the neighbor across the street
"Its come up a storm"

Research

Dear Jo Cranford, Alderman at Large-

How inspiring it was to run across a familiar face on the City of Hapeville website. It's been four years since we graduated from Agnes Scott and I'm thrilled that you've found success as a leader in a community that's meaningful to us both. My first childhood home was near Hapeville, in the area formerly known as Mountain View.

I found your contact information on the web, but no mention of the city of Mountain View. I wonder if you can help further my research. It seems that resources on our little patch of Atlanta are scarce, and generally slanted towards promoting a romantic version of history (relics of Gone With the Wind) or a stale pitch for developers (A Great Place to Live Work and Play). As if we're all down here skiing on Lake Spivey, sporting bonnets and ballgowns, etc. Surely you remember my Mountain View- a lost city briefly located on the cusp of Clayton and Fulton County, notable only for its traffic cops and one exceptional doughnut shop.

I shouldn't have to sift through websites for evidence of an entire city, even if it did only exist for a period of 20 something years. I’d have better luck pinning down a myth. Plus, we have such stupid names around here. Before it was Mountain View, the village was called Rough and Ready, supposedly from Andrew Jackson's nickname. The Rough and Ready Tavern was a haven for Confederate rebels, just south of the burning capital city. Maybe the reconstructors during Reconstruction opted for a more hopeful name. You could see clear out to Stone Mountain’s dome, twenty miles to the east. Is it true that they trucked off the entire crest of red earth to form an airport runway? Can a city charter be revoked based on aesthetic devaluation? Disowned like a runaway daughter?

Even a train station, even a tavern, a woodpile, a water tank along the Macon & Western Railroad, a shapeless collection of industrial parks, needs a name. God only knows what the Creek Indians once called this footpath leading off to the holy mountain. Now that the smog often blocks the view, it's only fair that the name faded from maps. And even a stupid name needs a population stable enough recall it and pronounce it. Like Quick Station, then Forest Station, Stumptown, then Astor, then Forest Park. If there's no longer any mentionable Forest or Park, how do you say it in Vietnamese? or Haitian or Mexican?

I'm collecting evidence of these implications. Last weekend my Grandma gave me a newspaper clipping from The Clayton Neighbor, August 1976. "Natural Childbirth: Moms and Dads Stick Together in Clayton Delivery Rooms." My mother and father are pictured in the county's first Lamaze class. Dad is smooth and earnest, supporting my mom from behind. Mom's arms are plump in her ruffled peasant blouse. Her eyeglasses and belly are extravagantly round. "Jesse and Jayne Slagle Perform Exercise. Mountain View Couple is Taking Soromundi Course." They’re poster children for a progressive, wholesome community. For the onward and upward. I can't tell you how ghostly this photo is to me, knowing my sister is balled up inside that shirt; knowing my mom and dad are younger than I am now, and that they did not, in fact, stick together.

See, the city of Mountain View, like their marriage, dissolved shortly after that article was published. I have yet to unearth a trace of protest or regret about it. Mountain View lost its city charter in 1978, a year of tornadoes. Jayne and Jesse were forced out of the old Victorian they rented on Southwest Street when the whole block was scooped up by airport developers. The houses were hoisted out of their foundations, paraded down Highway 19/41 draped in solemn Wide Load banners.

Not that I'm that too sentimental about 133 Southwest Street. Memories of the place are easily confused with old photos I've seen- the cool back stoop, peeling linoleum in the kitchen, possibly a swingset. It’s the general pattern that is freaking me out. The first home of my childhood, the entire street where it stood and the very city of Mountain View have been erased from history. The airport absorbed my next house on Barnett Road in the ‘80s and our family home on Phillips Drive in the ‘90s.

The chainlink fence blocking Old Dixie Highway from what used to be Southwest Street is choked with kudzu and honeysuckle. You can slip through a number of body-sized punctures and hike the wide path of crumbling blacktop through old growth trees, directly under the bellies of low Deltas, their feet outstretched for landing. Crepe Myrtles mark the old mouths of driveways and roam out into the empty blocks like feral cats. You'd have to pick closely through the undergrowth for even a footnote of the families that once lived here.

