Atlanta Constitution Building Images

May 28, 2014

Last Friday at 10 AM the phone rings, a voice on the other end of the line sounding vaguely familiar says “Chriiis, this is Bob, I think I have an assignment with your name written all over it”.  It turned out to be my old colleague from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution News Photo Department and photo editor Bob Andres who I hadn’t heard from in years. “We have an invitation from the City to take a tour of a building you might like to photograph”, “There could be a little hazard involved though … do you happen to own a respirator and a Tyvec suit?”. OK with that info, I said “I’m in baby!” … Armed with camera, tripod, caving helmet, headlamp, boots, particulate mask and duct taped pant legs,  and reflective wear in case I fell down an elevator shaft at least they could point to my body and say that’s where he is. I got the rare opportunity to photograph inside the decaying old Atlanta Constitution Building located at the corner of Alabama and Forsyth Streets in ‘the heart of the city’ as it was known when it was built in 1947. The building, which has sat vacant and subject to the ravages neglect for decades, weather, fire and generations of the homeless is pretty much a highly odiferous train wreck inside at this point. Numerous B&E’s by shelter dwellers since the early 1960’s has made the place horribly sordid sea of trash, liquor bottles, soiled clothes, humane waste and decaying building materials inside. The once flagship building, built for 3 million dollars and opened in 1947 and vacated a mere six years later after the Constitution quickly outgrew it, sported marble accents, artwork, custom floor tiling and state of the art production for the city’s printed news source established in the late 1800’s. The once proud Constitution building sits on the original site of the Constitution building, built some thirty years years after the Civil War ended and Atlanta started the painstaking process of rebuilding itself after Sherman’s March To The Sea and the Battles of Atlanta burned a large portion of the city in the 1860’s. The current state of the ‘old Constitution building’ as it’s known by most is currently owned by the Georgia Department of Transportation with plans for the City to purchase and renovate the structure. My assignment was to try and document the building in the condition it sits today, before the process of hauling out decades of trash, cleaning and potential development evaluation begins. The opportunity to go inside this building has been sort of a dream, since I worked just across the ‘gulch’ and saw it every day I walked into work at the relatively modern Atlanta Journal-Constitution building on Marietta Street from 1987-2008. Even though most of the salvageable materials, production machines and artwork are long gone, the echoes of a once bustling newspaper building still ring in the hallways.

All images © 2014 M. Chris Hunt/, no use without express permission.

Hallway of the fifth floor executive offices. © 2014 Chris Hunt Photography

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Office with a view on the fifth floor executive floor. One particularly interesting thing about this image is it not only shows another home of the Atlanta Newspaper and production facility (beige buildings left in foreground) , but the parking lot to the right was yet another site for the newspaper. © 2014 Chris Hunt Photography

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Below street level loading dock, newspaper distribution and storage area. © 2014 Chris Hunt Photography

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A ceiling stalactite created from leached materials from the building’s decaying floors and walls. © 2014 Chris Hunt Photography

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Fifth floor sea of homeless jetsam. © Chris Hunt Photography

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A wooden ladder most likely used for shelf access inside the building now serves other purposes and one way to gain access to the derelict building. © 2014 Chris Hunt Photography

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Time. Has definitely taken its toll. A roof building houses the huge elevator motor. ©2014 Chris Hunt

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The door many have entered. Lower street level and loading dock.  © 2014 Chris Hunt

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Unknown purpose machine. © 2014 Chris Hunt

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Fifth floor executive washroom with its 2″ thick marble privacy dividers between the urinals. One does have to wonder, given the very similar color scheme, just how much of the 1940’s color scheme and materials were influenced by the Varsity restaurants renovation going on at the same time.  © 2014 M. Chris Hunt All Rights Reserved

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Gold Dome roof view facing east. © Chris Hunt Photography.

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