July 21, 2011 Slideshows » News & Views

Share on Facebook
Tweet
Submit to Reddit
Email

A photo tour of Fort McPherson before its closure 

Joeff Davis
Fort McPherson's Staff Row, Troop Row and Parade Ground, all of which were built in the late 1800s, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Pictured here are the former barracks along Troop Row. Prior to its conversion into offices, soldiers slept in bunk beds in its vast rooms.
Fort McPherson Public Affairs Office
In this photo from 1917, German solider prisoners stand along Troop Row between a mess hall and barracks.
Joeff Davis
Hedekin Field, the 13-acre polo and parade ground located between Staff and Troop Rows, is named in honor of Capt. David Hedekin, the aide-de-camp to Brig. Gen. Robert Van Horn, Fort McPherson's commanding general from 1934 until 1941. Hedekin was fatally injured during a polo match at Fort Oglethorpe. According to an army spokesman, horses were part of life on Fort McPherson until World War I. Polo was played on Hedekin Field as recently as last year.
Fort McPherson Public Affairs Office
German prisoners watch troops conduct drills on Hedekin Field in this photo from 1917.
Joeff Davis
Even in the final months before Fort McPherson's closure, traditions are followed. Twice a day this cannon located at the end of the parade field is fired. at 6:30 a.m. It is fired on the first note of "Reveille" bugle call, which is played as the flag is raised. The second time is at 5 p.m. The cannon is fired after the playing of "To the Colors" and on the first note of "Retreat," which is played as the flag is lowered.
Joeff Davis
Built in 1889, Van Horn Hall was originally the post headquarters and housed offices for the commander and other top officers in addition to mail services, a library and a court martial room.
Fort McPherson Public Affairs Office
In 1957, Van Horn Hall was used for office space for the Staff Judge Advocate.
Joeff Davis
The highlight of Staff Row, where the officers' quarters were located, are the majestic red-and-brick homes. Post commanders, including Gen. Colin Powell, lived in Quarters 10, pictured here.
Fort McPherson Public Affairs Office
According to military literature, the wife of General Douglas McArthur, who served as post commander for a few months in 1925, refused to live in Quarters 10, causing the couple to rent an apartment near the Fox Theatre. A sleeping porch was added in 1935 for President Franklin Roosevelt when he stayed at the base during his travels to Warm Springs, Ga., for therapy.
Fort McPherson Public Affairs Office
Larger homes along Staff Row were reserved for four-star commanders. Others didn't have it that bad -- more than 10 homes are spacious, 4,000-square-foot duplexes.
Joeff Davis
Thanks to the historic designation, the exterior of the homes look nearly identical to the way they appeared in the 1890s, when they were built.
Joeff Davis
Yellow ribbons are tied in front of homes along Staff Row, all of which are unoccupied in preparation for the base closure, to honor troops fighting overseas. American flags fly outside each residence, an army spokesman says, because it's "Fort McPherson tradition."
Joeff Davis
Since becoming a base in the late 1880s, Fort McPherson evolved into a mini-city. In addition to a bowling alley, fitness center, two credit unions, 18-hole golf course, commissary and veterinarian, the base had a theater. Local community groups have urged the state authority tasked with overseeing the fort's redevelopment to keep some facilities open for nearby retired military personnel and residents.
Joeff Davis
According to military literature, Confederate soldiers, who controlled Fort McPherson during the Civil War, attempted to burn the base's cartridge factory and some barracks during the Battle of Atlanta.
Georgia Stand-Up
Mike Dobbins, a Georgia Tech professor and former Atlanta planning commissioner, conducted a study for Georgia Stand-Up, a community think tank, to determine how the base's redevelopment could help the massive property integrate with the surrounding neighborhoods.
Joeff Davis
Deontay Harris, who lives near Fort McPherson, said he hopes that the base's redevelopment brings new jobs for the long-impoverished community. "I would not want to see it just torn down and left there," he says.
Joeff Davis
The base entrance on Campbellton Road was closed for security reasons after the 9/11 attacks. Local residents say that move, while understandable, hurt businesses along the street, which some community advocates say was once the "Peachtree Street of southwest Atlanta." Military officials would instead drive to other parts of town or East Point to go shopping for off-base needs. Dobbins and Georgia Stand-Up have urged the state authority to not only open the gate, but tear down all the walls surrounding Fort McPherson.
Joeff Davis
Tineshia Manuel, whose father worked at Fort McPherson, has lived outside its gates for 13 years. She'd like to see it developed into a mixed-use area similar to Atlantic Station, which is one-fourth the base's size. "We have to drive 15 minutes to the nearest Publix and 20 minutes to the nearest Wal-Mart," she says. She hopes the base brings jobs -- but not condos that won’t be filled.
Georgia Stand-Up
Red circles mark possible future connections between the 488-acre property and surrounding neighborhoods.
Joeff Davis
By law, the army must leave Fort McPherson by Sept. 15. Most of its personnel will be relocated to Fort Bragg, N.C.
2/20
Fort McPherson Public Affairs Office
In this photo from 1917, German solider prisoners stand along Troop Row between a mess hall and barracks.
Play Slideshow

Related Stories

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

© 2016 Creative Loafing Atlanta
Powered by Foundation