From the Archives
Rare color footage of Peachtree Street recorded in 1939.
From the Archives: Civil War Letter
Camp Dog River Near Mobile Ala
March 5th 1864
My Own Dear Julia,
Your favor of the 25th Feby was received a few days since and I was truly glad to hear from you and that you was all well. I wrote you by Mr Queen a few days since which I suppose you have received ‘ere this. My health is good with the exception of a sore throat some signs of dipthera. It has been hurting me for 3 days. But hope I will get better in a few days. Capt Harden will carry this to Atlanta as he has to return to NC to file his bond and attend to some business at Raleigh for the Regt. I am sending by him for some cloth + instructed him to leave it at Atlanta. He has got me to hold on the Q M Office untill he returns which will be about 40 days. I will get $40 a month extra until I turn the property over to him that is from the time he got his appointment the (10th Decr). I do not know when I can get orders or a furlough. I will try when he returns. I was sorry to hear that you was left alone again, but I expect it was all for the best. If Ma does not work too hard she is getting good wages. They have advanced the prices of provisions on us so heavy that the wages I get will not more than keep me up. Rest assured I will do all I can for my little Family but you will see my chance is bad when they charge us 240 ct pr lb for pork + other things in proportion. Ese all the econemy you can + make all the Garden you can.
Mr Queen told me if you needed anything to let him know. His business House is the old barracks building. The firm is Wilburn Taylor Queen + Co. Dr. Taylor is his partner I think. I would be glad you would get acquainted with his Family. They live in the Grove back of Mrs Howards. Oh, Julia you have no idea how glad I was to hear your old acquaintance had called to see you again not withstanding she was rather late in paying her visit but better late than never. You will see from my last letter that I had despared of her calling soon. She has got on very good terms with me. We have cause to be very thankful that things are working on so well. Is it not very strange that she is so punctual. She has never been so kind before. Perhaps she thinks it is war time and the Ladies need all the help thy can get. I hope I may be spared to see you often + her occasionly as long as I have to stay in the service. It is very hard for me to be seperated from such friends, but we must contend and do the best we can + try + put up with such disappointments. I am doing a little better than I did a few days ago, but still their is an aching void at times. Some times I get vexed to think that I cannot have better control of my feelings but a mans mind passions + characteristic and will have their way, in spite of him. When I think what a Kind Wife I have + how affectionate + loveing she is and how devoted I love her + our offsprings how else could I be than to love her society and the affectionate embrace + loveing Kiss that I have received so often, during the last 8 years. all these things make me with + pray to be with her again + so stay during life. Oh I do hope Peace will soon be restored and all our Soldiers be allowed to go home once more and not have to carry a furlough with them that soon notifies them their time is out and they must soon return to their commands or be considered a deserter. our cause seems to be prospering and I hope the Yankees will soon see the error of their way + come to terms of peace + compromise.
I have just finished washing my self + put on clean clothes and sit down to finish my letter as Capt H. will start soon in the morning. I will write to William in a few days. I am at a loss to know what to do in his case. in the first place I do not know whether I can effect the swap or Transfer. it is rather a difcult matter and I am fearful he would not act right, but I hope he would act the Gentleman as he was so near related to me. but I will give it a trial. I was glad to hear Capt Mount had called to see you and I am sorry that I did not get an extension so I could have went with him to get that safe out from Murphy but it is out of my power. I am here + cannot get away easy, but I think I can get orders when Capt Harden returns. if not I perhaps will get off sometime during the Summer. I am more anxious to go back home than I had any idea I would in so short a time. all we want now is for every Man to come out + do his part + we will soon be free but their is such a great disposition on the part of so many to work them selves out of service that is causes thos that will bear the burthen to have to remain that much longer. I Love my Family perhaps as devotedly as any man + would be as glad to be at home, but at the same time I want to see my country free from Yankee Tyranny and that cannot be don by staying at home. we must endure toil dangers + many of us sacrafise our lives before it is accomplished. I know it would be hard on his Family but tell me the difference betwen my Wife + Her and evry Soldier in the same condition and I have never discoverd any great amount of charity in him to my Family or any other Family but a great Thirst for the allmity Dollar, but I have nothing to say if he is not able to do duty. so their has been another change in the Hall + the Atlanta Hotel. thy change their base pretty often. My Throat is much better to day. it hurt me a great deal last night. we are all in good health. the weather is vry pleasant and we are doing as well as most soldiers that is thos that do not visit Saint Michael Street famous for the great number of Fancy Women. I never have seen so much Ludeness in all my Life but I dont patronize them my self – I think too much of that little Lady at home even if I was corrupt enough to visit such places.
