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Designing Dixie

Tourism, Memory, and Urban Space in the New South
Reiko Hillyer

BUY Cloth · 280 pp. · 6.125 × 9.25 · ISBN 9780813936703 · $45.00 · Dec 2014
BUY Ebook · 280 pp. · ISBN 9780813936710 · $45.00 · Dec 2014

Although many white southerners chose to memorialize the Lost Cause in the aftermath of the Civil War, boosters, entrepreneurs, and architects in southern cities believed that economic development, rather than nostalgia, would foster reconciliation between North and South. In Designing Dixie, Reiko Hillyer shows how these boosters crafted distinctive local pasts designed to promote their economic futures and to attract northern tourists and investors.

Neither romanticizing the Old South nor appealing to Lost Cause ideology, promoters of New South industrialization used urban design to construct particular relationships to each city’s southern, slaveholding, and Confederate pasts. Drawing on the approaches of cultural history, landscape studies, and the history of memory, Hillyer shows how the southern tourist destinations of St. Augustine, Richmond, and Atlanta deployed historical imagery to attract northern investment. St. Augustine’s Spanish Renaissance Revival resorts muted the town’s Confederate past and linked northern investment in the city to the tradition of imperial expansion. Richmond boasted its colonial and Revolutionary heritage, depicting its industrial development as an outgrowth of national destiny. Atlanta’s use of northern architectural language displaced the southern identity of the city and substituted a narrative of long-standing allegiance to a modern industrial order. With its emphases on alternative southern pasts, architectural design, tourism, and political economy, Designing Dixie significantly revises our understandings of both southern historical memory and post–Civil War sectional reconciliation.


Reiko Hillyer offers a surprising, challenging, and fascinating history of three cities that deepens our understanding of post–Civil War regional relations. Designing Dixie shows how northern business and southern booster communities developed public forms of remembrance that went beyond simple nostalgia for the Old South and fostered a sense of solidarity in enduring cultural and economic terms.

Phoebe S. K. Young, University of Colorado, Boulder, author of California Vieja: Culture and Memory in a Modern American Place

Well-written, thoughtful, and provocative, Designing Dixie makes a compelling case for reevaluating how we understand both the process of reconciliation and the economic development of the New South.

Caroline E. Janney, Purdue University, author of Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation

" Designing Dixie is a significant book that raises fresh questions about the New South."

William D. Bryan, Georgia State University · Journal of Southern History

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