AJC photo vault

#TBT Ponce de Leon Park: Mind the magnolia, you Crackers

Opened 1907; rebuilt 1924, demolished 1965 – Also known as Spiller Park or Spiller Field from 1924-32, Ponce de Leon Park was the home ballpark of the Southern League’s Atlanta Crackers from 1907-64. The Atlanta Black Crackers of the Negro American League shared the park with the white Crackers team but due to segregation at the time, were not allowed to play at the park when the Crackers had a home game. Flanked by Ponce de Leon Avenue to the south and the Southern Railway tracks to the east, the little ballpark (seating about 20,000) was truly nestled in downtown Atlanta. A magnolia tree in deep center field was its most distinguishing feature, with the tree being in play until 1947. The ballpark was torn down in 1965 when the Braves came to Atlanta. Today the Midtown Place mall is located where throngs of Atlanta baseball fans once cheered on the hometown teams.

#FlashBackFriday Loew’s Grand Theatre: Elegance and art all in one

Opened 1893, demolished 1978 – Perhaps it’s unfair to say that the Loew’s Grand Theatre is “gone” from the Atlanta landscape. True, the building itself no longer exists. But parts of it live on. Bricks from the old structure were used to build Houston’s restaurant on Peachtree and a chandelier from the Grand now hangs in The Tabernacle for a new generation of concertgoers to appreciate. Fitting for a landmark that, during its lifespan, enjoyed an existence first as DeGive’s Grand Opera House from 1893-1927 before finding new life with the advent of motion pictures. The Loews organization purchased the Grand in 1927, converting it into a movie theater. From that point, the Grand went on to host the 1939 premiere of “Gone with the Wind.” A 1978 fire seriously damaged the building, which earned historic status in 1977. The Georgia-Pacific Tower now stands on the former theater site.