My Downtown Atlanta Friday

Top, left: I love how often I see bicyclists on Downtown streets now. It was a rare sight up until a couple of years ago.

Top, right: Watching the new GSU law school building rise up, it’s becoming apparent how much it will change the view from Woodruff Park. It will add a new architectural style to the existing diversity in the skyline.

Bottom: My building had it’s seasonal progressive party tonight, where three units open up to host guests for 45 minutes each. It’s always fun. We’ve lived in a couple of intown neighborhoods before this one and Downtown has the best neighbors. I took this pic from the 13th floor.

The Goat Farm Arts Center, Atlanta

Tucked away near the freight rail lines of northwest Atlanta, the Goat Farm Arts Center is an incredible spot filled with nature, decaying factory buildings, animals and — most importantly — art.

You can read about the history of the site here. In a nutshell: a cotton-gin factory was built here in the 1880s and it remained active into the early 20th century; during World War II, the site was used to manufacture ammunition and mortars.  

A Creative Loafing article from 2010 tells the story of the site’s conversion to an arts space by Robert Haywood, who purchased it in the 1970s and who was: “a drawling, likeable character who fiercely guarded his property — and, by extension, the privacy of the up-and-coming sculptors, musicians, painters and photographers who flocked to its studio spaces.”

I visited this week to see a very cool monthly show called Natural Selection that features comedy, theater, poetry readings, music and more from a variety of Atlanta artists. Don’t let the decayed exteriors of the buildings fool you; the interior performance area was decked out with lights, sound, stage — all the necessities.

While I was there I took a few snaps of the property, including an amazing art piece composed of file cabinets, and the view of Downtown and the freight rail tracks leading to it. 

EDIT: I received an email letting me know that the wonderful filing cabinet piece is the work of artist David Baerwalde.

"The appeal of autonomous cars carries the risk of adding to urban sprawl and pollution as they may encourage commuters to travel farther to work…“U.S. history shows that anytime you make driving easier, there seems to be this inexhaustible desire to live further from things” [says Ken Laberteaux, senior principal scientist for Toyota North America]"

Automated Cars May Boost Fuel Use, Toyota Scientist Says | Bloomberg.com, Jul 16, 2014

Pink and blue sky at sunrise this morning, Atlanta
Also: here are a few interesting urbanism links from this week for your reading pleasure
Interesting: Toronto’s past experience with car-sprawl and new trend toward walkable places is similar to Atlanta’s
Coming Soon: An Atlanta with Cooperating Transit? 
What’s the best formula for creating a bike friendly city?
The Hurt Building, Edgewood Avenue, Downtown Atlanta
What a great photo! This comes from natlanta. It shows the flatiron-shaped Hurt Building on Edgewood Avenue. In 1913, when this 17-story early skiyscraper was built, it was said to be the 17th largest office building in the world.  
It was designed by J. Edwin R. Carpenter, a Paris-trained architect who later designed over 50 apartment buildings in Manhattan, and also the Lincoln Building on 42nd Street. 
In this photo, I like that you can just make out the hanging wire for the upcoming (one hopes, anyway — it’s been delayed so much) Atlanta Streetcar. Edgewood Avenue was, in fact, the site of Atlanta’s first electric streetcar line in 1889. It was operated by a group of Atlanta notables including businessman Joel Hurt — the namesake of this building — who intended the cars to reach Inman Park, which Hurt himself designed and developed as the city’s first streetcar suburb. 

The Hurt Building, Edgewood Avenue, Downtown Atlanta

What a great photo! This comes from natlanta. It shows the flatiron-shaped Hurt Building on Edgewood Avenue. In 1913, when this 17-story early skiyscraper was built, it was said to be the 17th largest office building in the world.  

It was designed by J. Edwin R. Carpenter, a Paris-trained architect who later designed over 50 apartment buildings in Manhattan, and also the Lincoln Building on 42nd Street. 

In this photo, I like that you can just make out the hanging wire for the upcoming (one hopes, anyway — it’s been delayed so much) Atlanta Streetcar. Edgewood Avenue was, in fact, the site of Atlanta’s first electric streetcar line in 1889. It was operated by a group of Atlanta notables including businessman Joel Hurt — the namesake of this building — who intended the cars to reach Inman Park, which Hurt himself designed and developed as the city’s first streetcar suburb. 

"Parking spaces create heat islands and sources of polluted stormwater runoff. They hollow out cities and divide neighborhoods. They are significant generators of emissions, accounting for as much as 12 percent of energy consumption and greenhouse gases, and at least 24 percent of other emissions."

How Parking Spaces Are Eating Our Cities Alive | Citylab

Road Trip: Historic Downtown, Carrollton, GA

I’m determined to eventually visit all the historic downtown districts of Georgia’s cities. I’ve seen many already, but my to-do list is still large.

This weekend we visited the lovely downtown of Carrollton, about 50 miles west of Atlanta. They’ve done a good job of preserving the old buildings and providing nice sidewalks and crosswalks for pedestrians. We saw a couple of people on bikes, too.

If you’re ever here for a visit, I recommend Gallery Row Coffee, pictured at top, above. It’s a really nice place.

There are some beautiful old homes along the streets that connect directly to the downtown district — which is something that I’m always happy to see, since there are a lot of old cities that have huge gulfs of highway infrastructure or parking lots that separate the historic commercial districts from homes.

Next up on my list is Milledgeville. If you have suggestions for things to see there — or for little-known historic cities in Georgia to visit — let me know!