From the Archives
Rare color footage of Peachtree Street recorded in 1939.
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.
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.
Police officer randomly handing out Valentine’s Day cards on Peachtree Street in Atlanta in 1953. Mr. Peanut photobombing?
Before Dragon Con, men and women donned costumes and headed to Atlanta’s Cotton States and International Exposition. This is a sampling of photos from the Cotton States and International Exposition held at Piedmont Park from September 18 to December 31, 1895. The exposition attracted nearly 800,000 visitors and was designed to promote new products and technologies and to showcase the city and the region. The exposition also included exhibitions on art, culture, history, and education.
The Southern Railway building at the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park in October 1895.