A Look Back

Ann BoutwellBy Ann Boutwell

April 2, 2009: Starlight Six Drive-In Theatres celebrated its 60th birthday. The drive-in, which opened in 1949 at 2000 Moreland Ave., is still open seven days a week, 364 days a year.  Check out what’s now playing at www.starlightdrivein.com.

April 3, 1997: City leaders unveiled the new street signs for Hank Aaron Drive, changing a stretch of Capitol Avenue from Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard to McDonough Boulevard to honor the baseball legend and Turner Field.

April 4, 1943: The Atlanta Historical Society opened its new headquarters at 579 Peachtree St. in the Erlanger Theatre building (demolished in 1995). The opening exhibit was a chronological display of historic city pictures. Ruth Blair, the society’s executive secretary, said the collection comprised 250 historical pictures, many from the noted work of Horace Bradley (1862-1896) one of Atlanta’s first artists to attain international recognition in Harpers Weekly magazine.

April 10, 1914: Automobile owners faced a higher gasoline price of 40 cents per gallon.

April 24, 1927: South Carolina native Joseph Francis Burke died at his home at 80 Peachtree Place at the corner of Crescent Avenue. The 81-year-old city pioneer was the distinguished commander of Atlanta’s Old Guard of the Gate City Guard. In 1910, the Old Guard planned the erection of Piedmont Park’s Confederate Peace monument at Burke’s mansion, demolished in 1950, to make way for the new red-brick Fulton National Bank Building, which stands vacant on the site. Burke is buried in Oakland Cemetery.

April 25, 1926: Eighteen years after his death, the family of Joel Chandler Harris gave his original writings to Emory University. Uncle Remus and many of his other tales first appeared in The Atlanta Constitution, where Harris was an editor. The popularity of his stories of African-American folklore quickly spread through the United States as well as other countries. Harris’ great-great-great grandson, Lain Shakespeare, is now executive director of the writer’s beloved home, The Wren’s Nest.

April 29, 1990: Culinary diva Julia Child warbled “bon appétit” as she signed her book The Way to Cook at the Hyatt Ravinia Hotel, now Crowne Plaza Ravinia. The American Institute of Wine & Food, of which Child was a founding member, hosted the cheese-tasting event. Child captured America’s fancy in the early 1960s with her cooking show, The French Chef, and two cookbooks, Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. 1 and 2. The book and film, Julie & Julia, has reignited interest in Child, who died in 2004.

Contact Ann at annboutwell@bellsouth.net.

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