What gay Midtown looked like before it was gay

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Before there was a Pride parade rolling through it, drunken Sunday Funday partiers in fashionable tank tops and a gay entertainment district, the intersection of Piedmont and 10th Street was quiet. Even dull. Then again, it was 1950.

The AJC borrowed from its own archives and Georgia State's Special Collections & Archives for an album of historical photos, Take Piedmont Avenue into the past, that rolls through a street in the 1950s, '60s and '70s before it become synonymous with all things gay.

How the AJC describes the album:

One of Atlanta's major thoroughfares, Piedmont Avenue has changed along with the city. Downtown, Midtown and Buckhead, where it becomes Piedmont Road, are all part of the journey. Take a look at some photos of the street and its buildings through the years.

It's a fascinating look. The above photo shows the Shell station that once called the intersection of Piedmont and 10 Street home in 1950. Way before the corner turned into the intersection of Gay and Gayer, anchoring Atlanta's gayborhood.

It's the intersection where Outwrite Bookstore came and went after years of serving as an informal community center and gathering place. Now, it's a gay entertainment district anchored by bars and gay-owned restaurants and businesses.

The photo shows a time before the intersection offered ablicious gay car washes for a cause, hosted rallies celebrating gay marriage and denouncing in underwear a gay bar raid and Baton Bob twirlings, and became the epicenter of activity for Sunday Fundays, beer busts and the Atlanta Pride parade.

Now, the intersection even offers up well-appointed townhomes perfect for gay party boys.


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