Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Vintage Recording Surfaces

A few hours before the Winecoff Hotel burned, a small group of teens peered into the hotel's bar, certain they'd be unwelcome. They were drawn by the sound of Ward Duval at the piano entertaining hotel guests.

The bar's manager, Andy Marinos, conferred with them, then asked Duval if the teens could join him to sing a few songs. Duval consented and together they sang It's Only Make Believe and Showboat.

They were due for roll-call the next morning in the state capital because they were Youth Assembly delegates visiting from smaller Georgia towns. Surely their exciting Friday night in the big city was enhanced by the impromptu performance.

It's unclear if Bainbridge, Ga. delegate, Maxine Willis, was among the teens but her older sister Sara thinks her sister wouldn't have shied away from a chance to sing.

Now, vintage vocal recordings of Winecoff fire victim Maxine Willis have surfaced. They were recorded in the fall of 1946.

Listen to a brief excerpt and read her full biography at Winecoff in Depth.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

George Goodwin Honored

In the foreground of this 1946 front page photo
is Atlanta Journal reporter George Goodwin.

George Goodwin, now 93, was honored on March 15, 2011 by Central Atlanta Progress, the city's downtown business development association. He received the Dan Sweat Award for his lifetime of civic involvement at the association's annual meeting held on the property of the World of Coca-Cola.

As an Atlanta Journal reporter in 1946, Goodwin covered the Winecoff fire. He was never convinced the fire's origin had been properly investigated by city officials.

Two years later he won the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Local Reporting for his series of Journal stories that exposed a voting fraud conspiricy in Georgia.

His career as a newspaper reporter and later as a public relations executive gave him many oppotunities to assist Atlanta's growth. He spoke to a large and grateful crowd upon recieving the award. Georgia's governor and the city's mayor also spoke at the event.

George Goodwin is the father of Winecoff Fire co-author Allen B. Goodwin.

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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

College Class Hears Winecoff Story

Today the story of the Winecoff Hotel fire was told on the campus of Southern Maine Community College. Portland, Maine firefighter Beau Gros was a guest lecturer in the "Fire in American Society" classroom.

He described for students the tactics used to fight the fire. He also discussed rescue strategies, many devised by the hotel's guests themselves.

The co-authors of The Winecoff Fire: The Untold Story of America's Deadliest Hotel Fire were pleased to assist Gros with his preparation.

Wrote Gros afterward, "I received a great response to the class. Thank you SO much for all your assistance and encouragement. I can definitely see myself teaching this and other American fire stories into the future."

That's good news for fire safety because there's no shortage of lessons to be learned from the Winecoff fire.