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December 2009

Secret Blight

(photo from Lilacina)

Last weekend we hopped the roadblocks and biked around the 42 acres of contested land by the airport. The city of Atlanta bought it in the '70s as a buffer zone and removed the houses. It's been cultivating kudzu ever sense.

Lost highway

It was weird and magical to see these long stretches of land quarantined from the city– and to think that they were once neighborhoods. College Park sees it as a big hole in their tax map. Re-development might mean a parking lot or warehouses. But we were dreaming of a way to keep it green and off the grid... like an urban farm or a park with a swimming hole.


All that kudzu, looking apocalyptic in the nicest way, maybe inspired our dreaming.

Stumptown: The Book


Through a series of intricate "small world" connections, we discovered that our neighbor is from Forest Park. Did we know there's a book about Forest Park? she asked. No we did not. She let us borrow her copy. It was a thrill to find it in our mailbox. It's official! I thought, Our story!

The book is from Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series. It was published for the 150th birthday of our hometown.

I was impressed by the production quality– perfect bound, matte finish, stately colors and slick design throughout. The book has lots of great old photos and follows the history of a few original Clayton County families who kept good records. The writing seemed vaguely promotional and focused on the heyday of white Forest Park. The final chapter is called "The Final Chapter," as if the city itself had a beginning, middle and end.

It didn't take me long to figure out that this was a publishing template, written by proud locals. And while I found the history exciting, this doesn't seem to be the final word. There was nothing about the encroaching airport and white exodus. I didn't really see my story anywhere in there... the book I want to read about Forest Park is still unwritten.

Oxford_arcadia InmanPark_arcadia GLAtlanta_arcadia

Now I'm seeing these books everywhere. The Oxford & Ole Miss edition at Square Books. The Inman Park edition for sale at a coffee shop. And last night, at a special table at Barnes & Noble, one called Gay and Lesbian Atlanta.

It made me think this would be a funny way to tell the story of Mountain View. There is something magical about book making– the finished thing in your hands feels timeless and legitimate. Like, if there's a book about it, it must be real.