A Look Back
May 1, 1886: Former Confederate President Jefferson Davis arrived in Atlanta for the unveiling of New York Sculptor Alexander Doyle’s statue of the late United States Senator Benjamin Harvey Hill. Hill served in the U. S. Senate from 1877 until his death in 1882. Atlanta Historical Society founder Walter McElreath witnessed the city’s historical event when he was an 18-year old country schoolteacher. He walked from the farm nine miles to Marietta to board the train to Atlanta. On arrival he found Peachtree Street impossible to maneuver. In the vicinity of today’s Hardy Ivy Park, a huge crowd gathered at the junction of Peachtree and West Peachtree streets. The main attraction was Jefferson Davis. “The sight of the great man,” said McElreath, “was worth the walk of eighteen miles to the train and the return, and justified the stealing of a reserved seat.” Since 1890, the State Capital has been the home of the white marble Hill statue.
May 3, 1907: The Candler Building Restaurant operated by the Silverman Catering Company opened in the city’s newest skyscraper. Located in the heart of the hotel and apartment district, it attracted many new patrons, especially the ladies. Patrons entered the building through either the Peachtree or Houston street doors. The winding stairway led them down to the floor below the bank. The restaurant served meals three times Monday through Saturday, hours were from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. Neither smoking nor drinking was allowed.
May 3, 1924: Atlanta Municipal Market opened for business on Edgewood Avenue, one street south of Auburn Avenue. Architect Anthony Ten Eyck Brown designed the two-story, red brick, Romanesque Revival site in 1921. Mrs. Norman Sharp and her Atlanta Woman’s Club market committee started the ball rolling back in June 26, 1920, when the club first launched the idea at the old Atlanta Auditorium-Armory curbside on Courtland Street. The Municipal Market was renovated in 1974 with more makeovers in 1995, before the 1996 Olympic Games. When a new sign was put into place, the moniker read Sweet Auburn Curb Market.
May 15, 1872: Kimball House Hotel Manager S. E. Crittenden published the Ponce de Leon Springs summer omnibus schedule in the Atlanta Daily Sun. The six-story, 317-room Kimball House hotel had opened October 17, 1870. The shuttle-car drawn by four horses accommodated 12 passengers at a time. Round trip single tickets 50 cents or 12 tickets $3. Ponce de Leon Springs – now the site of the Ponce City Market development – used to be a favorite attraction in the city.
May 16, 1920: The Fourth Ward’s new Butler Street YMCA opened at 22 Butler Street (now Jesse Hill Drive). Virginia native Major Robert Russa Moton, principal of Tuskegee Institute, gave the dedication speach. The landmark building listed on the National Register of Historic Places was a center of social life, recreation, and educational enlightenment for all members of the Fourth Ward community.
May 18, 1985: Actor Sidney Poitier attended the American College for the Applied Arts graduation exercises ceremony at the Colony Square Hotel and congratulated Gina, his 24-year-old daughter, on receiving a bachelor of arts degree in fashion design. The next afternoon, Morehouse President Hugh Gloster awarded Poitier his first Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree as part of the school’s 118th commencement ceremonies.
May 21, 1883: Judge William R. Hammond granted a charter to the Capital City Club. Henry Clay Stockdell, age 29, was the first president. The prominent Peachtree Street resident was an insurance executive and first potentate of Yaarab Shrine Temple. The members celebrated with a reception that afternoon in the first clubhouse at 35 Walton Street.