Many Atlantans are big on country music, packing downtown venues like Philips Arena, Centennial Olympic Park, and the Tabernacle to hear their favorite artists perform.
But while fans get down to Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, and Keith Urban, it’s unlikely that many of them know (unless they read Creative Loafing in June) that just down the street is the site where country music’s first album was recorded.
It turns out that an unassuming brick building at 152 Nassau St., located between the park and the Tabernacle, is regarded by many to be the birthplace of country music, the New York Times now reports, via AP.
Back in 1923, Fiddlin’ John Carson recorded “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane” for Okeh Records, which sold more than half-a-million copies. Historians cite the “hillbilly music star’s” song as the first country hit to be recorded.
In typical Atlanta fashion, plans are calling for the demolition of the building, and an adjacent structure, to make way for Atlanta’s first breezy outpost of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. Ironic that the musical history would be lost to make way for an eatery inspired by a musical legend with roots firmly in country.
The project’s plans have been in the works for nearly three years, but preservationists have managed to get the city on board with protection efforts in the past few months. Atlanta Planning Commissioner Tim Keane’s office is working to give the structure landmark status.
The developer is reportedly not thrilled about those efforts now.
Atlanta (rightfully) has a bad reputation when it comes to preserving historic buildings, and often significant buildings are torn down without much public awareness. Maybe national press coverage will make the Son of a Sailor’s team think twice.
A Zoning Review Board hearing for the proposal will take place Thursday at 6 pm. Preservationists urge those concerned about the building’s fate to turn up in person, or submit comments to the board beforehand. Yee-haw!
- Atlanta Building Steeped in Music History Faces Demolition [New York Times]
- City of Atlanta takes proactive preservation steps with three properties [Curbed Atlanta]
- Could ATL's Ferris Wheel be Neighbors with Jimmy Buffett?! [Curbed Atlanta]