History

The Nassau Street sessions tell a multifaceted story of intersecting histories of the film and music business. Since its construction in 1920, the 152 Nassau building has served a variety of functions in Atlanta’s “Film Row” – the central distribution point for films and soundtrack records across the southeastern United States.

Most significantly, in June 1923 representatives from Okeh Records set up a “remote laboratory” in the building to record blues, jazz, gospel, and country.

152 Nassau is unique in its connection to American music history. The significance of Okeh’s Nassau Street recording sessions is recognized worldwide.

Timeline

1920

Lodowick J. Hill, Jr. constructs a “two-story + basement brick business house” at what was then known as 24 Nassau Street. Hill is the building’s owner, architect, and engineer. (He previously helped design and construct the Candler Building.) Construction – costing $12,000 – is complete in just three months.

advertisement in the Atlanta Constitution for the newly-completed building

1921

Pyrene Manufacturing Co., a manufacturer of fire extinguishers, moves into the newest building on “Film Row.” Nitrate-based film is highly flammable so Pyrene’s choice of location is very strategic. Pyrene outgrows the building and relocates to nearby Spring Street.

portion of May 1923 advertisement appearing in Moving Picture World magazine

June 1923

New York-based Okeh Records takes their newly-invented portable recording equipment to Atlanta. They set up a “recording laboratory” at temporarily-vacant 24 Nassau. This is the first time musicians have ever been recorded in the South.

news story in the Atlanta Independent announcing the recording sessions

1924

Graphic Films Corporation – producer of industrial, commercial, and educational films – moves into the building.

portion of 1925 advertisement for Graphic Films Corporation

1926

The City of Atlanta renumbers street addresses. 24 Nassau Street becomes 152 Nassau Street NW.

1929

Warren Webster & Co. acquires the building. Various manufacturers’ representatives occupy the building through the 1950s.

portion of 1931 advertisement for Warren Webster & Co.

1960s

A variety of building engineers and contractors use the building as offices through the 1970s.

1979

Herb Bridges, known for having the world’s largest collection of Gone with the Wind memorabilia, opens a museum in the building with a restaurant on the second floor.

“The World’s Only Permanent Tribute to ‘Gone with the Wind’”

1990-present

Attorneys such as Atlanta Lawyers for the Arts use the building for offices. The building is still occupied by a law practice.

2017

A developer’s proposed Margaritaville restaurant threatens to demolish the 152 Nassau building and Atlanta’s last remaining film exchange located at 141 Walton Street. In May, the City of Atlanta starts to designate the building as a local historic landmark. The developer’s attorney threatens legal action, so the City suspends the designation process in November.

December 19, 2018

The Margaritaville developers applied for a demolition permit.