Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Pratt-Pullman Yard

Pratt-Pullman Yard was built in 1904 by Pratt Engineering, a parts manufacturer. In 1917 the plant made munitions to be used by the soldiers in WWI. 

In the mid 20's the site was bought by the Pullman Rail Company and was converted for use as a rail yard. In the late 20's Pullman Yard began hiring black workers in the then segregated south, and quickly became one of the largest employers of African-Americans in the entire United States. 

Pullman lost an anti-trust case in the late 1940's forcing them to scale back operations and sell the property to the State. The Georgia Building Authority used the site in the mid 90's for the short lived New Georgia Railroad, a rail line that took passengers on a scenic rail ride back and forth to Stone Mountain. 

It has been empty ever since.

Hard Knocks, Hard Labor

 Went out with Turtl to visit the ***** school. Here's some fun history on it. I'm going to censor location data.

Originally the property was " ***** Works Camp," established sometime around 1932. This prison camp was first built as a wooden structure that cost around $15,000 and held 125 inmates. However, in 1945 a fire engulfed the structure, killing 1 prisoner. Construction of a new building began, utilizing rocks from the local quarry this time, a less flammable option.

 In 1959, the property changed hands, now controlled by the **** Schools, Inc. This corporation was founded by 22 of the area residents, who wanted to establish a Christian school for their children in the neighborhood. Upon purchasing the property for $125,000 the school began accepting applications for enrollment the same year. Initially starting with grades 1-8, they added a year of high school each of the first four years. The 146 students at **** in 1959 paid $650/each. **** School is still active today, however it moved to another address in ****- its unclear exactly when this move occurred.

The entire property is owned by two entities today. The first building is property of **** county health department. The remaining buildings, as well as the track and field, are owned by a corporation titled the "****, INC". Upon purchase of the property in 2013, the foundation released a statement revealing their plans to transform the property.

The school has never been renovated and is under no active construction. Future plans for the property remain unclear.

Paper and Power

 Known as the old home of a local newspaper, this 5 story structure sits at the heart of downtown.

 Constructed in 1947 for $3 million, it was home to the paper while Ralph McGill served as editor. During this period, the paper's radio station occupied the top floor, while the ground floor was dedicated to retail space. Three years later, the paper was purchased by James C Cox, who merged it with another paper that he owned. The rapidly expanding publication moved out of the building in 1953. Georgia Power moved in two years after.

From 1953-1960, many Atlantans in the metro area would head to the modern building in the heart of downtown to pay their utilities. In 1960, Georgia Power moved to 241 Ralph McGill, leaving the building empty once again. Throughout the next 12 years tenants went in and out of the building, ultimately leaving it empty in 1972.

Many attempts have been made by local preservations to add the building to the National Register of Historic Places, but the city has not been on their side in the process. However, when the building was abandoned in 1972, a bas-relief piece was removed and rehomed in the Georgia World Congress Center Marta Station. The piece was created by a graduate of Georgia Tech, Julian Harris, and measures at 72 feet.

Until recently, the owner of the building was the Georgia Department of Transportation, but in 2017 they sold to Pope & Land & Place Properties. The new owner talked of transforming the property into low cost housing units.

The building sits empty and abandoned today. Covered in VPS panels. A distinct departure from the plans of four years ago.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

John B. Gordon Elementary

Next up is a school in East Atlanta, built in the early years of the 1909. This elementary school contained roughly 25 classrooms and a large gym and stage.

It made it almost 100 years, falling just short after closing in 1995. The school was named after one of Robert E. Lee's most trusted generals, John Brown Gordon.

Gordon lived from 1832-1904. "A native of Upson County, Georgia, and a Major General, Confederate States Army, was one of General Lee's most trusted and outstanding officers. He brilliantly led his devoted men in every engagement in which the army of Northern Virginia participated and was severely wounded at the Battle of Sharpsburg. He led the War's last charge and following the Appomattox surrender, returned to Georgia. Idolized by the populace, he served his state three times as U.S. Senator and as Governor 1886-1890. He was Commander-in-Chief of the United Confederate Veterans from its inception until his death- a fitting tribute to a gallant gentleman."
-Historical plaque at Oakland Cemetery placed by the Alfred Holt Colquitt Chapter, U.D.C.

Gordon Elementary flourished in the 1950s, with many posting online concerning their fond memories of running across the street to buy a soda pop. Unfortunately the school began to decline as Atlanta grew, and has been vacant ever since it closed. The shell of the school still stands, more or less to this day.

There has been talk of using the land to build apartments, as recently as 2013, but no progress has been made. The elementary school caught fire in early 2014, and the newest section of the building was destroyed. As of, November 2014, there was a massive cleanup of the school, and in early 2015 demolition started. Gordon Elementary was a beautiful brick building that will be missed.

Until Next Time, -Turtl and Bloody

Monday, January 5, 2015

Out of City Post: Charity

This post is going to deviate a bit in that it's not in Atlanta, however, when I got to see this beautiful building, I knew I had to post about it. I have not omitted the hospital's real name, as it's no secret. With a documentary recently made, as well as a group created to attempt to save the hospital. It may be best for Charity's story to get all the exposure it can. The security is tough, and the building is partially active; it's not worth trying to get in.

"Charity Hospital was founded in 1732 when Jean Louis, a French seaman and merchant who made New Orleans his home in the New World, died, leaving his entire estate to “establish and maintain a hospital for the poor people of New Orleans.”

