When it comes to the history of Georgia musician Fiddlin’ John Carson – it’s complicated.
The white fiddler and singer recorded the first country music hit in 1923 at 152 Nassau Street in Atlanta.
But Carson also frequented Ku Klux Klan rallies and recorded a song that led to a lynching of a Jewish factory superintendent.
Black artists such as Eddie Heywood, Fannie May Goosby and the Morehouse College Quartette also recorded at the 152 Nassau studio.
But the brick two-story building downtown will be destroyed to make way for a high rise Margaritaville.
Architect Kyle Kessler started a petition to stop the demolition. He says destroying the building, doesn’t look good for Atlanta’s image as a music city.
Especially as Fulton County and the state have set aside half-a-million dollars to study creating a GRAMMY museum in Atlanta.
“It would be once again a real tragedy if we’re about to celebrate this history of recorded music, for us to lose this really really significant piece of recording history for Atlanta, Georgia, for country and for the world.”
Under former mayor Kasim Reed, the city agreed to allow developers to tear down the building in exchange for a multi-million dollar hotel. That’s despite the planning department wanting to designate the building a historic landmark.
Preservationists want the city to issue a stop work order for the demolition
Emily Taff is with the group Historic Atlanta. She’s worried about the city’s other old buildings.
“If this could happen to 152 Nassau, this can happen to any number of buildings in the city,” she says.