Imagine how Atlantans must have felt 100 hundred years ago this month, when more than 50 blocks — mostly in the area now known as the Old Fourth Ward — were destroyed by uncontrollable flames. Since dubbed the Great Atlanta Fire of 1917, it lasted from the noon hour until about 10 p.m.
“A path of smoking ruins, six blocks in width and twenty-four in length, extends this morning from Decatur street to Vedado way,” the Atlanta Constitution reported on May 22, 1917, a day after the fire. “Included in the Pompeiian swath are the ashes of humble cottages and those of mansions. The flames first swept over Darktown, where they raged beyond the control of the firemen, where, at Fort and Decatur streets, they had origin.”