Looking down the stairway on the 19th floor

By the time the Civil War began in 1860, Charity was one of the largest hospitals in the world, able to accommodate 1,000 patients at a time. The hospital remained open during the war, caring for soldier from both armies.

Samples preserved in formalin

Charity Hospital has been such a fact of life in its present location for so long, that today New Orleanians often think it has always been there and always been the same. But in fact the hospital has been located in six different main buildings if four different locations during its 260+ years.
By the early 1930s, the old facility was crowded and out of date. Louisiana’s populist Governor Huey P. Long made it a priority of his administration to build a fine, new hospital facility that would equal or better any other in the country.

One of the many hallways with power

When the present building ... was completed in 1939, the total bed capacity was 3,330, making Charity the second largest hospital in the United States. It is also one of only a handful that serves the education and research needs of two medical schools." 
- Excerpt from a pamphlet detailing the hospital's history and facilities

Each floor was a different color. This was the red floor.

Hurricane Katrina hit the hospital in 2005, but only affected the main floor and basement. Many employees of the hospital stayed through the storm to tend to patients, even after the power failed. Subsequently, the hospital was closed due to the water damage.
Samples to be disposed of

 It was then scrubbed by a team of 150 military and healthcare professionals to bring the building up to medical standards, but right before the building was ready to open, Governor Blanco stopped it.

Forgotten brain images
 Instead, a new hospital was built and Charity was abandoned. Today Charity sits locked, but not abandoned. The power is on, huge fans run on most floors to combat water damage. 24 hour security stays onsite amidst countless cameras, next to a sign that warns of K-9 patrols within the building. Inside, everything is just as it was left.
A table of microscopes outside of a lab

Bodies were cleared, but medical records remain. The people of New Orleans have fought back to save the building, however there are currently no future plans for Charity.

Until next time! -Turtl & Bloody

Battery Factory

The Battery Factory began in 1900 manufacturing lead-acid industrial & automotive batteries, with its headquarters in Georgia. This Atlanta branch operated from 1948-1988, but the factory’s pollution has outlived its production. The soil surrounding the area is contaminated with lead, making it a costly clean up site, estimated around or under $3 million by an EPA official.

The Battery company is on the hook to clean up the site, according to their 2003 agreement with the EPA, however the company has declared bankruptcy, making the situation complicated.

The 12 acre property was purchased by a private company in 2006, who proposed a mixed use development that was okay-ed by the neighborhoods; however no progress has been made.

 Due to the property's ideal location, right off the beltline, the city of Atlanta has grown frustrated with the property owners, suing them for code violations, though the owners claim they can't even afford to board it up properly. In recent years, the building has found new life through the graffiti and street artists of Atlanta, who add to the ever changing art outside and inside the building.

The fate of the property is uncertain, though it is an ideal site to add to the beltline's property. As of summer 2014, the property was re-boarded, the broken gate fixed, and the yard maintained by a crew.

Until next time!
-Turtl & Bloody

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Richest Man in Atlanta

         This Atlanta mansion originated as a farm, owned by the son of one of the most successful Atlanta business men in history. The owner moved to the 42 acre farm in 1910, and managed the agricultural ongoings there, including supplying milk to Fort Gordon during World War I.

The front of the mansion, with clouds overhead

          From 1920-1922, the Mansion was built by C.E.F with assistance from D.B. with a Georgian Revival Exterior. The biggest room in the mansion is a 1,700 square foot music room, now renamed, which stretches 3 stories tall with a vaulted Tudor interior.

The 1,700 square foot music room
          Adjacent is the dining room which seats up to 75 people, with a carved white European marble fireplace and carved ceilings. Connected to the luxurious dining room is a massive kitchen that can house commercial restaurant equipment. The basement features a walk in safe, and the mansion also has an enclosed courtyard.

The rear of the mansion

          His home wasn’t just the mansion however, his estate in total consisted of the mansion, servants quarters, tennis courts, stables, greenhouses, laundry, zoo buildings, golf course, and community pool. The pool out front of the mansion was accessible to the public, and sodas were on sale there of course, in case they got thirsty during their swim.  The owner also had his own personal zoo, but later donated the animals to the Atlanta Zoo after complaints from the neighbors. In addition, in 1925 he bought at $94,000 88 rank, 187 stop Aeolian organ, supposedly to out-do his father and brother, who had Aeolian organs of their own.

The solarium, used to house plants
In 1948 the owner sold his estate to the Federal Government, who had plans for a Veterans hospital that was never realized. After that, the property was sold to the state in 1953. Then, the Southern Clinic was opened for alcohol rehab, and was later renamed.

The grand entranceway, deterioration from mold and decay

The property was bought by a psychiatric center in 1962, with additional buildings completed by 1964. The center operated from 1965-1997 and had 141 beds and a $24.5 million dollar budget when closed. The main building was perfectly symmetrical with harsh window gratings for security. Besides that, there were 8 cottages all connected to the main building by underground tunnels that could be used to transport patients.

One of the eight cottages
Taking a break from wandering the tunnels
Lastly, a local university purchased the property in 1998 for $2.9 million, following a history of extensive collaboration with the psychiatric center. They have used the cottages for storage, and run continuing education classes and other services out of the main building.

A room in one of the many cottages
The campus was completely closed in the summer of 2014, and now the only part of the campus utilized is the parking lot, where a university shuttle stop is located. There are rumored plans of demolition.

Note that all names of persons and organizations have been changed or removed to protect the property from vandals

Thats all folk's! Till next week -- Bloody and Turtl