And I do. Just like I search these strip malls for the ruins of a lost civilization. You can tell the playful rooftop arc of a pawnshop once covered an Arby's. Back when the simplest architectures had to be signifiers, visible from the highway. The letters CARPET once read CAROL'S, a hangout for some other generation. I see the original Harvest Gold paint and woodgrain panels of Winn Dixie peeking from behind the flags of Thailand and Yemen in the International Farmers’ Market. Is it so odd to mourn an Arby's or an old supermarket? Architectural sketches are the most recklessly optimistic art. Brisk pedestrians, cloudless skies, permanent springtime. Like the names of subdivisions. Like City-of websites. Like feel-good pieces in local newspapers.

Jo, I accept that you can never go home again. I've joked that Atlanta's city seal should read "First Come, First Served," but I love, truly love, Hapeville's motto, "Progress through Transport," and I've no choice but to claim it as my own. While I'm wholly in awe of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (2nd Busiest in the World) and its continued expansion, I wish someone would tell the story that I recognize. What is so hard about passing on certain historical facts? i.e. the year of the move, the year of the divorce, neighborhoods swallowed, digested, the mass exodus. The bargains struck for air rights, relocated properties. A new runway is built, and something massive, unique and ephemeral is cleared out. Why would shame blot out this information, when we all agree its for the best, for progress, and no one is to blame?

You were my cheery and dutiful class president in college; I’ve no doubt you’ll do good work as a member of Hapeville's City Council. The presence of one of my peers there brings me hope. I hope Hapeville rebounds and lives up to its idealistic website, all the sacrifices of progress repaid in full.

Yours Sincerely,
Hannah

Comments

Tom

I've been searching for information about Mountain View, too. I'm giving a talk on "The Lost Cities of Georgia" next week at the Genealogical Society of Clayton and Henry Counties. I grew up in Forest Park, and my dad worked for Delta, so I remember Mountain View. Problem is, until I found this website, I found little else but its name, and very little mention of that.

My 5th grade teacher's husband was the pastor of First Baptist Church of Mountain View, which was located just south of the water tower. I attended there for a while. I also recall being late to catch a flight to go on vacation one morning, and guess where we got pulled over! Amazingly, my father talked the Mountain View policeman out of the ticket! My brother went to school at Mountain View Elementary for a while. It was right next to the fire station (which has now moved to Old Dixie Highway). Another memory was the guy in the black community who put up the contrived flagpole with an American flag on top to protest the airplanes flying over.

I took a drive through Mountain View after work a couple of days ago. Most of the side streets of of Old Dixie and Conley Road are now dumping grounds. A few For Sale signs are there, but, evidently, no takers. There seems to be two homes along Conley Road that are still occupied, but that's about it.

Does anyone out there know:
1. When Mountain View was incorporated?
2. How it lost its incorporation (I've heard stories, but that was a long time ago.)?
3. When the homes were moved out, and when the conveyor belt moved all the dirt south of Aviation Boulevard across I-75 as fill for the new runway?
4. Anything else about Mountain View?

Thanks,
Tom

S. Lyle

Hi,

I was born and raised in Mt. View, Ga., along with two sisters and three brothers. We all attended elementary school there as far back as the early 1940's and thru the 1960's. I had elementary teachers in the sixties who taught my oldest siblings in the forties.

In retrospect, those were heavenly days and a great community for a child to grow up. With Hapeville and Forest Park on either side, we had it all in Mt. View.

Feel free to email me for any additional information.

There are big plans in the works for Mt. View. However, the historical society has been a bit of a damper for those big plans, but I am sure progress will prevail.

S.

