Book Cover

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Reader in Florida Writes

I received the book I purchased from you about the Winecoff Hotel fire. It arrived in great shape, and I appreciate your signing it. I was glad to find it on eBay. I read a few pages last night, and I’m already hooked! Compiling the stories of so many people from a time gone by is not an easy feat, but you have done a fine job in structuring the tale.
My interest in the hotel’s history, incidentally, was sparked by a recent stay at the Ellis. Although I am an Atlanta native, I had no knowledge of the Winecoff fire. In fact, I managed to stay oblivious to the events of 1946 throughout my stay at the Ellis. It was not until I was later describing our hotel to my father and stepmother, who live in Ballground, Georgia, that I learned of the fire. They both made the connection to the Winecoff and did a pretty good job of recounting the history. For them to each have such good and independent memories of the fire is a testament to the significance of the event.
Thank you, again, for the excellent eBay service and for your detailed preservation of an important moment in Atlanta history. I look forward finishing the book!

Thanks, Ed.
The Winecoff fire story is unknown to many Atlantans. That's no accident. Big fires are bad for business. By 1947 Atlanta's business and political leaders felt that the sooner the whole thing was forgotten, the better. The mayor even ordered the Winecoff's large sign, still affixed to the side of the building, taken down, condemning it as a grim reminder of the fire. Plus, almost everyone who had any direct involvement with the sudden tragedy had reason to want to forget it. Everyone wanted to put it behind them. Still, they were all affected for the rest of their lives. It simply couldn't be forgotten but couldn't be discussed either! I expect your folks remember vividly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news of the fire. Almost everyone we interviewed during our years of research recalled exactly where they were that day. Like the Kennedy assassination and the World Trade Center attacks, this was Atlanta's Titanic.