1947, 16mm, color, silent
Because of its business and housing content, we believe this 16mm color amateur film of scenes in and around Athens was made by Joel A. Weir who was, at that time, Executive Director of the Athens Housing Authority as well as Director of the Athens Chamber of Commerce (1931-1949).
We date the original film to 1947 because the films screening at the downtown theaters--the Ritz, the Georgia, and the Palace--are "The Dark Corner" (released in April 1946), "The Jolson Story" (released in October 1946), "The Razor's Edge" (released in December 1946), and "Valley of Fear" (released in February 1947). The two earlier films may have taken some time to get to Athens after their initial New York and Los Angeles premieres.
The more striking aspects of the footage are the extreme differences shown between the houses along Milledge and Prince Avenues, and the African-American neighborhoods, as well as the then fairly new public housing and apartments along Broad Street. Rev. Charles Knox of Athens has identified these neighborhoods as "Tip Toe Alley" (between Finley and Newton Streets at Baxter St.) and "Linden Town" (Lumpkin near Baxter), both of which were razed for public housing and for University of Georgia expansion.
The footage includes local service organization members (Kiwanis, Pilot Club) gathering for lunch downtown, local bankers and businessmen outside their buildings, a scene of the Chamber of Commerce building, aerial views of Athens, a livestock auction at the Northeast Georgia Livestock Association building, a Shriners parade downtown, the airport, UGA campus scenes, the Garden Club of Georgia's Founders Garden, a golf course, Athens General Hospital, and the Rodgers Hosiery Company.
For more information about local town films made by or for Chambers of Commerce, see the article "Old Movies: A Source of Local History Programs" by Dorothy Weyer Creigh in the journal History News, v. 32, no. 10, October 1977.
Thanks to Rev. Charles Knox of Athens for identifying the neighborhoods in this clip.