I believe I have written all I can think of. Give my Love to Ma Sister Jennie + Mr P. an last though not least the children. tell them Pa often thinks of them and wishes he could be with them.
Let me hear from you as often as you can. I must close by subscribing my-self as ever your devoted and affectionate Husband.
Five (More) Beautiful Buildings Atlanta Destroyed
Fulton County Courthouse
Built in 1881 at the corner of Hunter Street (now Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive) and Pryor Street, the county’s second courthouse building was designed by the architectural firm of Perkins & Bruce. It was demolished in 1911 to make way for a new courthouse at the same location.
Located on Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta, the Howard Theater opened December 13, 1920. It was designed by the architectural firm of Hentz, Reid & Adler and decorated by W. E. Browne. In 1930, the name changed to the Paramount Theater. The building was demolished in 1960 and replaced with a building which was also demolished. Today the site is empty.
The Peachtree Arcade, Atlanta’s first enclosed shopping mall, was designed by A. Ten Eyck Brown and was completed in 1917. It featured Beaux-Arts style facades that opened onto both Peachtree and Broad Streets. Inside, the building featured a three-tiered corridor of shops covered by an iron and glass ceiling. The building was demolished in 1964 to make way for the First National Bank of Atlanta (now the State of Georgia Building).
Grand Opera House
The Grand Opera House was built on Peachtree Street in 1893 by Laurent DeGive as a larger and more elaborate successor to the DeGive Opera House located on the corner of Marietta and Forsyth Streets. The Grand came under the management of Marcus Loew’s Theater organization in 1916. In 1932, in order to compete with movie theaters, the Loew’s Grand Theater was renovated by architect Thomas W. Lamb. The one screen theater had 2088 seats. The theater was the site of the movie premiere of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind in 1939. The theater closed in 1977 and caught fire January 30, 1978. The damage led to the demolition of the historic venue. The Georgia-Pacific Tower occupies the site today.
1895 Cotton States and International Exposition Buildings
The Cotton States and International Exposition was an event that took place during the fall of 1895 in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park. The Exposition was meant to foster trade between southern states and South American nations and to exhibit the resources of the region to the world. Most of the buildings constructed for the exposition were meant to be temporary and were demolished after the exposition concluded and sold for scrap. In 1904, the city of Atlanta purchased Piedmont Park from the Piedmont Park Exposition Company and extended the city limits north to include the park.
From the Archives: Civil War Letter
Atlanta Ga Feb 25th 1864
My Dear Husband
Yours of the 20th was received this morning + I leave you to imagine my joy for I have been expecting a letter for several days. You did indeed have a rough time getting back. And so you are at Mobile I expected you would be there as I heard our army had fallen back. Capt Mount called on me last Monday hoping to hear from you. he informed me that Adjt Harden had gone on. I suppose you are now relieved from duty what will you do now your compay [sic] has gone + you are alone? Capt requested me to write you + say that he advises you put in an application for orders to go to NC where you Co. is to recruit it, not a furlough (you have just had one) but orders to recruit your Co. which is now in NC. he says he could have procured you the same number of days that he got if you had written to him. Swepson has offered him nearly two thousand dollars to bring an iron safe + some other things out from Murphy he says if you will go + assist him he will divide the proffits [sic]. I saw Swepson’s letter to Mount he was in hopes you was here + would go up with him he wishes you to write him at La Place. Well I suppose if you do not get your furlough now you will get it sometimes. Mount says if you try to get it now be certain + not try for a furlough but to recruit as you have just had a furlough. Mount seems to be a vry [sic] agreeable gentleman. I was sorry I was not fixed up a little better I was not expecting company + was rather in dishabille. nevertheless the time passed quite pleasantly he is to be back in a few days, is having clothes made well Johny I am all alone again Ma has gone to the Atlanta Hotel they are to give her $125.one hundred + twenty five dollars pr month she thought it was more than she could make at home I was sory [sic] to part with her, but I knew it was vry [sic] good wages for her + was not so confining she went the 18th she has not so hard a time as at the Hall. I am trying to do the best I can. I have some sewing on hands + can get more.
