Gaines Hall, built in 1869 as a dorm for Atlanta University, caught fire on Aug. 20. The next day, the Atlanta Fire Department said the historic building should be torn down for safety reasons. But local preservationists immediately objected, saying Gaines Hall can and should be saved.
Atlanta has a pretty dismal record when it comes to preservation.
All too often, vacant older buildings suffer from a condition known as demolition by neglect ─ they fall victim to the elements or catch on fire ─ giving property owners an excuse to tear them down.