What Atlanta Offers Those Who Attend I. A. F. E. Convention
Convention City of Land of Cotton Prepares to Welcome Us
OUTRANKED by only six cities in entire national spot for big gatherings, Atlanta has been called the “Convention City of Dixie.” There are many excellent advantages which give Atlanta this well deserved title.
Within the past six years Atlanta has risen from fifteenth to seventh place as a convention city. St. Louis, New York, Cincinnati, Chicago, Philadelphia and Atlantic City are the only ones which now outrank her. Since 1913 there have met in Atlanta, 1,502 conventions. In 1920 Atlanta entertained 80,575 registered delegates during 348 conventions, of which 37 were national, and during 1921 a total of 400 conventions are expected to meet, 50 of which will be national. The Big Shriners’ Convention in 1914 established beyond a doubt Atlanta’s ability to handle big gatherings. These conventions have been secured largely through the efforts of inimitable “Cousin Fred Houser,” of international fame, secretary Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, and are really an essential factor in the city for educational uplift and true constructive civic work. Every convention held represents an organized endeavor of a group of our citizens to letter some field of public interest, “Education, science, religion, public service, fraternalism, as well as the practical affairs of industry and commerce,” are the subjects of discussion at conventions.
For a city to claim that it is a good convention city it must have certain requirements. One of the first is that it should have housing accommodations to take care of the visitors. Atlanta has at present one hundred and fifty-two hotels and restaurants, valued at $10,000,000. There are forty-four hotels with over three thousand rooms. Co-operation between the Atlanta Convention Bureau and the Atlanta Hotel Men’s Association makes it possible to give the convention delegate the best service. A visitor is assured a real welcome at any of these. Railroad accommodations also play quite an important part in making a large convention city. No city in the south fares better than Atlanta in this respect. One hundred and twentyfour passenger trains arrive and depart daily at the stations. Eighty of these arc through trains, and fortyfour are local. All but five of the total arrive and depart during the convenient hours of from 5 o’clock in the morning until 11 o’clock at night. This is quite an important consideration with the traveling public. Atlanta also enjoys most liberal stop-over privileges on all railroad tourist tickets.
Insures Quick Mail Service
This good railroad service insures quick mail service. A letter deposited at the post office before 8 o’clock at night finds its destination the following morning at points in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ceorgia, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Delegates to conventions must also have convenient places for holding their meetings. The Atlanta Chamber of Commerce has its large assembly room and private conference rooms, which are affered to the convention delegates. The large city auditorium can take care of assemblies of all kiwis, and its use is free to all conventions and public gatherings. The auditorium has a seating capacity of eight thousand.
During the convention of the I. A. F. E. at Atlanta there are going to be some spare moments. Here is a way to spend that odd time. Atlanta, we are told, is ready with a mighty warm greeting for us.—Editor.
The pleasant climate of Atlanta is still another attraction to visitors. Atlanta’s altitude of 1,050 feet above sea level makes this city one of the most healthful. Atlanta never has extremes of either heat or cold and it has an evenly distributed, moderate rainfall. The annual mean temperature in Atlanta is 61.
At conventions the social and entertainment programs always hold a very important place. There are in and around Atlanta excellent roads which allow of pleasurable auto trips. Good theatres abound in Atlanta. Here must be mentioned Atlanta’s new moving picture houses, The Howard, which was built at an erpense of something over a half million dollars. Also the Metropolitan. Then there are the social clubs of Atlanta which always throw open their doors with true southern hospitality to all visitors. There are excellent golf courses to afford a pleasant game at the Druid Hills Club, the Brookhaven Club and East Lake Country Club, the home of Alexander Stirling, Bobby Jones and Perry Adair.
Most important of all the factors which work together to make Atlanta a successful convention city is the co-operation of its individual citizens. They seem to feel a personal responsibility in the entertaining of visitors. They are hospitable, unselfish, and are never happier than when they are doing something for a visitor. They seem to delight in going the second mile, so to speak.
Battlefields and Monuments
Though two generations have come and gone, though two wars have intervened, interest in the great conflict which, first menacing dismembership of the Union but eventually serving only to bind the North and the South by ties closer and warmer than existed before its first gun was fired, does not wane.
Famous battlefields, which serve today only to emphasize the stability of that bond which Spain and Germany have since found incapable of weakening, are still places of pilgrimage in. both North and South, where aged men go to live over again the time of stress and conflict, and which younger men visit to taste the fruit of the tree of brotherhood that sprang up in their once-drenched soil.
Kirh in War History
Atlanta is rich in Civil War history. All military authorities agree that the Johnson-Sherman campaign, centering about Atlanta, was the beginning of the end of the civil strife.
Hundreds of thousands in this country and wherever else the English tongue is spoken have sung the song, “Hold the Fort,” made famous by Moody and Sankey. but written by the evangelist, P. P. Bliss. It was inspired by the message from. Gen. Sherman, sent from the summit of Kennesaw Mountain to Gen. Corse, through the air and over the heads of Confederate forces, directing him to hasten from Rome and take command of the forces at Altoona, a short distance from Emerson, which inspired the song. P. P. Bliss heard of the message and from the situation wrote the song.
