Story Behind Sidney Lanier Monument

In 1866, Sue Harper, a 23-year-old from Brandon, Mississippi with a “shell-like complexion and violet eyes” met Civil War Veteran Livingston Mims from Jackson, Mississippi. They fell in love and were soon married.

The couple moved to Savannah, Georgia in 1876. After visiting Atlanta, Mrs. Mims fell in love with the city and persuaded her husband to move his business, the Southern Department of the New York Life Insurance Company, to Atlanta.  In 1879, the couple moved into their Queen Anne-style house at the corner of Peachtree Street and Ponce DeLeon Avenue.

Guests to their house, named “Heartsease”, included President Grover Cleveland (twice), President William McKinley and Jefferson Davis.

In 1901, Major Livingston Mims became Mayor of the City of Atlanta.

Mrs. Mims’ love of literature guided her to start the first Shakespeare Club in Atlanta, as well as the Browning Society. She also became the first president of the Home for the Friendless which aided deserted children.

Upon her death, Sue Harper Mims bequeathed money obtained from the sale of her jewels be used to erect a monument to Sidney Lanier in Piedmont Park.

Sidney Lanier, a friend of the Mims and frequent visitor to their home, was considered one of America’s greatest poets whose poems expressed the social concerns of that day. His more famous works are “The Song of The Chattahoochee” and “The Marshes of Glynn.”

Author: Patrick Teague, Piedmont Park Conservancy Docent


Cover Photo Credit: Marcia Brandes

Aerial View Active Oval

The First Georgia vs. Auburn Football Game in 1892

Cool weather, changing trees and tailgates are all the recipe for a perfect fall season. No matter what team you’re rooting for, college football is a part of southern culture. In the South, our fall seasons are filled with traditions, and when it comes to college football, our traditions are dutifully upheld.

Whether you are the biggest Georgia Bulldog fan in the south, an Auburn War Eagle, or somewhere in between, it’s hard to escape the South’s oldest rivalry. While Athens might be a far step from Atlanta, one of the Bulldog’s oldest traditions originated in the heart of Atlanta at Piedmont Park. 

In the middle of winter on February 20, 1892, the University of Georgia (UGA) and the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama (now known as Auburn) met head-to-head for the very first time [1][2] on what is now the Piedmont Park Active Oval. While football might have looked a bit different back then, the rivalry has always been strong. Georgia Bulldog fans might be sad to learn that they lost the game 10-0, but for Auburn, legend has it that the famous “War Eagle” cheer started at this game[1].

2020-Blog GeorgiaAuburnShare

So far, the traditional game has only been missed five times making it one of the oldest and most played traditions in sports history[1].

While many Georgia and Auburn fans won’t be in Sanford Stadium cheering on their team, they are still keeping the spirit of this traditional game alive from their living rooms.

Whether you yell “Sick ‘Em” or “War Eagle,” don’t forget about this game’s humble beginnings right in the heart of Atlanta at Piedmont Park.

Visit our Piedmont Park History page for more interesting information about the Park’s past!

Author: Olivia O’Brien

[1], Brenden Welper. (2019, November 16). Georgia vs. Auburn football: All-time series history, scores, notable games. 

[2] Wikipedia contributors. (2020, May 31). Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. Wikipedia.