LIEUTENANT W.B WEBBER {RETIRED}

WOW SO MUCH DISINFORMATION ON THECITY OF MT VIEW GA! HOLD YOUR HAT , I WAS A POLICE OFFICER THERE FROM 1972 -75 I AM A CERTFIED POLICE OFFICER AND GRADUATED THE GEORGIA POLICE ACADEMY 114 HR FEDERAL MANDATE.THE CITY OF MT. VIEW WAS INVESTIGATED BY THE F.B.I. AND G.B.I AND THEE CONCLUSION WAS THAT THE POLICE DEPT WAS A VERY AGRESSIVE DEPT, BUT WHIN IN THE LAW, I SUPPOSE THOSE WHO WERE CONNNECTED TO THEGOOD -OLE BOY NETWORK OF CLAYTON COUNTY WERE AS MUCH TO BLAME AS ANYBODY CAUSINGTHE CITY TO LOSE ITS CHARTER.I AM SURE SOME WERE DSGRUNLED I KNOW ONE J.P I GAVE A TICKET TO FOR PASSING ON A DOUBLE YELLOW LINE WAS LIVIDHOW DARE I WRITE HIM OR EVEN STOP HIM , HECK I DIDNT KNOW WHO HE WAS , BUT HE WASNT ABOVE THE LAW!SO LATERAFTER RAY KING WAS MAYOR OF MT. VIEW THEREAL TROUBLE STARTED WHEN HEHAD THE CITY DECALS ON ALL CITY VECH WITH THE SLOGAN {MT. VIEW THE GATEWAY TO CLAYTON COUNTY AND TARA!!!!!
THAT STARTED A POLITCAL WAR THAT FNNALLY CAUSED THE LOSS OF THE CHARTER. ALSO THERE WAS A FUED BETWENN RAY KIN MAYOR AND ALBERT SOSSBEE COUNCIL MEMBER WHO REALLY THOUGHT HE RAN THE CITY OF MT. VIEW , I LEFT BEFORE ALL THAT BUTI UNDERSTAND THEY WENT ALL THE WAY TO THE SUPREME COURT ON THERE FIGHT, RAY KING LOST AND WENT O THE PEN,NOW COMES THE GOOD OLEBOY NET WORK OF CLAYTON COUNTY, PEOPLE LIKE THE SHERIFF, THE CAPTAIN WHO STOLE A POLICE OFFICER OF MT. VIEW WEAPON, AND OF COURSE THE MOST NORTIOUS D/A IN GEORGIA WILLIAM ICE MAN ISON, . WHO TRIED AINNCONET POLICE OFFCER AND REFUSED HIM PROTECTION AND TOLD THE CLAYTON COUNTY BONDSMEN NOTTO BAIL HIM OUT OF JAIL LET THE JAILBIRDS KILL HIM WAS HIS COMMENT!!! THE FORMER CHIEF OF POLICE ED FOWLER GOT THE CITY MANY GRANTS AND MADE SURE THE POLICE OFFICERS WERE TRAINED AND WENT TO THE ACADEMY. HE WAS KILLED IN HIS STORE ON CHRISTMAS NIGHT SHOT IN THE HEAD AND HIS SON ALSO KILLED. SO I KNOW A BIT ABOUT THE CITY I WAS THERE .

Poor White Trisha

This is from what i peiced together from my grandparents and a few googled legal breifs.I was 5 in 1978 so If anythings missing, fill it in..

Apparently Mayor Ray King and a deputy were investigated and convicted of violating a prisoners civil rights in the lockup and trying to plant evidence, in 1978. That, along with the speedtraps and the irking the state legislature by selling liquor licenses( the anyone with the cash) in an otherwise dry county, was all the state legislature(re:powerful Terrell star and Bill Lee) needed to revoke the charter..it was convenient that it coincided with the deal with the city of atlanta to condemn and purchase all the residential land because guess who got paid for the infrastructure serving the homes? Clayton County ..since they had just had the city de-chartered and disolved . I never liked the place, we grew up in Riverdale and my granny lived in forest park..mtn view was considered the "bad side of the tracks" to my granny when we stayed with her on weekends. Now lake city barely exists and riverdale is like a cambodian slum..times change.

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