A Look Back
July 1, 1929: Chief William “Bill” Cody celebrated his golden anniversary with Atlanta’s Fire Department. He joined the Mechanic Fire Company No. 2, as a volunteer shortly after his 1876 arrival. Elected Chief Engineer of the Atlanta Fire Department on July 15, 1915, he continued to serve until his 1929 death. Cody strongly favored an anti-shingle ordinance several years before Atlanta’s Great Fire, which occurred on May 21, 1917. As early as 1913, he supported two city council members when they proposed an ordinance against the wooden-shingles and revealed 34 percent of the city’s fires were caused by sparks from shingled roofs. Cody invited New York’s fire prevention expert, former Deputy Fire Chief William Guerin to a meeting of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. He showed findings on Atlanta’s inadequate anti-wooden shingle ordinance and said, “It’s not strong enough.” Atlanta’s Great Fire resulted in the burning of 300 acres – 72 blocks – and destroyed a total of 1,938 structures. Records showed at 1,682 structures were covered with wood shingle roofs. When Cody died in November of 1929 thousands mourned the lost at the North Avenue Presbyterian Church and his burial site at Westview Cemetery. (Photo: Atlanta Journal-Constitution Photographic Archives. Courtesy Georgia State University)
July 6, 1931: The will of Fanny Rebecca Haralson Gordon was probated in Atlanta. She was the widow of former Georgia Governor and Confederate General John Brown Gordon. Her heirs included her two living children, a sister and grandson. The LaGrange native, born on Sept. 18, 1837, was the daughter of Caroline Lewis and U S. Senator Hugh Anderson Haralson. On her 17th birthday in 1854, she married John; he was 22. Fanny accompanied her soldier boy throughout the Civil War. He credited his recovery from wounds received at Sharpsburg/Antietam to her being at his bedside. In 1868, as president of Atlanta’s Ladies Memorial Association (ALMA) she fundraised for a Confederate memorial monument. Fanny was off to Washington, D.C. in 1873, when John Gordon became a United States Senator. The family, which had six children, lived at Sutherland in what was then agrarian Kirkwood. As wife of Georgia’s Governor – 1886 to 1889 – she welcomed President Grover and First Lady Frances Cleveland to the Peachtree executive mansion during the 1887 Exposition at Piedmont Park. Her last official appearance was the dedication of the new State Capital on July 4, 1889. Fanny’s energy also focused on the Kirkwood Presbyterian Church’s mission school created to instruct African American children in the factory district. After John’s 1904 demise, Sutherland sold at auction to Sutherland Terrace developers. Fanny died April 20, 1931. The couple’s burial site –a 1904 gift from ALMA – is in Atlanta’s historic Oakland Cemetery.
July 18, 1895: Ivy Hall on Ponce De Leon Avenue was the site of the first meeting of the Atlanta Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. It was the new home of Helen Wimberly and Edward Conyngham Peters. The organization’s first president was Caroline Helen Jemison Plane, a resident of Atlanta since 1874 and the aunt of Mrs. Peters. Today the Savannah College of Art and Design owns the award winning Ivy Hall at 179 Ponce de Leon Avenue.
July 20, 1944: While many young Atlantan men and women were involved in Europe and in the Pacific during World War II, the city paused to honor the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Peachtree Creek. Atlanta Historical Society President Henry A. Alexander unveiled the handsome white marble monument in Buckhead in front of Piedmont Hospital that still marks the memory of 1,710 Union and 4,796 Confederate soldiers who died in Atlanta on this Wednesday in 1864.
July 21, 1988: Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis accepted the presidential nomination at the Democratic Party’s National Convention in Atlanta’s Omni Coliseum.
July 26, 1872: Atlanta dentist Arthur C. Ford posted a notice in the Atlanta Constitution that Dr. John H. Holliday would be on call at 26 Whitehall St. while he was in Richmond, Va., attending the Southern Dental Association meeting. Dr. John later becomes the legendary Doc Holliday.