Here are some of the battlefields at Atlanta and vicinity, with the dates of their battles:
Atlanta—July 22. 1864.
Chattahoochee River—July 5 to 10, 1864.
Decatur—July 22. 1864.
Ezra Church—July 28, 1864.
Fall of Atlanta—September 2, 1864.
Jonesboro—Agust 31, and September 1, 1864.
Lovejoy Station—September 2 to 6. 1864.
Lovejoy Station and Bear Creek—November 16, 1864.
Peachtree Creek—July 20. 1864.
Siege of Atlanta—July 28. 1864.
There is now but one cyclorama painting of a civil war battle; and that is it Atlanta. It is the sole survivor of three which were painted in the 80’s by artists of the staff of William Wehner’s studio in Milwaukee. The cyclorama painting of the battle of Missionary Ridge was destroyed by a cyclone years ago. That of the Battle of Gettysburg was lost in a fire. This of the Battle of Atlanta is left, and is the property of the city.
Once it was bought for $1,000 and twice it was about to be abandoned as worth no further care. Now no fortune can buy it. C. V. Gress, a citizen, gave it to Atlanta in 1898 after it had been exhibited by previous owners in various cities of the country for more than a dozen years. Since then more than 2,000,000 people have paid admission to see it.
The great painting measures 400 feet around and 50 feet high, and its weight is nine tons. It presents a decisive moment in American History, the moment during the battle of the afternoon of July 22, 1864, when an assault by the Confederates upon the Federal lines east of Atlanta was being repulsed by reinforcemeats. The exact hour was four o’clock—four hours after Gen. J. B. McPherson had been killed on the Union side, and some three hours after the death of Gen. W. H. T. Walker among the Confederates.
It was at this moment that the keystone in the arch of the Confederate States of America was loosened
The Picture is fearfully realistic and is more impressive than any works in marble or bronze could be. The artists used poetic license to dispel thick clouds of black powder smoke which otherwise would have obscured the field, and to foreshorten the perspective as it the view were through the lens of binoculars. Otherwise. even to the smallest detail, it is historically true and authentic. Its studies were gathered with infinite care twenty years after the battle, from first hand authorities and upon the ground itself. It is one’s privilege now, soon to be lost forever, to hear the veterans of the battle interpret the painting.
There was only one battle of Atlanta during the Civil War. As Gettysburg was said to mark the height of the Confederacy power of arms, so at Atlanta did the power forsee the end. After the fall of Atlanta there was no further reasonable hope among the officers of the Confederacy that their new republic would survive. Atlanta’s fall on September 1. 1864, so weakened the Southern armies that the evacuation of Richmond and the surrender at Appomattox, in April, 1865, became inevitable. The battle of Atlanta fought July 22, 1864, showed the futility of aggressive tactics against the investing forces of Gen. Sherman and put the Confederates definitely on the defensive. Therefore, the field whereon the battle was fought is of distinctive interest.
This field lies two miles east of Atlanta’s center and portions of it are covered by modern homes. It is accessible by several trolley lines. If one goes by the Soldiers Home car, he arrives at the southern end of the battle line, and the mounments marking the spots where Gen. McPherson, U. S. A., and Gen. Walker, C. S. A., were killed are but a short walk to the east.
If one goes by the East Lake or South Decatur lines and gets off at Dahlgren Station or Moreland Avenue, he will find fimself at the foot of Leggett’s Hill, where a minor engagement was fought on the day before the battle of Atlanta, and for the possession of which next day many hundred men on both sides gave up their lives.
The avenue which the trolley line crosses there outlines generally the line of battle that day. The slight gap through which the tracks run was swept by artillery fire during the battle and was covered with dead.
If the visit is made by the Druid Hills line, the visitor may get off at Ponce de Leon Springs and find himself between the northern extremities of the battle lines; or he may continue several blocks and walk across to the Highland Park School, in front of which he will find original woods wherein the elaborate earthworks immediately surrounding General Sherman’s headquarters are preserved perfectly to this day.
If the visitor goes to Piedmont Park, he will find himself in the valley wherein the army of the Cumberland rested on its arms while the Army of the Tennessee and part of the Army of the Ohio were defending the Union lines further south. The Cumberland army’s array continued on west, past the Piedmont Driving Club, through Ansley Park, across Peachtree street and on over to the Western and Atlantic railroad, at Howell station, describing the upper arc of the great semicircle which Sherman’s men in blue drew around the doomed city on that day. If the visitor strikes through the middle of these radii and travels to the battlefield by the North Decatur trolley line, he will get off at DeGress avenue and find himself upon the exact spot which the spectator occupies when he views the cyclorama painting of the battle.
