Sunday, March 11, 2012

We did the first Guided Walking Tour of the Ponce de Leon Corridor

Peachtree Street, Auburn Avenue, Paces Ferry, and Ponce de Leon are Atlanta's iconic streets. But Ponce has an attitude. It goes "out" without makeup. It's a street where perfectly upright folks can be proud of sleaze. It's an historic street but not a museum piece. It survives by being used and being used hard.

I joined a crowd yesterday to tour some of Ponce, the first such tour by the Atlanta Preservation Center, the first tour of the 2012 Phoenix Flies.

It's a big street that can make you feel kind-of small. Ponce de Leon remains an important street but not a prestigious address. He we are walking east on the north side.
"...explore one of Atlanta's most diverse avenues. Delve through the many layers of history that make Ponce de Leon Avenue a rich cultural treasure as we view and visit sites that have attracted visitors since the 19th century. Experience the crossroads where Atlanta's social and economic classes have overlapped, exposing Atlanta's struggles while at the same time creating a robust and unique culture that defines our city." - Atlanta Preservation Center
It's a big street and we strolled a bit of it on Saturday.

Paul Hammock, APC's Director of Education, led the tour doing a professional job. WABE recorded it for a future project.

Paul began the tour from the Paris on Ponce loading dock.

The Ford Factory wasn't a Ford factory for very long.

But Architecture Tourists are happy that Ford built it to last.

We remembered Ray Lee's Blue Lantern Lounge.

The Clermont Hotel has had it's ups and downs. It's empty now except for the adult "Clermont Lounge" in the basement. The Clarimont is allowed on "nice" folks bucket lists. The Clermont is high on the moral scale compared to some Ponce activities.

The stairs at Blockbuster belonged to great house.

This mansion remains as a law office.

This beauty seems to thrive just up the street from the abandoned Clermont.

Ponce at Highland Avenue is one of Atlanta's great intersections. East of here Ponce becomes a suburban parkway, a different street altogether. Druid Hill Presbyterian Church and the old "Briarcliff Hotel" are on the north side. We ended the official tour here.

You can see the Beaux Arts Druid Hills Baptist Church through the haze.

This picture doesn't look like Ponce, looking from a lawn towards the Majestic.

The view from Druid Hills Baptist's portico is a must see. It overlooks Atlanta's first suburban shopping center. Isn't it clad in marble? See the flagpole atop the old Sears building?

I walked back on the south side. Here is 977 Ponce de Leon, now office suites.

I wonder how the ancients managed bird do on the Parthenon?

There's little a plaque in the park where Freedom Parkway T-bones into Ponce. It honors the folks who stopped a highway and saved several neighborhoods in the process.

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There is a Thornton Dial at John Lewis Park. It's hard to see if you are driving.

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I'm a Thornton Dial fan. You might become one too if you can find your way here and let it grow on you.

I'll leave you with our demonstration of the Ponce de Leon Strut:

Learn more about the 2012 Phoenix Flies March 9-25.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't realize that was Thornton Dial's...makes sense now!


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