A version of this column ran in March 2000.
A while back, somebody wrote that “You’re Old Atlanta if you remember such things as ... ”
Field trips at Mathis Dairy and milking Rosebud.
Standing at one end of Buckhead and seeing the other end.
The Atlanta Flames, Officer Don, Johnny Beckman, Guy Sharpe and the Pink Pig at Rich’s downtown.
They might also add that street cars ran all around Atlanta and its suburbs, unlike the newer version that travels only a short loop.
Naturally, all that provided inspiration for “You’re Old Hall County if you remember ...”
When the Dixie-Hunt really was a hotel and site for civic club meetings, coffee at Dixie Drugs and haircuts at Brogdon’s (later Hooper-Leckie) Barber Shop.
When Jimmy Wood ran the Standard Oil station at the corner of Broad and Main in Gainesville, and Jimmy Caras operated the Mayflower Café on the opposite corner.
When the Avion Motel and Restaurant was a cruising pit stop near where Jesse Jewell Parkway and E.E. Butler Parkway intersect today.
When Nicholson’s Drive-In served the same purpose on Atlanta Highway.
When Gainesville’s square was really round, and cruisers circled it for hours or backed their cars into parking spaces, sat on their trunks and watched other cruisers.
When Oakwood, Clermont, Lula, Sardis, River Bend, Airline and other communities had their own high schools.
When Blackshear Place was “out in the country,” and Jerry Jackson pumped gas at a service station.
When Thompson and Clark’s bridges were one lane across the Chattahoochee River.
When pool rooms, one of them owned by Pete Tankersley, thrived side by side with the Collegiate Grill.
When people watched movies at the Royal, Roxy, Ritz and State theaters, later the Skyview and Lanier drive-ins.
When Gainesville High School was on the site of the Gym of ’36 office building today.
When families lived in every house on Green Street, and people could park their cars on the street out front.
When there was a Pine Street swimming pool.
When there was a Fair Street (later E.E. Butler) High School,
When one of the few places you could buy legal beer was at the Salvage House on Oak Street.
When the Northeast Georgia Fair was a big event sponsored by the Jaycees off Shallowford Road.
When thousands attended the annual Poultry Festival, which included a big parade in Gainesville, as well as a Poultry Princess pageant.
When the annual chicken pie supper was at Brookton School.
When a popular gathering place for young people was on a sandy beach on the Chattahoochee River across Longstreet Bridge.
When coffee clubs jammed Whatley’s Pharmacy when it was on the south side of the Gainesville square a few doors from Gallant-Belk.
When the Greyhound bus station was at the west end of Spring Street across from the Gainesville Midland Depot, now home to the Arts Council, and when trains still chugged across then-Broad Street to the loading platform at the depot.
When Apple Savage punished the piano at Saturday night square dances at the Civic Building,
When Elmer Snodgrass was a country music personality on WGGA radio.
When Jim Hartley moved from WGGA to WDUN.
When Gainesville Mill really was a mill.
When the Gainesville College (now University of North Georgia) campus was trees and fields.
When Bell’s Mill hill was a thrill.
When the Wheeler Hotel stood at the corner of Academy and Main, where Hall County Library is today. And the Princeton Hotel occupied the corner of Main and Washington, where Dress Up store stands today.
When you could get your groceries downtown at Big Star (Colonial Stores) on Brenau Avenue where Turner, Wood and Smith insurance agency is today, or Piggly-Wiggly behind Gallant-Belk on Bradford Street. And on the corner of Bradford and Brenau, Toy Minor operated his Bee Hive Market.
Johnny Vardeman is retired editor of The Times. He can be reached at 2183 Pinetree Circle NE, Gainesville, GA 30501.