Lila and Brennan enjoyed a recent tour of Atlanta graffiti and we’ve been loosely planning a nice Sunday trespass of the blighted acres of College Park. She proposed that we start a European style neighborhood “walking club” or volksmarch. Then Christy’s guide to Poncey-Highland got me thinking about other walking tours we could organize this Spring and this photo project on abandoned houses renewed my infatuation with crummy ATL. Like a Tour of Homes & Gardens, we’d have a theme, a docent and a map of points of interest. Choose from these exciting hikes:
photo from Urban Hiking Atlanta's Beltline Tour
Does kudzu blossom? What’s native and what’s a weed? This walk would teach you to distinguish all the exploding dogwoods from the cherry and tulip trees, gardenias, azaleas, camellias, lilacs, wisteria, lilies, honeysuckle, forsythia, etc.
Meet at: Connolly Nature Preserve
Tour led by: Mom? Or Rashid, my "personal farmer."
There’s something sneaky and romantic about walking on train tracks. And you could learn the whole history of Atlanta by studying the railroads. I wonder what’s in all those train cars that pass through East Point? We probably don’t really want to know.
Meet at: Corner Tavern
Tour led by: Grizzled CSX veteran in striped overalls.
Faux Castles of EP
The tri-cities has a high concentration of homemade starter castles. Rooflines of crenelated cinder block and mini turrets and concrete lions guarding entryways. Let’s map them and ask the homeowners what they were thinking.
Meet at: Arden's Garden
Houses of Worship
We could visit 15 churches in 2 square miles of downtown East Point. I’m curious about the music and hairstyles. Why are churches so secret-looking and closed off?
Meet at: Church Street and Washington Ave
Tour led by: Me
Hot Wing Tasting
You can get hot wings at almost every restaurant on Main Street. They even sell hot wings at Taco Pete. But are they any good?
Meet at: VFW
Tour led by: Mug
My neighbors told me that they bid $1500 on a cute little forclosure property on our block. The winning bid was $2000. With taxes and auction fees, the house cost around $5K. Not to shame anybody, but I’d be curious to know what other houses around here are selling for less than I spent on closing costs.
Meet at: My house, apparently
Tour led by: A real estate agent?
I’m kind of kidding about this one. I just think my neighbor is selling drugs because shifty looking people come from far and wide to bang on his door. Where do they come from– the drugs and the users? Can this be mapped?
Meet at: Also my house
Tour led by: My neighbor
There are a few spots in College Park where it seems like you could reach up and touch the bellies of departing planes. Bring ear plugs.
Meet at: M & R Thrift Store
East Point has a few forgotten/overgrown cemeteries that you could miss unless you were looking for them. Both Roseland and Hillcrest are now maintained by non-profits after years of neglect. And there’s a mysterious row of graves off Cleveland Ave, isolated in a loop off I-75, that's been bugging me for years.
Meet at: Hillcrest Cemetary
Tour led by: EP Historical Society guy
Repurposed Fast Food Architecture
You can always tell what used to be a Burger King, Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen or Zesto. Okay, Zesto isn't as obvious, but still. Learn the fascinating history of corporate fast food restaurants that are now independent eateries.
Meet at: Former Taco Bell on Washington Ave