Atlanta’s “Most Glorious Easter in History”

Few will argue that springtime and Easter are the most beautiful times in Atlanta. One hundred years ago in early April, the myriad celebrations of Easter were declared to be the “Most Glorious in History.” Peach-tree Street and other streets were thronged with crowds enjoying “sunshine which was never more splendid, skies never a sweeter blue and all outdoors blossoming with green and gold and rainbow hues which made all Atlanta smile.”

 

After services at the major churches along Peachtree and in the downtown area, people flocked to meander down the city thoroughfares in all their Easter finery. The celebrated “Easter Parade” was a real event back in 1915 and lasted for hours. Most of the nation was experiencing snow and other bad weather that year, and At-lanta was the exception. Women and men had been shopping for weeks beforehand to don the latest fashions whether it was the new “Trimble” hat for men, Norfolk jackets and knickers for boys, white dresses and “tub frocks” for young girls, or the latest “Easter corsets,” “bust confiners” and “front fastening brassieres” for women. Fitting into all those new fashions “straight from New York City” often came at the sacrifice of com-fort 100 years ago.

 

Easter Sunday meant musical programs at most of the local churches. Practically every congregation pro-vided both morning and evening music complete with “Easter songs” and special performances by soloists. Even some of the hotels offered programs for those hours inbetween the church services.

 

For most Atlantans, it was a whole week of events and activities associated with Easter and the coming of spring. There were numerous religious lectures along with Easter tea dances at the leading clubs such as the Druid Hills Golf Club and the Piedmont Driving Club. Lots of local residents entertained in their homes with visiting friends and relatives as well. The theaters and vaudeville houses put on special shows. The si-lent movie theaters featured Charlie Chaplin, Lionel Barrymore and the Keystone Kops for the week, and on the Saturday before Easter, the Atlanta Crackers hosted the world champion Boston Braves at Ponce de Leon Park. In a real surprise, the Crackers won the last pre-season game 8-3.

 

One of the great delights of Easter Week, however, was the splurging on flowers, candy and gaily decorated Easter eggs. Peachtree Street’s Dahl Florist advertised that it had 25,000 Easter lilies available along with sixteen other flowers from roses to azaleas, hyacinths, gardenias and orchids. There were also Easter Baskets with com-binations of various flowers. Practically every store carried candies for the holiday, from “bonbons and chocolates for the grownups” to marshmallow, chocolate and hard candies shaped like eggs, rabbits, chickens and ducks in all sizes. You could even get a basket of 100 marshmallow eggs in assorted colors at Jacob’s Pharmacy for 75 cents.

 

For Atlanta children, the big event of Easter week had to be the huge Easter Egg Roll and Hunt held on the Saturday following Easter Sunday. 25,000 people thronged into Grant Park for the hunt. When the band played “Dixie,” the children rushed out into the woods and meadows in search of 220,000 hidden candy eggs. The lucky kids found the special wooden and gold eggs which came with additional prizes awarded at the end of the hunt. Naturally, all the children wore their new, meticulously prepared Easter clothing and we can only wonder at how many ended up torn or muddy after that chaotic rush for candy eggs.

 

-Dick Funderburke