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Phoenix Flies celebration of Atlanta history is back on—virtually, of course

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The event series kicks off tonight, with a webinar on downtown’s century-old Healey Building

Looking up the Gothic Revival facade, composed of white terra cotta.
Learn about the Healey Building’s historic Gothic Revival architecture later today.
The Healey Condos

With the novel coronavirus forcing folks indoors, Atlanta’s historically festival-packed spring has largely been relegated to a series of Netflix and disinfectant wipes.

But not all hope is lost for people who need their fix of regular Atlanta traditions.

The Atlanta Preservation Center’s 17th annual Phoenix Flies event series, a celebration of the history “that makes Atlanta cool,” as APC director of operations David Mitchell put it, at first seemed doomed to be put on hold until the viral outbreak can be contained.

Now, though, the show is back on—virtually, of course.

The itinerary for the free(!) series has certainly shifted, as taking people on tours of Atlanta’s historic structures and communities is not kosher at the moment.

“We are not encouraging anyone to do anything against the guidelines,” Mitchell told Curbed Atlanta. “Stay at home.”

The digital extravaganza kicks off at 7 p.m. tonight with an online lecture about downtown’s historic Healey Building.

Led by Healey Building resident Wendy Darling, the seminar promises to dig into the background of the century-old Gothic Revival skyscraper—“the jewel of the Fairlie-Poplar National Register Historic District,” the event page says.

And that’s just the beginning of Phoenix Flies this year.

Next week, well-known Atlanta real estate developer Gene Kansas will host a talk of his own, Mitchell said.

Details of the virtual discussion are still being worked out, but Kansas is expected to talk about, among other things, the Constellations co-working space in Atlanta’s historic Sweet Auburn district.

Following that—the dates and times remain TBD at the moment—APC will curate digital events by developer Newport, which is reimagining several blocks of South Downtown, author Ted Barris, and Central Atlanta Progress.

“We are the Atlanta Preservation Center, and we are not going to let the center of this storm disrupt our mission,” Mitchell said.