Atlanta Beltline Tour Group

Atlanta Beltline Tour Group

September 18th, 2021, 9:00AM

This Week's Tour...

...met at 9:00AM Saturday on the Beltline Eastside Trail near Parish (R.I.P...soon to reopen as "Painted Park"!). We walked for 1 1/2 hours, covering 1 mile of the Beltline, ending at Ponce City Market.

"The Tourists"...
...shouting out to this week's tourists, recent Dawsonville residents (2 not pictured) recently relocated from Houston. Welcome to the ATL!


Thanks for a great tour!

Map of the week...
...is really an aerial photo of the Atlanta Crackers stadium, Ponce de Leon Park (built 1905, destroyed by fire 1923, rebuilt 1924). This photo is undated, but it shows both the Sears Building (1926) and the Ford Factory (1914)...so it is the "new" concrete and steel ballpark sometime between 1927 and 1964. I included a street level pic from the 1950's. 

I'm geeking out about a couple of things in these photos:

- The aerial photo shows the original rail spur going into the courtyard of Sears, not just stopping alongside it (like we experience today in the "Shed").

- The 1950's photo shows cards and overhead streetcar power lines...but no trolly tracks. If there is still a "streetcar", could it be an electric bus? The original streetcar on this route was number #2. The current MARTA bus route today? Also #2! 

- Notice the Sears sign in the street photo...PCM designed their new sign to follow that same design!




Thanks for the pics, 

Tree of the week...
...singling out one of the hundreds of specimens from the dozens of collections along the arboretum.

The Georgia oak is native to the southeastern United States, mainly in northern Georgia, but with additional populations in Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina. It grows on dry granite and sandstone outcrops of slopes of hills at 50–500 meters (160–1,640 ft) altitude.

The tree was first discovered in 1849 at Stone Mountain, Georgia, where several stands of pure specimens grow along the popular walk-up trail at around 1,300 feet (near the large chestnut oak in the middle of the trail and before the rest pavilion halfway up the trail). Georgia oaks are also found at nearby monadnocks, including Panola Mountain and Arabia Mountain in Georgia.


Quercus georgiana  
Georgia Oak


"Stump" of the week...

...featuring a question raised during the tour that Jeff couldn't answer.

Q: What is happening on "Three Tree Hill"?

A: I enjoy pointing out the hill on the west side of the Atlanta Beltline Eastside trail; it's not a natural slope and is most likely the result of piling up tailings from leveling out the original railroad bed. I enjoy pointing out how several trees were long established on this hill prior to the ABI development (including Atlanta Champion Scarlet Oak!), but the remaining trees and shrubs were volunteers only able to root (and prevent erosion) after Trees Atlanta stabilized the hillside with a woven willow branch fence. 

So, you can imagine my surprise when we saw the hillside this weekend with quite a bit of evident clearing! But, fear not! Only invasives (kudzu, cherry laurel, etc), leaving enough native volunteers in place to keep the hillside stable and also offer them plenty of room to grow!


Hasta luego (or never), cherry laurels!

August 14th, 2021

 This Week's Tour...

...met at 9:00AM Saturday on the Beltline Eastside Trail near Parish (R.I.P...soon to reopen as "Painted Park"!). We walked for 1 1/2 hours, covering 1 mile of the Beltline, ending at Ponce City Market.

"The Tourists"...
...shouting out to this week's tourists, an Atlantan returning to the south from Seattle. Welcome home!!!!


Thanks for a great tour!

Map of the week...
...has us returning to an oldie but goodie...a map of Atlanta's city limit expansions...focusing on the last concentric circle expansion (from the Zero Mile Marker in today's Underground Atlanta) in 1889.


Thanks for the pic, 

Tree of the week...
...singling out one of the hundreds of specimens from the dozens of collections along the arboretum.

PSYCH! This week's tree is a native flowering plant currently in full bloom in the prairie on the western edge of the Eastside Trail. 

Sesbania herbacea (syn. Sesbania exaltata) is a species of flowering plant in the legume family known by the common names bigpod sesbania,[1] Colorado River-hemp,[2] and coffeeweed. It is native to the United States, particularly the southeastern states, where it grows in moist environments. It can be found elsewhere as an introduced species. It is a woody herb growing to 3 meters or more in height. The leaves are made up of many pairs of oblong leaflets. The inflorescence is a small raceme of pealike flowers with yellow or purple-spotted petals.


Sesbania herbacea  
Coffeeweed


"Stump" of the week...

...featuring a question raised during the tour that Jeff couldn't answer.

Q: Where was the 1996 Olympic Gold medal baseball game played?

A: Here I am during the game at the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium!


Thanks, John McLean! Friends since 1981!

July 17th, 2021

This Week's Tour...

...met at 9:00AM Saturday on the Beltline Eastside Trail near Parish (R.I.P...soon to reopen as "Painted Park"!). We walked for 1 1/2 hours, covering 1 mile of the Beltline, ending at Ponce City Market.

"The Tourists"...
...shouting out to this week's tourists, including my mom!!!!


Thanks for a great tour!

Map of the week...
...we spoke about the how the Beltline Eastside trail continues south of the tour on the far side of Hulsey yards along the decommissioned Atlanta and West Point Railroad corridor. Here's a map of the entire route - from Atlanta down to West Point - and a photo of the AWP depot still standing where the Beltline  crosses Memorial Drive.



Thanks for the pic, 

Tree of the week...
...singling out one of the hundreds of specimens from the dozens of collections along the arboretum.

