Book Cover

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Dear Allen,
I purchased your fascinating book about a year ago and after reading it, e-mailed you with the story of how my mother (Sarah Floyd) was one of the two girls from Spalding High school who did not attend the youth conference.
The story had been told to us that my grandmother had a premonition that something bad would happen and did not let my mother attend (leaving only Betty Huguley who survived on the fourth floor). My mother and grandmother have both passed away so, I was wondering if you had anything to corroborate the story (maybe through Betty's interview?).
Also, after reading the book again I noticed a detail that had gone unnoticed before. In telling Betty's story, at the end of one paragraph you had written that Betty was 'reassigned' to a smaller room. I wonder if my mother's story is true and if she and the other girl had attended from Spalding High, would they have been on an upper floor and subsequently perished. If that were true, I would, of course, not be writing this. Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
David Reeb

It's probable that your grandmother's premonition did make it possible for you to write to us! Here's more from my co-author Sam Heys:

I have checked my file on Betty Huguley, and she did indeed tell me that two other girls were supposed to go but did not. She said she did not know why they didn't go. She also did not mention their names. I also have a letter that Betty's mom sent to another family member telling her of the entire Winecoff ordeal. She also mentioned that the "other two girls" did not go.
Because Betty showed up by herself, she was given a different room from the one she had been assigned before check-in. We don't know what room that was, but it likely would have been on the 7th floor or above. Only one Youth Assembly group was assigned a room lower than the 7th floor. All four boys from Rome on the fourth floor survived. Four of the six delegates on the 7th floor survived. The other 28 youth delegates in the Winecoff were above the 7th floor and all perished.
Let me know if you have other questions.
Sam Heys

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Reader Lauds Historic Presevation

Hello Allen,
I have been enjoying the updates on winecoff.org. After church this morning my friend and I finally visited the Hotel Ellis for the first time and had brunch on the terrace. What a wonderful (and rare) story of historic preservation in Atlanta, and how nice to see 176 Peachtree a happy place again after so long.
Thanks for all your work,
Greg Earnest

Hi Greg,
Great! I'm glad the weather was nice for you today. As you know, the terrace was part of the the building's original 1913 design but was removed after the fire in 1946. It was not included when the hotel reopened in 1951 as The Peachtree on Peachtree Hotel. The dining terrace was restored to the structure in 2007 with the opening of Ellis Hotel.
Thanks for staying in touch,