Panorama of my town

Panorama of my town

Friday, March 9, 2012

There Once was A Sears Parking Deck

I guess I thought the Sears Building had ALWAYS been on Ponce de Leon, like since at least Sherman's army came rambling through or something. It certainly was there all through my childhood and I spent a lot of time in it. We po' folk who lived off of Ponce in the 60s and 70s bought our clothes in the basement and housewares from the catalog store. As our parents waded through rows and rows of clothing racks we played and bounced and bobbed in and out of the racks, under the colorful clothes and across the dirty carpet floors. I learned all about catalog sales in that building - browsing through catalogues thicker than my school books and eagerly picking out my Christmas wish list items.

It just looks like it is a forever part of Atlanta, I suppose. Imposing and ever present, taking up several blocks of two major streets. Did I hear the tower is actually 135 feet tall? That's waaay bigger than it appears - probably because it sits down in a 100 foot deep hole between Freedom Parkway to the east and Boulevard to the west. It looks to me to have a million bricks and a thousand windows. OK maybe not that many, and I'm sure someone at Greestreet has counted, but I know its a lot.

Well, it’s a little smaller now. Did you notice the mess on Ponce de Leon? I drove by the building this week and gasped out loud at the hole at the corner of Ponce and Glen Iris Blvd. You know I really thought I'd be happy to see that terrible old, dark deck torn down. I told people I'd throw a 'Tear It Down' party and gladly supply the sledge hammers - Kit Southerland and I would have to draw straws to see who took the 1st swing! But instead, my heart sank and I nearly ran the car off the road for staring at the gaping hole in the side of the building.

And the memories came flooding back. So permit me just one minute for an Ode to a Deck....I will remember the dark, dank smell of the deck with black, oil stained floors and badly painted parking spaces, hated by our parents but totally ignored by us children eagerly heading into the building to pick out my new school clothes. Those terrible speed bumps that messed up car suspensions felt like a roller coaster to us! I remember there were always cars in the deck. Cars of employees who worked in the mysterious floors above. I never thought much about them at the time but someone was filling our orders and sending them down the shoot while we waited impatiently below. There were accountants, cleaning crew, payroll clerks, managers and secretaries, all busily making a living above our heads. Big burly men came and went from the gym with heavy bags over their shoulders. That deck took care of their cars, it supported life once. It served a purpose.

So now it’s gone....or going. There's a webcam on the roof of a bar across the street pointed at the crumbling parking deck and you can watch its demise. It’s not as cute as the Panda-cam but there is more action :-)    Watch the Demolition Here

Kit got the first piece of rubble that Katharine Kelly of Greenstreet Properties pulled down for her from the side of the deck using the bulldozer you can see in the webcam signaling the official start of deck demolition. I got my piece of rubble yesterday. My personal memorabilia of The Deck. My chunk of history.

Cannot say this ATLGal is gonna miss that deck.  The new life coming to that corner will be ever so much better and brighter.  But in Atlanta we are rather cavalier about tearing things down without stopping for just a moment to reflect on what was there and the value it once had.  Thank you Old Sear Deck, for serving us well while you were here.  Good ridden. 

Facebook link to Ponce City Market

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