By Ann Taylor Boutwell
Dec. 1, 1934: The National Weather Service opens its headquarters at Atlanta Municipal Airport, which is now Hartsfield-Jackson. The NSW now has its headquarters in Peachtree City.
Dec. 3, 1929: The Fifth District Federation of Women’s Clubs planted a willow oak tree on the grounds of the executive mansion in Ansley Park, honoring Gov. Lamartine Hardman. He served from 1927 to 1931. After two unsuccessful attempts in 1914 and 1916, Hardman was elected governor in 1926, becoming the state’s oldest elected governor at the age of 71. Two years later he was elected for a second term. Hardman was a successful physician, entrepreneur, and farmer from Jackson County. As governor, Hardman advocated a businesslike administration of the state’s government and was best known for his effort to make governmental processes more efficient.
Dec. 4, 1925: Oklahoma’s favorite son and American humorist Will Rogers made his first appearance in Atlanta at Wesley Memorial Hall. He was one of the most famous American media stars during the 1920s and 1930s.
Dec. 4, 1982: Herschel Walker was named winner of the 48th Heisman trophy by the Downtown Athletic Club of New York. The University of Georgia student announced he would remain in school his senior year rather than turning pro.
Dec 10, 1936: Scots-American preacher Rev. Peter Marshall, pastor of the Westminster Presbyterian church located on Ponce de Leon Avenue and Boulevard, addressed the Business and Professional Women’s Club at the monthly dinner meeting held at the Woman’s Club on Peachtree Street. Later Marshall became pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. and twice appointed as Chaplain of the United States Senate. He is remembered popularly from the success of A Man Called Peter (1951), a biography of him written by his widow, Catherine Marshall, made into a film in 1955, which was nominated for an Academy Award for its cinematography.
Dec. 13, 1989: The film version of local playwright Alfred Uhry’s Driving Miss Daisy opens. The film, shot in and around Atlanta, would go on to win star Jessica Tandy a best actress Oscar and Uhry a trophy for best adapted screenplay.
Dec. 15, 1961: Time magazine’s cover featured an illustration of the flagship Rich’s in Downtown with the giant Christmas tree atop the Crystal Bridge that connected the wings of the department store. The lighting of the tree continues every year at Macy’s at Lenox Square.
Dec. 25, 1929: The Fox Theatre opened on Peachtree Street.
Dec. 31, 1895: The Cotton States and International Exposition, designed to promote the region to the world and showcase innovations in agriculture and technology, closes after 100 days and nearly 800,000 visitors. The site would later become Piedmont Park.