Georgia Postcard Collection: Athens Landmarks

For our third post about the Georgia postcard collection, we showcase two landmarks that define Athens. The first postcard shows Sanford Stadium at an earlier phase in its development. Renovations in the later half of the 1960s added the upper levels seen here. On the other hand, this shot, apparently taken from the east, clearly dates before the 1980s, when upper-level seats were added east of the end zone, giving the stadium a “horseshoe” shape. More excellent pictures of the stadium from these lean years before the football team’s stunning 1980 season can be found in the Floyd Jillson collection at the Atlanta History Center (at that page, type “Sanford Stadium” in the search box). A selection of photographs of the stadium through the years is available via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

According to the postcard, this photograph was taken by Mike Roberts. Assuming this is correct, this person is none other than the legendary “postcard king,” the subject of a biography published recently by his son. One of the countless other postcards featuring a Roberts photograph, in this case showing the San Francisco Bay Bridge, prompted an interesting story at a blog called Gardening Nirvana.

The second postcard shows the building that defines the Athens skyline, such as it is. Completed in 1915, it surpassed Athens’ first skyscraper, the Southern Mutual Insurance building (completed in 1908), in height. Home to the Holman Hotel for nearly four decades, since the 1960s the building has returned to its original function: office space, largely occupied by a series of banks: C & S, Nations Bank, and Bank of America. The postcard depicts the building when it was a hotel. The Heritage Room’s small collection of Holman Hotel material includes room keys, placemats, and reservation cards, among a variety of other items. We learn from that collection that the Holman Hotel Coffee Shop served country ham.

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