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Atlanta History Center, Georgia


Where Gumbo Was (#501)

The Atlanta History Center was founded in 1926 as the Atlanta Historical Society and exhibits items and events from Atlanta history. The Center consists of a 33-acre campus with the Center, three historic houses, Goizueta Gardens, and the Kenan Research Center.

Siege Cannon

On the path from the parking area to the building is a Union Army Civil War siege cannon called the Parrott Rifle normally not used in battles other than city or fortress sieges. The cannon was pulled by eight horses and had a range of 2,500 yards. It fired two types of projectiles – solid cannon balls to demolish walls and case shot which blew a barrage of iron balls killing massive numbers of soldiers in its path.

Roundtree Fashions

In the large entrance foyer is the Roundtree Visual Vault Exhibit of women’s fashions from the 1960’s and early 1970’s. These were my favorite fashion years during my young 20’s when slim lines and short skirts were in vogue. I will have a long wait for short skirts to make a comeback, says my daughter.

USS Atlanta

Also in the foyer area is a model of the U.S.S. Atlanta naval cruiser which was lost in battle along with 172 crew members at Guadalcanal against the Japanese in November 1942.

KKK Drum

The Ku Klux Klan was revived in the Atlanta area and a 1915 KKK drum is on display. The KKK was an anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic, and anti-immigrant organization. During the 20th Century the KKK periodically rallied at Stone Mountain, Georgia and lit crosses on the top of the mountain.

Winecoff Fire

The Hotel Winecoff was claimed to be fireproof, but in 1946 it went up in flames and claimed 119 lives which led to new fire codes in the U.S.

Hand Aaron

Other items included Atlanta Brave’s Hank Aaron’s score card and photo from breaking Babe Ruth’s all time baseball home run record. Exhibits included the “Votes for Women” dress and sash during the Victorian era of 1918 for women’s suffrage and the Butterfly at Inman Park to recognize an affluent area for Victorian era residences.

Womens VoteInman Park

The Quinceañera Dress is a 2,500 year old tradition from the Aztecs and worn to symbolized a 15-year old girl’s adulthood. It was designed in 2013 and worn by Georgia’s Miss Teenage Latina. And what would be more inclusive than a Coca Cola Dispenser given that Atlanta is the birthplace of Coca Cola. This first dispenser was shown at a Chicago Expo and prior to that all Coca Cola drinks were made by hand.

Quinceañera DressCoca Cola Dispenser

“Lift Every Voice and Sing, known as the “Negro National Anthem” was a poem written by James Weldon Johnson and sung by his brother. James was the leader of the NAACP from 1920 to 1930 and is the one on the far right in the photo.

Johnson Negro National Antherm

Eli Sotto was a Greek Jew who arrived in Atlanta in 1953 and was the only survivor of his family from the Holocaust. Eli retired in 2014 at the age of 90 after opening five other barbershop locations in Atlanta.

Sotto Barbershop

Gumbo is a southern food named for the African word for okra which was brought to America during the slave trade. It is a mixture of African, Indian and European traditions.


The locomotive Texas was sent to Virginia in 1863 to work salt mining. It escaped destruction during the Civil War and returned to Atlanta to help rebuild the city before being renamed The Cincinnati and being removed from service. The Texas has a long history including the famous 1863 Great Locomotive Chase, in which it chased The General, a locomotive seized by Union saboteurs in an attempt to destroy Confederate rail connections.

Texas Locomotive 2Texas Locomotive

Another sports gallery at the Center revolves around the Grand Slam golf legend of Bobby Jones who founded the Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament.

Bobby Jones

The Folk Art Gallery was extremely interesting containing musical instruments, farm inventions, folk dramas and clay jugs.

Folk InstrumentsFolk InstumentFolk Jugs

During Christmas, teenagers would wear disguises like the Dough Face mask and entertain their neighbors with songs and play acting.

Dough FaceFolk Drama

Furniture makers would create such items as Pie Safes (my Virginia mother-in-law had one) and Hitchcock Chairs.

Pie SaveHitchcock Chairs African slaves who had woodcarving skills and southern boys with pen knives were taught to make various items like walking canes.


Last but not least is the Cyclorama. There are only two in the United States. One in Gettysburg Pennsylvania and this one in the Atlanta History Center. It is in a large round building connected to the Center and a video show is run every few hours over the 3D Cyclorama image of the Civil War Battle of Atlanta. The Cyclorama is a 132-year-old hand-painted work of art that stands 49 feet tall, is longer than a football field, and weighs 10,000 pounds.

Cyclorama 1

It was painted and created by 17 German artists in 1886 on location in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for entertainment. In 1892 is was moved to Atlanta where the Union Battle Victory was altered to show a Confederate victory with the uniform and flag colors changed. That way, Southerners would be more favorable to the work of art. Later on it was redone to show the original Union victory.

Cyclorama 2

The Atlanta History Center is located at 130 West Paces Ferry Road NW, Atlanta, Georgia with open and covered free parking. Admission prices are Adult - $24, Seniors (65+) and Students - $20, and Youths (4-12) - $10. My Army buddy was a previous History Center Board Chairman for eight years and got us free entry with his life time passes. Note that the Center requires a photography permit that can be obtained at the entrance desk; you get a lanyard with a badge that must be returned on leaving.

Cyclorama 2

Congratulations to ProfessorAbe and PortMoresby, who successfully identified this week's mystery location!


Images (27)
  • Atlanta History Center
  • Bobby Jones
  • Canes
  • Coca Cola Dispenser
  • Cyclorama 1
  • Cyclorama 2
  • Dough Face
  • Folk Drama
  • Folk Instruments
  • Folk Instument
  • Folk Jugs
  • Gumbo
  • Hand Aaron
  • Hitchcock Chairs
  • Inman Park
  • Johnson Negro National Antherm
  • KKK Drum
  • Pie Save
  • Quinceañera Dress
  • Roundtree Fashions
  • Siege Cannon
  • Sotto Barbershop
  • Texas Locomotive 2
  • Texas Locomotive
  • USS Atlanta
  • Winecoff Fire
  • Womens Vote

George G

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