The American sycamore tree can often be easily distinguished from other trees by its mottled bark which flakes off in large irregular masses, leaving the surface mottled and gray, greenish-white and brown. The bark of all trees has to yield to a growing trunk by stretching, splitting, or infilling. The sycamore shows the process more openly than many other trees. The explanation is found in the rigid texture of the bark tissue which lacks the elasticity of the bark of some other trees, so it is incapable of stretching to accommodate the growth of the wood underneath, so the tree sloughs it off.. 


Platanus occidentalis
American Sycamore


"Stump" of the week...

...featuring a question raised during the tour that Jeff couldn't answer.

Q: What used to be where the expensive townhomes are now, across from Parish?

A: Short answer...Nothing! At least by the time Beltline Eastside trail was being developed. Here's a pic looking north from the North Highland Avenue bridge. The townhouses will soon be developed to the left!


Thanks, Beltline!

June 19th, 2021

 This Week's Tour...

...met at 9:00AM Saturday on the Beltline Eastside Trail near Parish (R.I.P...soon to reopen as "Painted Park"!). We walked for 1 3/4 hours, covering 1 mile of the Beltline, ending at Ponce City Market.

"The Tourists"...
...shouting out to this week's tourists, including a family with twins and a couple from near the Beltline Westside trail! Also...ROSWELL IN THE HOUSE!


Thanks for a great tour!

Map of the week...
...we spoke about the "Zero Mile Post" marking the new convergence of railroad lines that would eventually become the center of the City of Atlanta, circa 1837. Here it is located on an old Atlanta map...and here is a pic of it in its original location (now in the Atlanta History Center).



Thanks for the pic, 

Tree of the week...
...singling out one of the hundreds of specimens from the dozens of collections along the arboretum.

The eastern cottonwood is one of several water-seeking plant species found along the Beltline between Freedom Parkway and the skate park. Because of their flat stem, leaves shake and pivot in the slightest breeze, a characteristic trait for this species. 


Populus deltoides
(A scientific name I can actually remember!
A "poplar" with "triangular" leaves!)
Eastern Cottonwood


"Stump" of the week...

...featuring a question raised during the tour that Jeff couldn't answer.

Q: Where did the old rail line that used to run along the Beltline Eastside Trail corridor go?

A: Short answer...North! Because railroads have changed and merged and decommissioned over the years, the long answer differs depending on what decade one is researching...but check out this cool map that shows the Beltline corridor connecting with Norfolk Southern (previously Southern Railway). COOL!


May 8, 2021

This Week's Tour...
...met at 9:00AM Saturday on the Beltline Eastside Trail near Parish (R.I.P...soon to reopen as "Painted Park"!). We walked for 1 3/4 hours, covering 1 mile of the Beltline, ending at Ponce City Market.

"The Tourists"...
...shouting out to this week's tourists, including fellow GA TECH alums and a mom visiting from Panama City Beach (PCB at PCM)! Also...MACON IN THE HOUSE!

Thanks for a great tour!

Map of the week...
...we spoke about the Ponce Springs amusement park that was located where Ponce City Market is today. In the late 1800's, Atlantan's rode a trolley from downtown, up Peachtree Street, and out Ponce de Leon to arrive at the amusement park and lake. That trolley line was extended in 1889 to include a loop - Nine Mile Circle - that included Ponce Springs at its center, pictured in this map. 


Thanks for the map, 

Tree of the week...
...singling out one of the hundreds of specimens from the dozens of collections along the arboretum.

There are 2 varieties of Tupelo (or Blackgum) planted along the eastside trail between Freedom Parkway and Ralph McGill; Green Gables and Wildfire. Both have spring foliage true to their names; green and tinged with red, respectively. That red tinge on Wildfire's early growth is a hint at the showy, fiery red leaves that will appear in the fall. 

Nyssa sylvatica 'Wildfire'
Wildfire Tupelo or Blackgum


"Stump" of the week...

...featuring a question raised during the tour that Jeff couldn't answer.

Q: Can I grow native oakleaf hydrangea in Panama City Beach?

A: Short answer...YES! Zones 5-9a! Long answer...in Florida, you'll want to give it at least some shade. Thanks for the info, U of F!

Hydrangea quercifolia

April 10, 2021

This Week's Tour...
...met at 9:00AM Saturday on the Beltline Eastside Trail near Parish (R.I.P...soon to reopen as "Painted Park"!). We walked for 1 1/2 hours, covering 1 mile of the Beltline, ending at Ponce City Market.

"The Tourists"...
...shouting out to this week's tourists, including visitors from the great states of Texas and California! 


Thanks for a great tour!

Map of the week...
...we spoke about Old Fourth Ward park and that location's previous lack of commercial development due to its swampy landscape. What do you expect? It's a watershed draining down to the former site of a lake!  Today, it's a 5-acre park with a 2-acre stormwater detention pond capable of storing water from a 500 year flood!


Thanks for the map, 

Tree of the week...
...singling out one of the hundreds of specimens from the dozens of collections along the arboretum.

I'm not really singling out one species, but a whole genus and their "flowers" that are on display this time of year. I'm talking about the catkins of oak trees, the showy male part of their reproductive cycle that will soon fall off the tree, having done their part, and leave the female part to grow into acorns in the fall.


Querus Bicolor
White Swamp Oak


"Stump" of the week...

...featuring a question raised during the tour that Jeff couldn't answer.

Q: What is that flower?

A: All along the Eastside Trail, many of the native flowers planted (and self-seeded) there are coming into bloom. One of the most prolific this time of year is the Daisy Fleabane. 


Erigeron annuus