Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Designing Dixie: Tourism, Memory, and Urban Space in the New South

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Designing Dixie: Tourism, Memory, and Urban Space in the New South

Article excerpt

Designing Dixie: Tourism, Memory, and Urban Space in the New South. By Reiko Hillyer. The American South. (Charlottesville and London: University of Virginia Press, 2014. Pp. [xiv], 266. $45.00, ISBN 978-0-8139-3670-3.)

Reiko Hillyer's Designing Dixie: Tourism, Memory, and Urban Space in the New South suggests that rather than being torn between venerating an Old South and promoting an industrial New South, urban boosters in the decades between Reconstruction and World War I jettisoned controversial memories of the past to promote economic development. Tourism was the vehicle for this revisionism. Before it became a big business, civic boosters saw tourism as a means of drawing capital to the region. History may have lured tourists south, but boosters edited out contentious aspects of the region's past--especially relating to the Old South, the Lost Cause, and Reconstruction--to market a more benign version that promoted reconciliation and convinced northern visitors to invest in southern development. In this way tourism not only brought in money; it also helped validate the New South creed.

Hillyer focuses on how developmental imperatives shaped the uses of public memory in three cities: St. Augustine, Florida; Richmond, Virginia; and Atlanta, Georgia. In each place city leaders drew on different aspects of the region's past to promote economic development--an important reminder that New South boosters did not speak with one voice. In St. Augustine boosters latched on to the city's Spanish past. Building resorts in the Spanish Renaissance Revival style underscored this narrative and promoted St. Augustine as the nation's oldest city--emphasizing that it had "a heritage of patriotism rather than one of treason" (p. 45). Industrial development tinged uses of the past in Richmond, where boosters played up the city's colonial and Revolutionary heritage while guaranteeing that black laborers would serve as "a well-trained proletariat" (p. 91). Richmond and St. Augustine may have looked to the distant past to assure investors of their bright future, but Atlantans boasted that their short history and the "creative destruction" of war had provided a clean slate on which to build a "Yankee city of the South" (pp. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.