On the Street
You may have heard on the street that Flagpole has to relocate our offices. That’s how we heard it, too, not from our landlord. Remember the Sigma Chi fraternity, whose house on Lumpkin Street was taken over by UGA for a hefty settlement? The Sigma Chis tried to insert themselves onto Milledge Avenue across from the Cobbham neighborhood, but those articulate, well connected neighbors wanted no part of the fraternity, and the brothers were repelled. Now, the Sigma Chis are buying the building that has housed Flagpole for the last 20 years over here on Foundry Street, and we’ve got to move, so we’re looking for new space.
As this side of town has made fitful attempts to gentrify, we’ve known it was just a matter of time. The expansion of the Classic Center, the influx of student apartments, the aborted “River District” and now Selig City just below us meant that our building was sure to follow, though nobody expected a fraternity house. The Selig residents will just have to deal with the late-night party bands booming down the hill.
The arts and their adjuncts always live on the fringe in the low-rent district, and they always make their area attractive, which eventually makes it more expensive until finally the arts can’t afford it anymore. After the big stores left, there were artists’ lofts and band practice spaces all over downtown, but they’re long gone, and Starbucks inhabits the second 40 Watt Club space.
No need to question whether this is good or bad; it just is, and always has been. Last week I mentioned the forthcoming new Athens history book, The Tangible Past of Athens, Georgia. The book is a fascinating narrative about how Athens has changed over the years, but one chapter in particular will astound you with its discussion and photographs of the mansions that stood along Thomas Street and Pulaski Street until the expansion of the downtown business district took them down.
Through the years, Flagpole has skittered around on the fringes of downtown, first in Rick Hawkins’ print shop, then to space in Athens Stamp & Engraving on Broad Street, then in offices adjacent to Gene Dixon’s bike shop, where UGA’s Broad Street Studios are now and finally down to our present Foundry Street location. We hope to remain in or near downtown, but we may no longer be able to afford to live in the area we have promoted so tirelessly over the years. We have succeeded too well!
Off the Street
Speaking of having to move, Hendershot’s Coffee Bar, as we all know, had to leave the westside space they had worked so hard to develop from an old gas station. Happily, they have landed on Prince Avenue in The Bottleworks, and it looks like a great fit for both. Saturday night, people of all ages were enjoying Athens Tango Project and Quiabo De Chapeu, filling the joint with Latin rhythms that drew dancers out onto the floor. Athens Tango Project was actually playing by around 8 p.m. and Quiabo De Chapeu was in full swing no later than 9 p.m., leaving time to go home and go to bed or go on to the next show.
Seth Hendershot is so well connected and well respected in the music scene that he has made Hendershot’s a versatile venue for all kinds of music and people. And he has that Athens touch for creating a place where you want to hang out. Now, in addition to the coffee, whiskey, wine and beer (Murphy’s stout and Terrapin Hopsecutioner on draft!) there are tasty sandwiches, burgers and salads. The move has made Hendershot’s better than ever. Here’s hoping the same for Flagpole.