On Holiday @ MASS Collective (Castleberry Hill District)
On Holiday @ Erikson Clock | GoatFarm Satellite
Known today as the Castleberry Hill District, these acres were initially incorporated in 1854 as Atlanta’s First Ward. Today, you might recognize this area as one of Atlanta’s more hip and artsy neighborhoods.It’s a few blocks from Philips Arena, the home of the Atlanta Hawks. It’s home to Flux, Atlanta’s premier annual cornucopia d’arts. It hosts a monthly Art Stroll. Its loft-style apartments attract those looking for chic in-town living. But this neighborhood has some stories from its past that you might not expect.
If you’re familiar with Civil War history, you’ll know that just about the entire city of Atlanta was burned to the ground in the course of that war. But you might not know that Sherman’s razing was the second time in two decades that this particular district had been decimated.
Up until the decade prior to the war, the area was called “Snake Nation” — so dubbed because of a proliferation of ‘snake oil’ salesmen. Snake Nation, consisting of a series of small log and frame houses with saloons and gambling dens, was known to be “devoted almost entirely to the criminal and immoral element”. In the 1850s, the area was attacked by a mob of fellow Atlanta citizens who wanted to bring law and a semblance of morality to the area. Burning down the structures of the area, the attackers hoped to flush out the criminal element.
After the Civil War ended, this area was renamed in honor of the land’s owner, Daniel Castleberry. Along with the rest of Atlanta, it was not long before the area began to recover from the destruction caused by Sherman’s march. The first horse-drawn trolley line in the city ran through the neighborhood in 1871. Railroad lines were an essential element of Atlanta’s economy and Castleberry Hill was fortunate to have a track running right through it. Numerous industries populated the area, including two of the nation’s largest meat-packing companies. Through the early 1900s and into the second half of the century, the area housed textile factories, plumbing suppliers, dairy equipment warehouses, and various businesses.
In 1985, the Castleberry Hill historic district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In the 1990s, many warehouses began converting into residential lofts. As new residents and artists populated the area, developer Bruce Gallman called the area “sort of a Southern-fried SoHo.”
indieATL and On Holiday visited the Erikson Clock building | A GoatFarm Arts Center Satellite, a large brick warehouse built around the 1930s, backing up to the old rail line. The building has been used by various businesses in its day, and it now houses the arts organization Mass Collective, who use the building as “a collaborative space that thrives on fostering creativity through access to resources.” On any given day in this building, you might find it host to plays, art galleries, and creative events. If you look closely in our video, you’ll see some of the artwork created by organization members sitting among the nearly century-old architecture.
And since no mention of Atlanta history is complete without mentioning the thriving film industry, here’s some films that have been shot in the Castleberry Hill District:
- Driving Miss Daisy
It was the morning of indieATL’s first Spaces shoot, and the air was a mixture of stress, excitement, and a lot of dust. I mean a lot of dust. IndieATL met the band, On Holiday, at the Erikson Building, located in beautiful Castleberry Hill, southwest of downtown. Amongst the chaos of setting up instruments, microphones, monitors, and cameras, I managed to steal a few minutes of time with Eric Bouthiller and the rest of the band: Justin Newton, Sean Robert Cuni, and Doug.
indieATL: Now Eric, On Holiday was your brainchild, right? How did you get from This Piano Plays Itself to here?
Eric: Well we still had This Piano Plays Itself going, and I’d started writing some of this stuff on the side. I just kind of wanted to do some more electronic, kind of poppy stuff. Once we broke up, I didn’t really do anything with it except record more music. And then my buddy offered us a show during Ohm Park Fest. Then I just kind of needed to put a band together, so I showed Justin a couple songs and he liked them and agreed to play.
iA: Cool. You guys have a very beachy, I dunno, psychedelic pop thing going on in your music. Would it be fair to say that?
iA: What were some stylistic influences that played into that sound?
Eric: Hmm, well I don’t know. I listen to a lot of The Ventures and Dick Dale and that kind of shit. Sam Cook and Frank Sinatra and there’s rap as well. So it’s just kind of a mixture of stuff that we’d kind of done before and just new stuff that we want to incorporate.
iA: So you guys are fairly young as a band, and by that I mean that On Holiday is a newer project.
E: Yeah, we’ve only played like four shows.
iA: What’s the plan for the future?
Justin: Um, well right we’re sort of having fun with it right now. There’s no real plans for touring, uh I don’t even know if we even have plan for–well, Eric has a lot of stuff built up to release an album, possibly. But right now we’re just making videos because, I mean, Eric and I have film degrees and we all have projects that we want to incorporate into the band. We want to release a couple songs at a time and have a video every couple releases, since no one really listens to full albums anymore.