Aaron’s, which he opened in 1955. According to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Aaron’s was started with $500 and grew into a company that produces $2 billion in revenue each year. As his business grew, so did Loudermilk’s contributions to charity. He donated more than $35 million to various organizations and institutions, including the Atlanta Food Bank, Covenant House, and the University of North Carolina. He would later serve as chairman of the MARTA board of directors.

The 55' high clock/bell tower was designed by Harrison Design Architects and was part of a ribbon cutting ceremony on March 31, 2015 when the new Park was opened to the public.

The Buckhead Theatre originally opened June 2, 1930 with “Gold Diggers of Broadway,” the second two-color Technicolor/all-talking feature.

The theatre was designed by local architecture firm Daniell & Beutell in the Spanish Baroque style.

As I was walking to the Atlanta History Center, this Tommy Bronx mural for Pepper Boxing caught my eye.

I can only imagine how difficult it was to paint over the brick surface. It really is an incredible piece.

Near my hotel you can find historic Peachtree Park, a residential neighborhood with approximately 550 homes that dates back to 1915. It is a quiet oasis nestled amongst the malls, hotels, and offices.

Recess was a delicious choice for dinner one night; it serves food that “…makes you feel good and won’t slow you down.” The Buckhead location is one of two in Atlanta.

As you all know, dinner is just an excuse for dessert, and Jeni’s Ice Creams was recommended to me by the Atlanta History Center.

The waffle cone was delicious, with just the right amount of salty to offset the creamy goodness of the mint choccolate chip ice cream!

Lunch between sessions one day was at North Italia, which was selected despite being a chain (I do attempt to avoid chain restaurants when traveling.)

The bolognese was tasty though, and the ambiance of the restaurant once inside is like that of a neighborhood trattoria. I did get some flack for taking the shot of the exterior signage, though. Just as I was about to leave the parking lot (on foot), an imposing mall cop (with backup on a bicycle no less) stopped me and barked out that photography was not allowed. She proceeded to tell me that I would need to leave the premises. I informed her that was exactly what I was already in the process of doing before she stopped me to relay that information. I guess she earned her pay that day for that one. Carry on, Ma’am.

The one major disappointment of Buckhead was that the Buckhead Diner where I had dined on two previous trips was no longer open.

Next up: The Atlanta History Center!

See more Buckhead photos at my main website.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Temple Tuesday: Winkie's Visitors

Shirley Temple rated “Wee Willie Winkie” (1937) as her best film, mainly because of the experience she had making it with director John Ford (above). From her autobiography Child Star:

Of all my films I rate “Wee Willie Winkie” the best, but for all the wrong reasons. It was best because of its manual of arms, the noisy marching around in military garb with brass buttons, my kilts bouncing. It was best because of daredevil stunts with snipers and stampeding horses. It was also best because I finally seemed to earn the professional respect of someone so blood-and-thunder macho as Ford. Best of all, the watery-blue color of my portable dressing room had been repainted in regimental red.

Many stars visited the top box office draw of the day during the filming of “Winkie,” including Sir Harry Lauder, who was an internationally famous Scottish performer. He was the first music hall performer to be knighted. As his 1950 obituary stated, “His jokes were sly, but always clean, his sentiment naive, but irresistible. His songs are still classics in their field.” His most famous songs included “Roamin’ in the Gloamin’”and “I Love a Lassie.” By the time he visited Shirley’s home on May 26, 1937, wearing Scottish Traditional Dressing, he had already been retired for two years. Accompanying him (but not in this photo) was his niece, Greta Lauder.

During the visit, he signed Shirley’s autograph book (shown below), which later sold for $8,000 in 2015. Lauder did perform again briefly during World War II to entertain the troops.

Bill Robinson also visited his good friend Shirley. At the time, he was in costume for the movie “Cafe Metropole,” filming a dance sequence that would ultimately be deleted (which you can view in my previous post).

Hollywood gossip columnist Jimmie Fidler (below) also dropped by to see Shirley. It would appear he signed her autograph book as well. Edited from the Old Time Radio Catalog website:

Fidler had several radio “columns” that featured his trademarks. His reports were punctuated with a Morse-code like beeping; he often featured “open letters” to the stars and studios, berating them for some behavior or practice; Jimmy Fidler pulled no punches when reviewing a movie, giving four bells for those he liked and calling a one bell performance a real stinkeroo; he made reports from notes in his little black book, supposedly gathered by a network of spies around Hollywood; and he closed his broadcasts with an often parodied Good night to you, and I do mean you!” Jimmy Fidler was thought to be in the shadows of gossip columnists like Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons, but he was generally more feared by the studios because he was more brazen in his reporting. There is a story that he once scooped Louella Parsons, the undisputed Queen of the Gossip columnists, on a scandalous incident concerning Clark Gable in November, 1935. Parsons was so embarrassed over being scooped that she lied about it in her autobiography. Jimmie Fidler is honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to Radio at 6128 Hollywood Blvd.

Fidler was also sued (unsuccessfully) for libel by actress Constance Bennett. Victor McLaglen yucks it up between takes with his diminutive costar. 

Hollywood tough McLaglen was born in Great Britain, and first achieved fame as a wrestler and heavyweight boxer in Canada. He was spotted in a sporting club by a British film producer and picked to play a boxer in “The Call of the Road” (1920). He moved to Hollywood in 1925, where he became typecast playing Irish drunks. Signed by Fox, he also became a frequent star in the films of John Ford, including “Mother Machree” (1928), “Strong Boy” (1929), “The Black Watch” (1929), and “The Informer” (1935), for which he won the Best Actor Oscar. It was supposedly because of McLaglen (and its large budget) that enticed John Ford to take on “Wee Willie Winkie.” While initially dismissive of Shirley, she worked hard to please him and the two became close friends. He later became godfather to her daughter, Susan.

And those are just a few of the celebrities that visited Shirley during the filming of “Wee Willie Winkie”!

See more Shirley Temple photos at my main website.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Trip to Atlanta, Pt. 1

Just when you thought I had disappeared, here I am back, recently returned from the UCDA (University & College Designers Association) Conference in Atlanta, Georgia at the InterContinental Buckhead hotel.

I really do hate flying from the west coast to the east; with the three-hour time difference and a plane change, by the time I arrived an entire day is shot. The hotel was beautiful though, so I had that going for me!

Not necessarily my vibe, but I do appreciate the look of it.

The art was amazing, including this painting which “melted” off the canvas and spilled over onto the walls. Nice touch!

Interesting sculpture pieces throughout…

The room was spacious, comfortable, and clean. My home for the next few days!

The only thing on my agenda was to have an early dinner (we’re talking Senior Citizen time) and then crash. On my last visit to Atlanta, I had enjoyed dinner at the Southe City Kitchen restaurant in midtown Atlanta.

Right across the street from the hotel was the Buckhead location. Say no more.

I had a table out on the patio with a view.

The Fried Green Tomatoes melted in my mouth. They were DELICIOUS!

For my entrée, I selected the Springer Mountain Farms Fried Chicken. Good choice #2.

The Chocolate Chess Tart was good choice #3.

I was in bed by 7pm, which made it easier for an early morning swim.

The hotel’s pool was gigantic; perfect for laps.

Since my sessions didn’t begin until later in the day, I ventured off with my camera to Buckhead.

More on that coming up!

See more Atlanta photos at my main website.