Secret Blight
Bury me in red clay

Drinking at the Airport


Last weekend I visited my Grandma for Thanksgiving and we ended up talking about the years when the family lived in Riverdale (in the luridly-named subdivision Villa Rouge) and how she could stand in the back yard and wave at the passengers on incoming flights. She shared this detail with a tinge of pride, which made me think of how differently our generations regard the prestige of air travel, our proximity to jet fuel and "Progress" and all that.

She also told me there was a time in the '60s when you could get a cocktail on one side of the airport but not the other. Even then, the airport sprawled across both Clayton and Fulton County and parts of the City of Atlanta, College Park and Hapeville. Maybe Mountain View too. It seems like within the same compound, opposing blue laws were enforced... a tricky political situation, to say the least. Does anyone remember this?


(Segmented city, as seen by the Atlanta Regional Commission)

Which all brings to mind a number of head-scratchers:

  • Who owns the airport? Who profits from it?
  • How much can the demise of Mountain View be contributed to provoking the ire of the Clayton County Commission by rewriting their charter to allow alcohol sales in an otherwise dry county? Was it an economic issue masquerading as a moral issue? (The economics and morality of booze retail are still hotly debated in Georgia.)
  • How do competing municipal interests continue to stall/complicate sprawling city-wide transportation initiatives (the Beltline, marta)?
  • Where is this Villa Rouge, and who lives there now?


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