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Cockfighting & Cigar Indians: Forsyth-Walton's Shady Past

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A few weeks ago, news broke that the Forsyth-Walton Building in downtown's Fairlie-Poplar neighborhood was at risk of demolition. Plans called for a new four-story service building to provide cooling towers to the neighboring telecom building. After a fair bit of community backlash, the architects unveiled a new plan that would preserve the building's colorful facade, placing new facilities atop the historic edifice. In their series about old neon signs in Atlanta, the AJC came across more than they bargained for when they delved into the history of this particular building, which features the remnants of an old neon sign for a cigar store that operated in the building between 1922 and 2005. It turns out that it's not just the facade that's colorful.

Originally, the AJC went digging to discover the history behind the dilapidated neon sign affixed to the corner of the building. While in horrible disrepair, the sign advertising the Royal Cigar store still can be read, proclaiming the intersection "The Pipe Corner." Beyond just the history of the sign, the investigation uncovered tales of boxing matches and even cockfighting held in the building's basement. The former owner of the cigar store said she found feathers from the winged warriors when she began moving boxes from the basement.

While it's exciting to see new plans released for the building's future use, it's doubtful any more colorful entertainment will come from this particular Art Deco edifice in the heart of the city.

· Atlanta's history in neon: Royal Cigar Co. [AJC]
· Redesign could Spare Facade of Historic Downtown Building [Curbed Atlanta]
· Another Historic Downtown Building is Under Demo Threat [Curbed Atlanta]