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Let's Go Play In Traffic: 1957

Let's Go Play In Traffic: 1957

This Kodachrome slide was taken by me, William D. Volkmer, on August 30, 1957, on Atlanta's Peachtree Street in the theater district during a Shriners convention. I was entering my Senior year at Georgia Tech. View full size.

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Frances Virginia Tea Room

At the end of the block on the right side of the photo, one can see the sign for the Frances Virginia Tea Room. Owned and run by Frances Virginia Wikle Whitaker, was located in the Collier building from 1931 until 1962, although Ms. Whitaker had retired in 1944. It is the subject of a 2012 masters' thesis written by Mildred Coleman, a Georgia State graduate student who is the niece of the restaurant's manager at the time of this photo.

The sign remained until the late 1970s. The building was demolished and replaced with the Peachtree Station of the metropolitan transit system.


Yes! The bike appears to be a Cushman. Made in my hometown of Lincoln Nebraska. An interesting little scooter. The Cushman aficionado still have annual (I believe) conferences/swap meets.

Have a Cigar

I thought at first that there was an exhaust pipe jutting out under the middle of the bus closest to the camera, until I realized it was an electric coach (something I never knew Atlanta had) and not a bus, so there would be no exhaust pipe. Instead it seems to be a remarkably thick but rather short cigar clenched between that baby-faced Shriner's teeth. Those were the days.

My first motorcycle

The closest motorcycle is a Cushman Eagle. I got mine as a basket case when I was 15. I don't remember how many cc's it had but it did have a two speed transmission with the shift lever on the tank. It had an arm on the front of the engine you stepped on to start it. There was a small piece of key stock that kept shearing. I got real good at pushing it and jumping on to bump start it.

I've been riding over 50 years now. Hot, cold, rain, or sun, I have loved every minute of it.

Invasion of the Saucer Men

This was the second feature

Diners Club Honored

Before the ubiquity of Visa/MasterCard/Discover credit cards, this was a selling point worth enshrining on permanent signage. Similar to "Color TV" and "Air Conditioning" on 1950s motel signs.

Julie Andrews in the sky

I stayed with my cousin for a month (my parents were living in France) in an apartment just off of Peachtree Street in the summer of 1965 while waiting for my freshman year to start at the University of Georgia. That billboard on the top of that building featured a huge version of the iconic image of Julie Andrews spinning in a mountain meadow promoting "The Sound of Music," that year's biggest film. I saw it every day when I'd walk to the drugstore for a Coke.

I Was a Teenage Werewolf

Currently playing at the Paramount and starring a young Michael Landon, a couple of years before his role in Bonanza.

'50s Kodachrome

There is nothing like 1950s Kodachrome slide film for busy street scenes like this. I really wish I could get this look out of my digital files. I have a couple of Fujis equipped with Classic Chrome. It's a good look but it's certainly not this.

They save lots of parades

I have to mention that many of the smaller towns and cities I've lived in had their parades saved by Shriners who volunteered to perform on their motorcycles, small cars, trikes and what-have-you with clowns, their trademark red fezzes, and other costumes to fill in for the lack of enthusiastic marchers and perhaps poor planning by the parade planners, to step in and make something out of what would have been a pretty lame performance and turned it into a laughter-filled and enjoyable good time for the kids and adults who took the time to attend and participate. One small city I lived in in the Southwest (I won't point the accusatory finger) was supposed to have their first St. Pat's Day parade and the day before, all they had was the Irish mayor in a green suit carrying his Carmel Quinn album and two Irish setters willing to participate, but since the Shriners were nearby at a convention, they all came to the rescue and saved the day with a fun-filled celebration for all the spectators and were very much appreciated. Good on them.

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