Undoubtedly, one of the most tragic incidents in Atlanta history is the Winecoff Hotel fire, which occurred on the morning of December 7, 1946. 119 people lost their lives, and it’s still the worst hotel fire in U.S. history.
Sam Heys and Allen Goodwin wrote the definitive book about the fire, The Winecoff Fire: The Untold Story of America’s Deadliest Hotel Fire. Allen maintains a website about the fire and its aftermath, and the site contains lots of photos and anecdotes about the victims and survivors.
Sam graciously met me in front of the site of the old Winecoff Hotel to provide the basic story of the fire, including a discussion of the famous photos of the fire taken Georgia Tech grad student Arnold Hardy. After twenty-five years of neglect, the building re-opened in 2007 as the boutique Ellis Hotel.