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From Mules to High Rise in Downtown Atlanta

Atlanta was experiencing something of a high-rise building boom when the Yancey brothers launched their new company from an office on the sixth floor (number 617) of the Third National Bank Building at Five Points downtown. The Georgian Terrace Hotel, at the corner of Peachtree Street and Ponce de Leon Avenue, had opened in 1911, and two years later the Ansley and Winecoff hotels were completed and opened. From Yancey’s sixth-floor window (when they were not on the road) Goodloe and Earle could watch the completion of the Healey Building, the last high rise to open in Atlanta prior to World War I.

The foundation work for the Healey Building illustrated in a nutshell the technological transformation in construction that Goodloe and Earle Yancey would witness and help accelerate:

Work on the foundations of the Healey Building really began a long time ago. For months one man and a mule found daily employment in clearing the 120 by 200 foot plot on which the excavation has been made. Then the contract was let to the R. M. Walker Construction Company, and four months ago the work began in earnest. Under the able direction of Mr. Collins it has gone forward with painstaking care and under many difficulties because of soil conditions. But now a concrete and rock foundation is ready…

Seventy wells, averaging sixty feet below the street level, and seven feet square, have been dug for the foundation. Each well was dug until solid rock was struck then they were filled with concrete, and on those gigantic pillars of the 18-story building will rest. In addition to these there are sixteen smaller wells. Thirty or forty feet below ground the workmen struck quicksand and water in nearly all of the wells. This was drained off through steam pumps and the work went on with difficulty. — The Atlanta Journal

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Foundations 1914 - 1938
Era Stories