The field of the battle of Peachtree Creek, fought July 20, 1864, may le reached by Peachtree road trolley, the visitor getting off at Collier road and walking a short distance to the left along that road. The scene of the battle of Ezra Church, fought July 28, 1864, lies on the hills beyond the end of the West Hunter street car line. The battle of Jonesboro, August 31, and September 31, 1864, which caused the evacuation of Atlanta, was fought some 17 miles south of the city, and is accessible by automobile road. Some of the earthworks remain near Jester’s Old Mill, on that road. General Sherman’s headquarters during the occupation of Atlanta have been remodeled into one of the buildings of the present Girl’s High School, at one corner of the state capitol square. The old city hall, which occupied that square during the siege, was one of the conspicuous buildings on which Sherman’s gunners trained their cannon.
The alcoves on the main boor of the state capitol are filled with Confederate battle flags. Two brass cannons, one on either side of the Hunter street entrance of the capitql, were used by the youthful cadets of a Marietta school in the Atlanta campaign. The Wesley Memorial hospital was known in war times as “the calico house,” and was occupied by several brigade Commanders of the Union Army after the fall of the city.
On the Marietta road, and accessible by trolley car, is marked the spot where a vital thing was done when Gen. Joseph F. Johnston transferred to Gen. John B. Hood, under orders from Richmond, the command of the army of Tennessee.
Across the railroad is the old Huff house wherein lives today Miss Sarah Huff. She was a child when the transfer was effected. She is the only living woman who heard the commotion around headquarters on the night of July 17, 1864, when the order from Richmond was received.
The Huff House is probobly the oldest residence in Atlanta. The present house was built in 1855; partially destroyed in 1864, and restored during the days of Reconstruction. The British flag flying over it during the siege of Atlanta saved it from l>eing burned. It was also used as headquarters by Major Hodkiss, of Mississippi. Miss Huff, in a charming manner, portrays for the visitor the incidents of the battles around her home, which were so vividly impressed upon he? child-mind. Visitors should take Marietta to Inman Yards car on Marietta street; leave car at the steel bridge just beyond Howell Station; cross the bridge and turn to the right into Huff Road. The first house on the left is the Huff house.
Even the magnificent new Georgian Terrace hotel stands today as a marker for history. It was in the woods immediately behind the site of the hotel that James J. Andrews, leader of Andrews’ raiders, was executed June 7, 1864. Six of his captured followers were executed eleven days later in what is now Oakland cemetery, at the edge of the plot occupied by a tall shaft commemorating the Confederate dead who are buried there.
At Grand Park is the quaint Confederate Monument, old wood-burning engine “Texas,” which overtook Andrews’ raiders just south of Chattanooga, and so helped in their capture. The “General,” the engine which Andrews and his men detached from the passenger train at Big Shanty, now Kennesaw Station, on the Western and Atlanta railroad, and used in their raid, is under the shed of the Union depot in Chattanooga.
At Grant Bark may be seen Fort Walker, erected after the war by L. B. Grant, the engineer who planned and supervised the construction of Atlanta’s formidable fortifications long before Sherman arrived within cannon-sound of the city. The fort is named in memory of W. H. R. Walker, the Confederate General killed in the battle of Atlanta. From this fort an excellent view may be had out over a portion of that field of battle. By train or trolley or automobile one may ride to Marietta in an hour and visit the National cemetery, one of the largest in the world, where 10,158 Union dead are buried. Ohio, Indiana and Illinois have the largest number of dead there.
On the way to Marietta the visitor crosses the Chattahoochee river at Bolton, where Sherman’s army attempted to cross and was repulsed early in July, 1864. Just beyond Marietta is Kennesaw Station, where Andrews’ raid began. There too, is Kennesaw Mountain, the scene of one of the fiercest battles in the Atlanta campaign.
In Atlanta are other houses which were standing during the siege and were not destroyed, for one reason or another, by Sherman’s men when they were abandoning the city. One of these is the Old Bount home, a brick cottage immediately adjoining the auditorium armory. There the old and the new are in vivid contrast. Mrs. Margaret Bount Kinsbrough, whose homo is the cottage, was born there, reared there and always lived there. She tells of a shell exploding in the front yard one afternoon. She has raised her children and grand children under the same roof. Across the street from this home is another war-time dwelling which Sherman’s men left. On the same side with the Bount house, down the street at the corner, is a third. Around the corner in the other direction are two others.
It was along the street at the outer side of the auditorium that the Lnion Army of the Tennessee marched into Atlanta after the city’s evacuation.
At the Carnegie Library may be seen a collection of original war-time photographs of Atlanta. There too, will be found published photographs taken in the Atlanta campaign during the siege. Government records, in printed form or maps and correspondence will furnish interesting study for one who would dig deeper into the war history of the city. “The Lost Cause” is but a memory; its last trumpet has died away upon the air; its last tattoo has beat; its cannon discounted; no longer boom forth even the funeral minute guns. Its starry cross flag, sanctified by the blood of the loved and brave, is cherished as a relic of a past day, glorious to fame, but forevermore departed. The reality of its existence was like that of its lone bark, the Alabama, which fearlessly went forth upon the world’s broad ocean, cleaving a way to historic glory, but, finding among all the nations no friendly fleet to join her, at last, before the guns of her enemy, went down beneath the stormy billows, carrying with her her power and her flag; but leaving behind her a name whose like the stars have never shone upon.