Saving Country Music: Judge Halts Demolition of Country Landmark for Margaritaville Location

The historic building standing at 152 Nassau Street in downtown Atlanta that was days from demolition has received a stay of execution from an Atlanta judge. Considered the true birthplace of country music for the time in 1923 when recording engineer and producer Ralph Peer captured Fiddlin’ John Carson in the space in what became country music’s first big commercial recording, the building has been set for demolition to construct a 23-story Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville-themed hotel and restaurant. Last week crews were in the brick building removing wiring and fixtures, and it was believed to be only days or hours away from final demolition.

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Southern Living: Country Music Landmark Being Knocked Down for Margaritaville Atlanta

Atlanta: Get ready to make way for Margaritaville.

Turns out, some Atlanta residents aren’t okay with the new hotel coming to town, and there’s a compelling reason behind their grievances. A brick building at 152 Nassau Street, which once served as the recording studio for Okeh Records, is slated to be demolished as Margaritaville builds its Atlanta resort.

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GPB: Atlanta’s Original Old Town Road: The Site of Country Music’s First Hit Could Be Demolished

1923 pressings of songs that were recorded by Ralph Peer at 152 Nassau Street in Atlanta, including "The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" by Fiddlin' John Carson, credited as the first country music hit.

The newest Ken Burns series premiering in September follows the vast and varied evolution of country music over the 20th century. The eight-part series begins not in Nashville, nor Bristol, but Atlanta.

That’s because, in 1923, OKeh Records music pioneer Ralph Peer came from New York to the South and set up a temporary recording studio smack dab in downtown Atlanta at 152 Nassau Street. That’s where he recorded early country, blues, jazz and gospel artists, including what is known as country music’s first hit, “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane” by Fiddlin’ John Carson.

listen to the interview at GPB News

Smithsonian: The Site of Country Music’s First Recorded Hit Is Set to Be Demolished

152 Nassau Street in Atlanta was home to the first country music recording hit made before the genre even had a name

152 Nassau

Country music has many origin stories. One of them occurred on or around June 19, 1923, when Fiddlin’ John Carson was tapped to record music at a pop-up studio at 152 Nassau Street in Atlanta for Okeh Music. His hit recording marked the first deliberate effort to market country music for a country audience.

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NPR: The Birthplace Of Country Music’s First Hit Is Being Threatened By Modern Construction

Outside of 152 Nassau Street in Atlanta, the site of the pop-up recording studio responsible for country music’s first hit record. Debbie Elliott/NPR

Nashville may be the country music capital, but the industry for which it’s famous began in Atlanta. Now, a grassroots drive to preserve a historic downtown building is highlighting Atlanta’s somewhat forgotten role in early roots music.

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Saporta Report: Sad song – ‘The Old Town Road’ ends at Margaritaville

Any day now, the city of Atlanta will approve the demolition permits for 141 Walton  Street and 152 Nassau Street, home of the first-recorded country music song. This demolition is for the construction of a Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville Bar and Hotel.

The irony is that we are witnessing another large moment in Country music in Atlanta.

Local Atlanta area teenager Lil’ Nas X and his Country Trap song ‘Old Town Road’ has reached an internet zenith, and it is now crossing into mainstream media.

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Architectural Digest: Margaritaville Tower Plan Would Demolish Historic Building

The new Margaritaville hotel and residences by Garvin Design Group are planned for a significant Atlanta site

Plans for a forthcoming Margaritaville Wyndham resort have been unveiled by Garvin Design Group, an Atlanta-based architecture firm, to a wave of criticism. Per a recent permit filing, the resort is slated for Nassau Street in downtown Atlanta, and will be a 21-story tower. The plan would mean demolishing a building rooted in local history.

keep reading at Architectural Digest

Curbed Atlanta: First rendering of controversial downtown Margaritaville tower has surfaced

Filings indicate developers are inching closer to demolishing two historic buildings

It would rise 21 stories, overlooking Centennial Olympic Park.

In recent months, plans for a high-rise Margaritaville resort in downtown Atlanta have become more palpable, as developers Wyndham Destinations and Margaritaville Vacation Club filed permit requests to level a couple of historic buildings, potentially clearing a project site between Nassau and Walton streets.

The controversial resort proposal is expected to climb 21 stories and feature upwards of 200 “vacation ownership units”—urban timeshares—an 18th floor pool deck and spa, and a two-story, 14,000-square-foot Margaritaville restaurant.

And now, the project that threatens to replace what many believe to be the birthplace of country music appears to have a face.

keep reading at Curbed Atlanta