Mr. P. has closed his door since the passage of the new currency bill he has discontinued his business. he has been trying for a week or more to get another house has not yet succeeded. he has been very much unsettled in mind of late for fear he would be taken up + sent off but Jeny told me today that it was all arranged for him to go into the printing office so I hope his tun [sic] will change now + we will hear something else now from him except how he is to keep out of service. Mrs Bradly is here. she is going to move to Greensboro Ga where he has charge of a hospital. She came to see me. They are fighting at Dalton, troops are going back up the road. There was a collission [sic] on the road today. a lady + child killed + two men crippled. You know Johny I was expecting a friend of mine when you left. she did not come as I hopes she would, + oh how I grieved to think she had dissapointed [sic] me, that you had said or done some thing which had offended her when she was here before. alas twas useless to grieve. I thought to myself that I had paid dear for the pleasure of your society for a few weeks, and that price was a great deal of future suffering + mental anxiety. how foolish a woman is to bring upon herself so much of suffering + perhaps death when she can avoid it. but of Johny rejoice with me + I know you will. she did come after two weeks of suspense (on the 22) + don’t you know I was glad to see her. she is with me now but will leave soon so make yourself easy on that score until I see you again. I forgot to tell you Sasseen has sold out his entire interest in the Hall for a year + twenty months to Whitaker + Jones. Woodruff has also sold his interest to Henderson. Mrs W. is very anxious to get away as he Mr W has begin to tea tolerable strong although a member of church. We received a letter from Billy yesterdy [sic] he is in Va. enclosed you will find a few lines from him. he is anxious to get with you. he says is still determined to get a divorce. she is still in the place. it’s now known what she is doing. Well Johny you must write soon + give me all the information you can whether you will come back soon or not. Mount said he expected Col C would put you in the Adjt’s place until Lt Bristol get back. indeed if they did not agree to give you some extra pay for your services + Q M as other acting drew pay. I would contend for it. if they do not pay it over to you they will keep it themselves for who is there to pay it to + if Col. wanted me to act as Adjt I would not unless he would agree to pay me unless he has already given the place to Bristol. then of course he will draw the pay. you have worked for other peoples benefit too much for your own good at the expense of your self + family. Well Johny I do not advise you. I know you will always do what is right but remember whatever you do that you have a family at home dependent on you. study their welfare at all times. We are all tolerable well at present. all of us has had vry [sic] bad colds. Hetty coughs some yet – I suffered a good deal and for two days – Jeny is as fat as ever. Mount said they had been some fighting in NC. The Feds were making their way to Asheville + were driven back to Franklin I think. I suppose they are still fighting at Dalton. of I pray we may be successful. I am heartily tired of this bloodshed + pray how soon it may cease. I must close. Please excuse this as I have written in a great hurry + I promise to do better next time. I have not time now to write you a long letter but will. Please direct to Atlanta Hotel in future. Writ to Capt Mount at La Place as he desires + let him know whether you can get off or not. I will send this by Lt Moss when he comes. Jenny + Mr P. send love to you also Ma. good bye dear Husband write soon as I am anxious to hear from you again. do not forget to write soon soon soon. the children send love to you.
Your devoted + ever-loving wife
Your must write to Billy. he did not say where to direct but I suppose to Richmond.
Five Beautiful Buildings Atlanta Destroyed
Atlanta has an unfortunate tendency to pave over her history in the name of progress. Because of this tendency, we’ve lost some truly remarkable structures. We wanted to take a look back at some of those losses, so we decided to ask Atlanta History Center staff members to name five of Atlanta’s most significant casualties.
Atlanta Terminal Station
Located on Spring Street, Atlanta’s Terminal Station was designed by P. Thornton Marye, whose firm also designed the Fox Theater. Completed in 1905, the Beaux-Arts style reinforced concrete structure was razed in 1971. A portion of the site is now occupied by the Richard B. Russell Federal Building.
