The E. Rivers Elementary building is dead; long live E. Rivers.
They are tearing down E. Rivers Elementary again and rebuilding it again. The Atlanta Preservation Center and the PTA had a little celebration at the old building on September 7.
This a long post, there's a map at the bottom, pictures of the cornerstones next to the bottom, and a brief tour next to the next the bottom.
More than 70 people were there, perhaps 4 generations of E. Rivers students. We had a great time, not a bit of excitement but loads of memories and good cheer.
It's the only grade school on Peachtree. It's hard to see, a low-slung mid-century modern building above the Peachtree Creek flood plain. The "front door" is at 8 Peachtree Battle.
Folks of all ages trickled in from all directions.
We had a few speakers. Left: Robert Craig professor emeritus at Georgia Tech is an architectural historian and author. Center: Ellen Cody is chair of the Atlanta Preservation Center's Advocacy Committee, she helped organize the event. Right: Boyd Coons is executive director of the Atlanta Preservation Center and does everything, much of it behind the scenes.
Dr. Craig explained why the 1949 building was significant enough to be featured in Time Magazine. It was one of the very first mid-century modern schools. He said it generated many commissions for the designers/architects Stevens and Wilkinson.
Shepard Ansley (center) was a student before the fire and after the fire. He told us how it was.
"In 1948 the original stone structure burned to the ground in a furnace
fire accidentally caused by a maintenance worker in an attempt to
destroy a wasps nest. While planning and construction for the new
building was underway, classes were held at The Temple, Second Ponce de
Leon Baptist Church and Garden Hills Elementary. Even though the 7th
graders were using Garden Hills classrooms, they were still considered
to be E. Rivers students. When the new structure opened for classes in
1950, it received an architectural award for excellence in design and
was featured in Time Magazine." From the History of E. Rivers.
After the talking we wrangled everybody into group picture formation. The "classic" alumni got the front row seats.
Left: Principal Matt Rogers, Center: APC Advocacy Chair Ellen Cody.
You could sign the picture, another memento of the celebration.
Folks drifted off. This is the last such gathering at E. River's trademark drop-off awning.
The crowd finally dwindled down to me and three others. Art Colfice (left) is the superintendent for Parrish Construction. He offered us one last look. Center: Boyd Coons. Right: Beauchamp Carr, another E. Rivers alum.
So let me show you:
Classrooms have their own octagonal pad.
Classrooms line up in 3 "fingers" with green-space between. Each "finger" has classrooms on the south side, the common hall of the north side. There was no air conditioning when built but plenty of cross ventilation.
The classrooms are all the same, I think. Hall on the north (left), classroom on the south with south facing windows shaded by "mod" awnings.
The mod awnings shade the south facing windows of this classroom "finger."
I think this lion will see service in the new school building.
Functional mid-century library.
They'd cleaned up the spitballs I think.
How old are the ramrod straight longleaf pines?
The gym / auditorium / office wings are from the 1995 project. This is the music room.
This is delightful: the music room window has a balcony view of the gym. Next time you are feeling down on modern architecture - which can be pretty often - think of this.
They'd built 4 classrooms in the auditorium. The 1995 auditorium sits atop the 1995 cafeteria.
Time to say goodbye.
Let's see some cornerstones.
The 1917 cornerstone.
The 1927 cornerstones feature Hentz, Alder, & Shutze.
The 1949 cornerstone. This is the building we're tearing down.
The 1957 plaque.
The 1995 plaque.
See you at the new E. Rivers in the winter of 2015.
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