Forgetting Atlanta

In his comment to my post on “Remembering Atlanta,” George reflects that many residents probably think the changes along Ponce are for the best. It may be that in some cases, it’s better to “forget Atlanta” than it is to use dilapidated old buildings to “remember it.”

In the meantime, I’ve noticed another Creative Loafing article mentioning a new book, The Crackers: Early Days of Atlanta Baseball, devoted to detailing the history of Atlanta baseball before the Braves (note: link may disappear). The Crackers were Atlanta’s minor league baseball team, and they played in Ponce de Leon Ball Park, situated directly across from what is now City Hall East. “Old Poncey” was demolished in 1965 and is now a strip mall with a Borders Bookstore and Whole Foods grocery store, but stands as one of the more eccentric ballparks in memory because of the giant magnolia tree that grew in the middle of center field. Reviewer Tray Butler mourns Atlanta’s tendency to bulldoze over its historical landmarks, but I have few complaints. Whole Foods is a great grocery store, and quite frankly, it’s a pretty nice Borders.

I wonder if other cities have such ambivalent feelings about remembering and forgetting, or if this is something more prominent in Atlanta because of its history of destruction and rebuilding.

2 Comments »

  1. dave Said,

    August 24, 2003 @ 12:33 pm

    these reflections on your several atlantas sort of remind me of memphis’ weird sense of its own stories. three moments come to mind.

    first, a lone protester lived on the sidewalk opposite the lorraine motel for a number of years in order to demonstrate her opposition to converting the motel into the national civil rights museum. she was alone but had a good bit of sympathy from the community. second, beale street, once a place where blues traditions actually thrived, is now so disney-fied that street musicians are no longer allowed to play in w.c. handy park. instead, you have to pay absurd cover charges to see “professionals” inside the simulacra of places like bb kings’ club. third, hoping to facilitate tourism (memphis’ perennial half-full glass of hope), there were serious proposals to simply dam up the flow of the wolf river where it meets the missisippi. the idea was that this “lake” would be a sort of downtown beachfront, while a fetid backwater swamp was the more likely result. obviously, that never happened, but it’s typical of a city that sort of doesn’t understand how to understand its place and places.

    but i guess every american city’s phoenix always wants to rise, right?

  2. chuck Said,

    August 26, 2003 @ 8:57 pm

    These attempts to revitlize Memphis remind me of Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery Train, in which the Japanese toursists travel into Memphis to see Sun Records–the “home” of Elvis and Carl Perkins, only to be very disappointed by how rundown the city is.

    It’s an interesting image, and yeah, I think most cities are caught in these dialectics of remembering and forgetting. Memphis is also an interesting place, though, because of its position within rock history and Civil Rights.

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