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As surprising as it sounds, Atlanta remains chock-full of historic sites, inspiring spaces and people who care about them. This year, the Atlanta Preservation Center celebrates them March 4–26 with 270+ free tours of 99 places all over Atlanta.

And we really need to celebrate. Preservation can be a heartbreaking profession, a depressing hobby. Even the “easy ones” are hard. Is it ironic that on March 5 — the second day of Phoenix Flies — we are imploding the 1965 Georgia Archives building, a 14-story, 52-year-old landmark? We’ll use the demolition to make our case.

Despite our setbacks, we have more to celebrate. Increased tax credits and historical easements help more than ever. Social media is making it possible to appeal to folks who aren’t typically associated with traditional preservation organizations. Thanks to those new efforts, the successes are piling up: Trio Laundry, the Breuer Library, Bell Building and Engineers Bookstore have all been saved in the past calendar year, a testament to the power of social media.

First, before you start — Terry’s pro-tips:

  1. Get the updated schedule.
  2. Get the book, which is available from guides, the Atlanta Preservation Center and tour sites. Within it is an entire list of tours, schedules and pertinent R.S.V.P. information. (It’s also a useful souvenir.)
  3. Use these tags and hashtags on Twitter and Instagram: #PhoenixFlies #PreserveATL @preserveATL (and follow them on Facebook).
  4. Daily schedules group nearby tours, so you can usually see several places in one walk.
  5. Keep after it: you have 26 days. (Go ahead and make plans for next year!)

Here are some of our highlights from the next three weeks of programming:

Terry’s most breathtaking spaces

The interior of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, one of Terry's highlighted spaces.

The interior of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, one of Terry’s highlighted spaces.

Ponce Condominium rooftop #27 — Belvederes with the grandest Midtown views!

First Presbyterian Church #36 — Tiffany windows and grand spaces.

Fulton Cotton Mill #40 Atlanta’s grandest industrial reuse. (See rooftop decks.)

The Healey Building #49  Get a glimpse into Gothic living downtown circa 1914.

MARTA Modern #62 — It may look minimal, but it’s rocket science! 

Peachtree Christian Church #69 — This church has a knockout ceiling with stained glass for miles.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church #80 — An architectural gem featuring stained glass, a glorious organ and my favorite mural.


Photo by Ren & Helen Davis, courtesy the Historic Oakland Foundation.

(Photo by Ren & Helen Davis, courtesy of the Historic Oakland Foundation.)

Westview Cemetery #39 — This location offers guided and self-guided tours. (The chapel is in the mausoleum; both are overwhelmingly stunning.)

Oakland Cemetery #50 — Chock-full of Atlanta history — it never disappoints!

Southview Cemetery #52 — Their musically themed tour is unforgettable. This cemetery is also the final resting place for over 80,000 African Americans.

Sylvester Cemetery #52 — This is one of East Atlanta’s most historic gems.

Utoy Cemetery #91 — From Utoy Creek Battlefield to Utoy Cemetery.

Great walks


Midtown Public Art Walking Tour #46 — Artist and historian Gregor Turk gives a great tour — he’ll find all the gems for you.

Historic Westside Cultural Arts Council #55 — This stroll takes interested parties through Vine City to English Avenue.

Doll’s Head Trail Tour #56 — In which a grassroots community reveals a gem.

Historic Howell Station #57 — Charming cottage community you never knew about. Shhh . . .

Trees Atlanta #89 — This promenade actually features two walks: Cascade Springs and Sylvan Hills.

Great talks

Interior of the Central Atlanta Library, designed by Marcel Breuer. Image courtesy Michael Kahn.

Interior of the Central Atlanta Library, designed by Marcel Breuer. (Image courtesy of Michael Kahn.)

Central Library Movie and Tour #04 — The Breuer library was saved with the help of grassroots action and social media.

Atlanta’s Upper Westside #14 — Featuring “Riverside Kate.”

Burns Club of Atlanta #21 — “Warning: Poetry and bagpipes may break out.”

Historic Preservation Tax Incentives #51 — In which we discuss saving more by, well, saving more.

Two Iconic Residential Gardens #58 — Featuring gardens at homes designed by Shutze and Reid.

Growing the Preservation Community #86 — That’s me and that’s us.

Lastly, please take pictures, tag #PhoenixFlies and say hey if you see me. (Editor’s note: See Terry, below.) 

Terry Kearns, for reference.

Terry Kearns, for reference.

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