Atlanta’s Equitable Building was designed by John Wellborn Root and was completed in 1892. Built in the Chicago School style, it was considered Atlanta’s first skyscraper. Located on Edgewood Avenue, the structure was demolished in 1971 because some felt it blocked the view of the new Trust Company building constructed nearby.
The Second Kimball House
After the first Kimball House burned in 1883, a second Kimball House opened for business on New Year’s Day in 1885. Located on the south-southeast corner of Five Points, the impressive structure was demolished in 1959 to make way for a parking deck which still stands.
U.S. Customs House
Located on Marietta Street, Atlanta’s U.S. Post Office and Customs House opened in 1878. The structure was used as Atlanta City Hall from 1911 to 1930 when it was demolished.
Located on Peachtree Street, the Piedmont Hotel was built in 1903. Designed by W. F. Denny, architect of Rhodes Hall and the Kriegshaber House (now Wrecking Ball Brewpub), the hotel was demolished in the 1960s to make way for the Equitable Building.
From the Archives: Civil War Letter
Camp near Mobile Feby 20th 1864
My Dear Wife
I arrived here yesterday morning never had so much bad luck in my life finding my command. I arrived at montgomery 10½ oclock the night after I left you + remained till midnight the next night arrived at Selma the next day staid untill [sic] next day, then to the Tombigbee River and remained thr [sic] waiting for a train as all the rolling stock was below removeing [sic] the Government stores Saturday morning I took a freight train to Cuba Station 20 miles above Meridian and their I found that would be no more trains to Meridian + in company with several others we started a foot in Sunday morning went 5 miles + heard our Brigade had gon [sic] to Mobile + that the wagon train was makeing [sic] its way to Demopolis by way of Moscow. I got of [sic] the train 6 miles from Moscow took it afoot + arrived their + found no wagon train as we learned thy [sic] was crossing 15 miles below so we staid [sic] all night in a school House + a Gentleman had provisions cooked + sent too us nex [sic] morning we walked 15 miles to Demopolis tired hungry + out money I yet had some bread + cakes, but that I had to lay out in the woods (Tuesday night) and I can assure you it was vry [sic] cold + I had no blanket + I can assure you I sufferd [sic] with cold + thought of home, + [wet –word struck out] wished more than once that I was at home with wife + little ones. next morning I was walking about over town with my Knap sack on my back + accidentally met with Capt Weaver who told me my command was at this City + I told him my situation + he gave me $50.00 and Gnl Forney ordered me here so I + Sgt Livingston of our Regt took Steamer Virginia on Wednesday morning to the mouth of the Tombigbee + then up the Alabama untill we met the St Charles at 8 oclock on Thursday night when we took back down the River I got a good bunk + next morning at 8 oclock we landed at Mobile + walk out to camps 6 miles + found the Boys as black as negros from pine smoke thy [sic] tell me I will soon be in the same condition we are encamped on Dog River 2 or 3 miles from the Bay, so I can assure you I have passed through rough times + places I am here on foot + must walk back to the City this morning to carry this letter as Joseph Queen of Atlanta said he would take this letter to you. The Feds came so sudenly [sic] with such force our army had to retreat vry [sic] rapidly, and all confusion. I understand thy [sic] are makeing [sic] a stand at Demopolis. evry thing is quiet here. a few big Guns are heard in the direction of Fort Morgan, but it is uncertain when their will be another move. my Trunk + beding [sic] is all safe. I havent examined my Trunk to see if evrything [sic] is correct. Julia I left the end of my sword the Ferrel please get Lt Moss to bring it also my heavy shoes. Grees them well + put them up in paper so they will not Greese Lt’s things and if their is any thing else get him to bring it also. my health is tolerable good I have a bad cold from exposure but I hope to be better in a short time. I hope we will move from here soon to where we can get Oak wood to burn we get so black + it will not wash off. write me soon give my Love to Ma, Bro. J.E + Jennie. compliments to all the friends. Kiss the Children for me also little Hettie. I believe I have wrote evry [sic] thing if you see James Fair tell him the wagon train is at Demopolis and I am unable yet to give him an answer about the wagon’s. excuse haste write soon. Good morning Dear Julia
Your Affectionate Husband
J. M. Davidson
Direct to Mobile Ala care of Col. Coleman 29th NC Regt