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South’s First Studio Razed

After a nearly three-month legal standoff, the site of the first recording studio in the South has been demolished.

Atlanta, GA (November 11, 2019)—A nearly three-month standoff between preservationists and developers over a building that once housed the first recording studio in the South ended on October 31, when the final legal challenges preventing demolition of the site were dropped.

In 1923, the building at 152 Nassau Street hosted a temporary recording facility where Fiddlin’ John Carson recorded “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane” for Okeh Records. Considered to be the first Country Music hit, the song sold more than 500,000 copies and became a phenomenon. In more recent times, however, the building became the final obstacle in the way of building a 21-story, $100 million-plus Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville hotel on an adjacent plot of land. The Nassau Street site was set to be demolished to create space for garbage dumpsters behind the eventual hotel.

Should the South’s First Studio Be Saved?

On August 8, demolition crews began tearing down the Nassau Street building, but stopped just hours later when a temporary restraining order was issued by Judge Shawn Ellen LaGrua, preventing further work until a later hearing. To obtain the order, preservationist group Historic Atlanta argued that a November 6, 2017 agreement between the city and developer Strand Capital Group of North Myrtle Beach, SC, was unlawful because it sidestepped the city’s zoning processes, depriving the public of due process.