Birthplace of Country Music Facing Demolition to Make Way for Margaritaville
The historic building that served as the recording location for the first-ever hit country song is being threatened with demolition to make way for a new Atlanta location of Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville.
In 1923, local Atlanta radio star Fiddlin' John Carson went into the studio to record "The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" for Okeh Records’ Ralph Peer. The building at 152 Nassau Street in Atlanta where that session took place has survived nearly a century of development and a 2008 tornado that flattened a building right across the street, but according to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the structure is now set for demolition as part of a larger deal that includes a new Margaritaville and a $100 million hotel.
Plans for the space include a 21-story Margaritaville hotel that would also serve as a timeshare and restaurant. An Atlanta-based architect and preservationist named Kyle Kessler has been leading a preservation campaign to save the building since 2017.
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According to AJC, the city struck a deal with developers after they threatened to sue over the idea that the site would be recognized as a historic location, saying they had already begun the application process for development. The city gave the developers a "golden ticket" to develop the site if they also agreed to build a Wyndham hotel in Atlanta that stands at least 10 stories tall and costs at least $100 million to build.
Developers have refused requests to incorporate the old building into the new site as a historic gift shop or music venue, and AJC reports that the wiring has already been removed, and that "a crew from Charleston-based LowCountry Demolition began gutting the historic building's interior Tuesday."
Kessler has started a petition at Change.org to try to save the building, and he tells the Journal-Constitution that he will physically stand between the demolition equipment and the building if necessary. His petition has so far garnered 8,570 signatures. As of Wednesday (July 31), it appears the demolition will move forward as planned.
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