By Ann Taylor Boutwell
Oct. 1, 1912: Fifty students attended their very first day of school in Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Atlanta’s Fourth Ward. Contractor Robert E. Pharrow, a neighborhood resident, built the three-story structure, made partially with Stone Mountain granite. Rev. Michael Scherrer was the school’s first director. The first teachers were Bessie Rucker and Luella Holmes, two African American laywomen. The school closed in 2001, when the Archdiocese of Atlanta could no longer provide funding. It is now the Katharine Drexel Community Center, which includes church offices, Sunday school classrooms, a choir rehearsal hall, and the Drexel Institute for the Arts. It is also used as a parish hall. The current pastor is Rev. Jeffery M. Ott.
Oct 9-11, 1911: Forty-six years after the Civil War, the Old Guard of the Gate City Guard unveiled New York sculptor Allen George Newman’s Peace Monument at the 14th Street entrance to Piedmont Park.
Oct. 29, 1985: Andy Griffith, the man known as Opie’s dad and Mayberry’s sheriff, spent most of the day in Buckhead’s glitzy Limelight nightclub at 3330 Piedmont Road (today’s Kroger in Peachtree Piedmont Crossing shopping center) filming an NBC television movie called Matlock. “They tell me this is a wild place,” said Griffith said with an exaggerated drawl and a wink during a break in the filming. Matlock featured him as a country-style Atlanta lawyer. The movie was a hit and picked up as a series, which ran from 1986 to 1995.
Oct. 30, 1913: An impressive party crowd gathered for the opening of the 15-story Winecoff Hotel at 180 Peachtree. Designed by prolific New York architect William Lee Stoddart, the Winecoff would gain international recognition in 1946 when a fire claimed 119 lives – still the deadliest in US history. The born-again Winecoff reopened in October 2007 as the Ellis Hotel at 176 Peachtree. Stoddart also designed two other noted Peachtree buildings – the Georgian Terrace and Ponce de Leon Apartments. All are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Ann Taylor Boutwell is an Atlanta historian, tour guide and docent at the Margaret Mitchell House & Museum. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.