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Friday, May 1, 2009

Grazing: First Look: Livingston

click to enlarge GREEN WITH ENVY: The pea soup at Livingston
  • GREEN WITH ENVY: The pea soup at Livingston

Atlanta is not a city that’s been kind to its own past. Having made the mythological Phoenix its logo to describe its own recovery from the fire of the Civil War, the city has been on a constant rebuilding campaign ever since.

I’m not talking about antebellum architecture alone – most of that was indeed destroyed in the war – but much of the architecture of the early 20th century has been razed, too. I well recall in the 1970s that Southern Bell planned to purchase and destroy the Fox Theatre to build its headquarters. Only a last-minute effort by an organization of preservationists, Atlanta Landmarks, saved it.

The hotel across the street, the Georgian Terrace, is actually older than the Fox, which opened in the ‘20s as a Yaarab shrine. The Georgian Terrace opened in 1911 and is famous for hosting guests of the 1939 premiere of Gone with the Wind.

The hotel has been up and down over the years, at one point becoming apartments. It is now at the end of an expensive renovation that has turned public areas, at least, into breathtaking spaces. This includes the new restaurant, Livingston (659 Peachtree St., 404-897-5000), named after Livingston Sims, Atlanta’s mayor from 1901 to 1903. According to press material, Sims was an avid gastronome and the Georgian Terrace was built on the site of his home.

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(Photo by James Camp)

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