Drinks and history: Battle of Atlanta pub tour this SaturdayA firing demonstration from the July 2014 Battle of Atlanta commemoration event. Photo provided by Chris Billingsley
By Dena Mellick, Associate editor
Here’s one way to drink in history. A tour company called Urban Battle Tours is guiding The Battle of Atlanta Pub Tour this Saturday, July 18th from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.
Matt Spaulding, president of Urban Battle Tours, says the pub tour starts out with drinks at the Glenn Hotel at 110 Marietta Street in downtown Atlanta. He said he starts things off by explaining the founding of Atlanta to the tour group.
“To understand the founding of Atlanta is really to understand the Battle of Atlanta, because Atlanta was founded as a railroad town. The Battle of Atlanta was fought over one of the railroad lines that runs east out of the city towards Augusta to Virginia,” Spaulding said.
A tour bus goes through Inman Park, Decatur, Kirkwood and Grant Park’s Oakland Cemetery.
Spaulding said the group will stop at the Square Pub in downtown Decatur and Grant Park’s Republic Social House. Along the way, the tourists will see Civil War memorials and markers, and even tour Oakland Cemetery if time and weather permits.
Spaulding, an Avondale Estates resident, said he has long had a love for history, which came from his father.
“My dad was a history major and a big history buff, and he also served in the military. He was in the Navy and was in Vietnam,” Spaulding said. “His dad, my grandfather, was in World War II and was in the Army, and we had relatives that actually fought in the Civil War, two brothers up in Massachusetts. We also had a relative that was a Minuteman in the Revolutionary War.”
Spaulding has turned that love of history into a side business through Urban Battle Tours.
In July of 1864, the battle that began in Kirkwood helped to propel President Abraham Lincoln to a second term in office. Thousands of men died during one afternoon of fighting in what became known as the Battle of Atlanta.
The tour costs $40 ($35 for seniors and military; free for kids under 12) and does not include the price of drinks. Spaulding noted teetotalers are welcome.
“This is not a booze tour,” Spaulding said. “Participants only have just enough time to buy a drink, enjoy it, listen to the program, and settle up their bar tab. We spend about 40 minutes at each place.”
Spaulding said tours are limited to 10 people, and there are only a few spots left for Saturday’s tour. He said there is another tour scheduled for August 15th that people can sign up for as well.
If can’t go on the pub tour, the Kirkwood Neighbors’ Organization newsletter reports that on July 25 there will be a BATL Battle of Atlanta commemoration event to celebrate the 151st anniversary of the battle.
B*ATL will conduct “The Battle Starts Here Tour”, described as “an easy hike through the Kirkwood neighborhood.” It starts at 11:30 a.m.
B*ATL will also lead the Frontlines Battle Tour, described as “the oldest walking tour” and one of the most popular. It begins at 5 p.m. on July 25.