Arthur MurrayBy Ann Boutwell

March 1, 2003: Imagine it! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta opened at 275 Centennial Park Drive. Housed on the ground floor of the 25-story Museum Tower condominiums, the Children’s Museum transports visitors into a different world in one big room, carpeted and colorfully designed.

March 3, 1991: Entrepreneur Arthur Murray died today in Honolulu. His name was a household word with the chain of dance schools he founded early in the 20th century. By 1917, local Atlanta newspapers published his well-read columns on the dos and don’ts of fashionable dance. At age 24, he moved to Atlanta in 1919 and enrolled in Georgia Tech’s business administration program. At the Georgia Terrace Hotel, he launched Saturday soirees for young people and taught ballroom dancing in the hotel’s Grill Room. On March 27, 1920, Murray arranged a roof top radio dance party for about 150 dancers, mostly Tech students, at the city’s prestigious Capital City Club. It was the first times dance music was transmitted live from a radio station. In February 1922, Murray formally opened his new dancing school at Peachtree and Third streets.

March 14-15, 1956: Elvis Presley sang “Heartbreak Hotel” to throngs of twittering teens at three shows daily at the Fox Theater. Many were turned away from the sell out performances.

March 15, 1903: The Lutheran Church of the Redeemer is organized. It is the first-English speaking Lutheran Church in the city. The first church building opened August 1905 on Trinity Avenue and Capitol Place, near the State Capitol. In the 1930s the church acquired the old Thomas Clarke home on the southeast corner of Peachtree and Fourth Street where the church stands today.

March 16, 1922: L.W. Rogers Realty and Trust Company bought a tract of land on the east side of Highland Avenue at the intersection of Virginia Avenue. O. F. Kauffman, the civil engineer who planned Druid Hills and Ansley Park, put his touch on this neighborhood, which would eventually become known as Virginia-Highland.

March 23, 1871: Irish-born Daniel E Lynch of Tallulah Fire Company No 3 died while en route to a fire at T.B. Archer stables on South Broad Street. When the heavy engine turned at Hunter Street, Lynch stumbled and the engine passed over his body. Thirty-year-old Lynch was the city’s first volunteer fireman to die while fighting a blaze. He owned Le Bon Ton saloon on Peachtree Street and is buried in the Tallulah Fire Company’s lot at Oakland Cemetery.

March 24, 2001: The film version of Atlanta kindergarten teacher and playwright Margaret Edson’s Wit, premiered on HBO. The Pulitzer Prize-winning drama tells the story of college professor’s (played by Emma Thompson) final battle with ovarian cancer.

March 28, 1937: Fulton County and Atlanta City Council authorized the widening of Peachtree Street in the shopping district between 10th and 11th Streets. By May 1937, the Atlanta City Council street committee unanimously approved of Georgia Power’s replacing streetcars with trackless trolleys.

March 30, 1869: The city purchased 47 acres of greenspace on Marietta Street to develop Oglethorpe Park. In 1881, the land was adapted to accommodate the International Cotton Exposition of 1881. Following the Exposition’s closing on Dec. 31, 1881, the site became an industrial cotton mill.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

2 replies on “A Look Back”

  1. RE: Ann Boutwell’s column. I was intrigued with the item about the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer being the first English language Lutheran Church in Atlanta. That, of course, causes me to ask about German or Swedish or some other language churches in Atlanta. Were there any?

    Robert Shuford

  2. Dear Robert Shuford, pardon delay just read your email.
    Research from Our Beginnings in Atlanta, by Herman W. Boozer, published by the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer shows there were several attemps to established a Lutheran congregation in Atlanta
    before the Civil War. While interesting history the churches were not successful.
    Boozer said, “Not until after the Civil Ward did Atlanta get its first Lutheran congregation–a German language one. Newcomers to Atlanta arrived from eyverywhere. And in 1869 a group of Germans in Atlanta organized “Die Deutsche Lutherische Gemeinde” (the present St. John’s Lutheran Church of Atlanta). This was an independent congregation, not connected with any synodical body. Its services were all conducted in the German language–and Lutherans lacking fluency in German were not “at home” there.
    Also check out Franklin Garrett’s Atlanta and Environs.

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