Fall 2021 Mini Posts

 In Blog Posts

What is now the Tic Tok Food Mart on Evans Mill Road was originally built as a First Federal Bank Branch (First Federal Savings and Loan Association). Their headquarter building in Atlanta (40 Marietta Street) was built in 1964 and set the modern tone for their branches that had amazing variety and flair. Each branch had a clock out front, and Tik Tok uses theirs in conjunction with its branding. We think our DeKalb branch could be classified as Brutalist – what do you think? The choice of materials are Brutalist: concrete, brick and glass, and we love this modern take on flying buttresses and clerestory windows!

Buena Vista Avenue is a very famous street in Atlanta. In the 1920s, this small dead-end street was the site of countless car endeavors or “hill tests” to push the limits of automobiles. Once a car conquered Buena Vista Hill, the next and ultimate challenge was Stone Mountain.

On January 20, 1929, in front of 10,000 spectators, a stock model closed cabin Reo Flying Cloud Master Brougham started the climb up the rocky face of Stone Mountain. Halfway up the mountain, the driver brought the car to a stop, and three passengers climbed onto the running boards. Passengers, or “Bouncers,” were necessary during these climbs to bounce up and down, increasing traction with the road.

The Chandler Six that conquered Buena Vista Hill in 1917 had 45 horsepower, and the Reo that navigated Stone Mountain had 85 hp. For comparison, a standard 2021 Honda Accord has 190 hp. Buena Vista Avenue is a small dead-end road cut off by 75/85 and Pryor Street. You’ve probably seen the 20% grade when driving south on 75/85. Who knew that 100 years ago, Buena Vista Avenue was “Atlanta’s famous tryout ground”?

About a year ago, we posted this photo of Oakland School, built in 1914 from our Rainey School Collection. Someone asked where it was…and a year later by chance we have the answer.
Oakland School was located on the corner of Hairston Way and Rockbridge Rd in Stone Mountain. S Hairston Rd was originally called Oakland School Road. Eventually, Oakland School Rd was rerouted and renamed S Hairston Rd. Incredibly, the school house remained standing as a home at 4901 Rockbridge Rd until 2018. The photo is a google street history view of it, not much changed from the original 1914 school. We don’t know exactly when it closed, but probably late 1930’s- early 1940’s. Rockbridge Elementary, located catty-corner opened in 1972. Oakland School was one of the several schools, built for white students that were built around 1914-1915.
Maybe Jack and Diane hung out at Woody’s Tastee-Freez at 2510 Moreland Ave near Constitution. This location has the perfect visibility from the road, occupying a corner lot and ideal for drive in service. Originally built around 1963, it operated until 1968. The Sawtooth roof design goes in two directions(!), horizontally along the length and width.(pic 3) The clapboard panels above the brick foundation were most likely glass, which means it was probably majority window service, however there could have been a small indoor counter. The small square opening would have been for the AC unit. (pic 2) You can still see the Tastee-Freez diamond pattern in the brick wall toward the rear of the building. Tastee-Freezes were franchise operations, and because of that the architecture is slightly different. Not many Tastee-Freezes survive, the buildings were often described as “economical” and were built in prime real estate locations. They were also franchised, which made it harder to sustain economically.

A&W Drive-In, ca.1973, 5099 Memorial Drive

A&Ws were known for their all American food, and family friendly environment. Many early A&Ws had a carhop service under a canopy, although this location most likely just had a drive through window.

Colloquially called a pilgrim hat, the pagoda style roof replaced the original box design used in the 1950s-60s. The first pagoda style building was designed and manufactured by the Trachte Brothers Company in 1965 for an A&W franchise in Edgerton, Wisconsin. All roofs were steel, however this DeKalb Country version deviates with an asphalt roof. Additionally, most A&Ws from this era were square while ours is octagonal. The recognizable roof is distinctive: a welcome sight for many families on long road trips. Each location featured a round fireplace in the center of the dining room that accentuated the “finial” in the center of the roof. Some locations had a bar around the fireplace. One location in Casper, Wyoming, even had an aquarium.

One can only think of the “family friendly” environment sitting at a bar around a warm stone fireplace drinking root beer out of a frosted mug.

A&W tried to enter the Atlanta market with franchise opportunities in 1973, although only one other was built at 1801 Savoy Dr. Corporate changes and massive growth from other food chains put pressure on A&W and many A&W franchises were unable to compete. By 1980 this structure had become The Original Pancake House.

Some original A&Ws still exist, complete with their working fireplaces. If you find yourself on a road trip through the Midwest and see an orange pagoda, consider having a draught root beer in a frosted mug at this iconic restaurant.

Georgia was once the ancestral homeland to both the Cherokee Nation and the Creek Nation, but by the early 19th century, their land became seriously threatened by incoming settlers. The Creeks, Cherokees, and Choctaws, along with other southeastern tribes, all descended from the peoples of the Mississippian period (circa AD 800-1500).

The Creek Confederacy, now known as the Creek Nation, consisted of a union of several groups. They lived in tribal towns all through middle and south Georgia and in Alabama. The English differentiated the groups by location, calling those who lived in towns on the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers, the Upper Creeks, and those who lived on the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers, the Lower Creeks.

For centuries, the Cherokee Nation inhabited parts of northern Georgia and Alabama, southern Tennessee, and western North Carolina. Today, the largest group of Cherokees live in northeastern Oklahoma. Two other federally recognized tribes are the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina.

The Creek Confederacy’s western descendants are known as the Muscogee (Creek) Nation today, located in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. The Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Alabama are federally recognized tribes who stem from the Creek Nation and who, fortunately, were not removed from their ancestral lands.

The contributions of the Creek Nation and Cherokee Nation can still be seen in DeKalb County today. Numerous railways, roads and paths, including the path up Stone Mountain, still follow the trails and intersections carved out hundreds of years ago by the Indigenous Peoples of this land.

An in depth blog post is forthcoming that will cover the violent removals of the Indigenous People from their homelands across the state.

At the intersection of Briarcliff, Clifton, and Johnson Roads once stood the twenty-eight room summer home of Ira Yale Sage. The area known as Wallace was rural but connected to the city by rail at Wallace Station. Ira Yale Sage, a descendent of the founder of Yale University, was in the railroad industry. His wife, Margaret Alexander Sage, would take a private coach from Wallace Station to visit her family in South Carolina.
The home, built on a hill around 1900, overlooked South Fork Peachtree Creek. Not much is known about the architecture of the home, and the only known photographs that we have were taken in 1969 when it was being demolished. But the time period and remaining architectural elements (Doric columns and heavy cornices) point to the Neoclassical style.
We know from a “DeKalb New Era” article in 1969 that it had a huge screened-in porch facing Clifton Road, solid wood columns, and what the author called Victorian woodwork. It was modernized by the next owner, Godfrey Hoch, to have six bathrooms, a pool, and landscaping. While contemporary architectural “masterpieces” were built by architects just down the road in Druid Hills, this one was described as “not a fine house.” We like to think all old and historic homes are built to last centuries; but just like today, in the early 20th century shortcuts were taken by builders, developers, and owners.
The home remained in the Sage family until 1937. The hill was leveled in 1969 for the shopping center, but you can still get a sense of the terrain driving north on Old Briarcliff Road.

Contact DeKalb History Center