Dear Readers, listening to NPR is a very good thing for you to do. In the first week of March, I happened to turn on WABE 90.1 in the car, and I heard about this event called Phoenix Flies. The Atlanta Preservation Center has sponsored this event for seven years, and it comprises historical tours and events sprinkled throughout the city for the entire month of March. Obviously I had to go to something.
My friend S was game, too–two Basement Dwellas are always down for free events–and this past weekend, we decided to go to Whittier Mill Village. WMV, a settlement sandwiched between the railroad tracks and the Chattahoochee River, is only a few miles from my house, but I had absolutely no idea it existed before this. (Then again, one of the most dangerous blocks in the country is also a few miles from me, but I’ve never been there either.)
The backstory: the Whittier family, who owned the mills in Lowell, MA, decided to use Chattahoochee, GA, as it was known back then before its incorporation into ATL proper, as their base for expansion. Of the original mill structures, only the tower and the carpenter’s shop remain, but so do many of the mill workers’ houses, ranging from one of the original 1895 houses to duplexes from 1926.
The local building code has provisions to maintain the historical elements, but you could tell that the owners of these houses were really into the historical details, even without the codes. Here, a candle with a magnifying glass to spread the light:
And this house was built in 2000/2001, and according to the codes, it has a big front porch and a double-sided fireplace in the middle of the room. The people who lived in this house were also the nicest people ever. The lady, dressed entirely in blue, plied us with peach wine spritzers and cheese buttons, and we had a nice discussion of our Atlanta upbringings and the pros and cons of living in an old house. The husband, dressed in all red, was telling us that he wanted to paint the house an even brighter orange, like he had in his office, but that his wife put her foot down.