The Atlanta Braves are surging, so it's easy to forget about the city's previous professional baseball teams, the Crackers.
They played at Ponce de Leon Park on a spot across from the Ponce City Market that's now occupied by the Whole Foods shopping center. That ballpark was noted for large magnolia trees on the edge of the outfield that have drawn the attention of Trees Atlanta.
The environmental group sent this message:
This week, Trees Atlanta will harvest cuttings from the historic magnolia trees that grow behind the Whole Foods in Poncey-Highland. Sunbelt will generously donate a 60-80 foot Boom truck to enable Trees Atlanta to obtain quality cuttings. The public is invited to watch the cuttings take place this Wednesday, August 14th, from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM.
These particular magnolias are beloved in Atlanta, and citizens have spent many years protecting them. Not only can they be seen from the Eastside Trail of the Atlanta BeltLine (immediately north of the Ponce de Leon bridge), the trees are also visible in old photos of the area circa the 1940s and 1950s; back then, the trees bordered the outfield of the minor league baseball park known as Ponce de Leon Park. The Atlanta Crackers and the Atlanta Black Crackers played in this ballpark, and baseball Hall of Famers Eddie Mathews and Babe Ruth are known to have hit home runs into the trees during exhibition games.
The area where the stadium was is now the popular shopping area known as Midtown Place, and the trees are getting older. Given erosion and impact from past development, Trees Atlanta and Beltline, Inc., feel it will be wise harvest cuttings from the tree, so that magnolias with the same genetic makeup can be planted.
Trees Atlanta will cut new growth high in the tree that is approximately 5 or 6 inches long. These cuttings will be watered and cared for and, eventually, planted to grow into new magnolia trees. The trees will be planted along the Atlanta BeltLine, and may also be available for purchase to the Atlanta public.“It is a beautiful way to keep these historic magnolias living for generations to come,” says Greg Levine, Trees Atlanta’s Co-Executive Director. “These trees are part of the history of the area. From Cracker Stadium to the old Sears Building – which will soon transform into the Ponce City Market – this area holds many stories that we want to keep alive.”