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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Reader Visits Fire Scene

Mr Goodwin,

I read your book some time ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Yesterday, I rode the elevator up to the top of the Ellis. Walking through the halls of the hotel--the same floor design as the Winecoff was eerie. I'm glad to finally see a successful hotel in its building. Every time I go to Atlanta I drive by the Winecoff.

Charles Newberry
Gray, GA

Mr. Newberry,

Thanks for your e-mail. Like you, I'm so pleased that the building is again being put to good use. I'm glad you got to look around inside the building.

I know that eerie feeling the halls can give but I think that's because we know so much about the day of the fire and not so much about the happier days there from 1914-1945.

We know from our interviews with long time Winecoff Hotel employee Nell McDuffie that there were many days of joy and grace within those walls. It was, after all, a first class hotel for most of those years hosting wedding events, honeymoons, business and charity luncheons, family reunions and all the things that give fulfillment to our lives.

It's sad that one act of cruelty can define a site for sixty-odd years and push aside in our minds everything else that happened there. But, by-in-large, that's what's happened.

Thankfully, more good days are underway and more pleasant memories are now being made at the Ellis Hotel.

Be safe,

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