A guide leads a tour of historic Westview Cemetery.
A guide leads a tour of historic Westview Cemetery.

By Collin Kelley
INtown Editor

Atlanta has a reputation for tearing down the old to make way for the new, but there are still hundreds of historic sites in metro Atlanta and they will be open for tours and special events during The Phoenix Flies presented by the Atlanta Preservation Center.

There are 237 events during this year’s annual event, which runs March 8 – 23, taking place in buildings, landscapes and neighborhoods around the city, according to coordinator Carolyn McLaughlin.

“We’ve added 30 events this year,” McLaughlin said, “and we’re expecting 4,000 to 6,000 people to take part in this year’s celebration.”

The Glenn Hotel in Downtown is on this year’s tour.

The Phoenix Flies includes guided walking tours, bicycle tours, exhibits, interactive children’s activities and visual and performing arts. Notable events include the Atlanta History Center’s tours of Kenan Research Center, Atlanta Preservation Center’s Guided Walking Tours of Historic Atlanta, open houses at the antebellum LP Grant Mansion, the Atlanta Urban Design Commission’s tours of historic City Hall, Callanwolde Fine Arts Center’s guided tours of the 1920s mansion and grounds, Piedmont Park Conservancy’s history tours of Piedmont Park, Whittier Mill Village Neighborhood Association’s neighborhood house tour and Wren’s Nest house tours and storytelling.

Some of the new events for 2014 include:

  • Guided tours of the Atlanta Curb Market, Glenn Hotel and the Tabernacle.
  • Visits to Return to Rich’s at The Breman Museum led by a curator of the exhibit.
  • Self-guided, guided and bicycle tours of Westview Cemetery, a private cemetery which dates from 1884, which is the resting place of many important Atlantans.
  • An afternoon in Ansley Park with guided tours of the Piedmont Driving Club and the Daughters of the American Revolution Building.
  • Lectures on the National Register and preservation tax benefits by the Historic Preservation Division, Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Easements Atlanta.
A tour of English Avenue, one of west Atlanta’s most historic neighborhoods.

Complete event listings are available at PreserveAtlanta.com. All events are offered on a first-come, first-served basis but many events require reservations, so be sure to check the website and secure your spot.

McLaughlin said the Atlanta Preservation Center raises all funds necessary to produce and publicize the event with private donations, sponsorships and grants.

Phoenix Flies got its start in 2003 as a way to mark the 25th anniversary of the saving of the Fox Theatre, an event that is used to mark the beginning of Atlanta’s preservation movement.

“That first year we had 40 events and 16 preservation partners, now we have nearly 240 events and 83 partners,” McLaughlin noted.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

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