Joe’s Laundry at 56 Georgia Avenue in Atlanta holds a special place in my heart as it was owned by my uncle Joe since the 1940s until he retired sometime in the 1970s. In 1966, major league baseball came to Atlanta as the Milwaukee Braves relocated their team. The original site of Uncle Joe’s laundry site at 644 Capitol Avenue just around the corner from its present site was razed and became part of the parking lot for the stadium. Later in the 1970s, Uncle Joe retired and turned the laundry over to his oldest son Hoi Kwan. Then when he retired, his son Paul Kwan continued the operation of Joe’s Laundry, making it a three generation family business.
Located in an economically depressed low income area next to Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves baseball team, there has been the ever present danger of robbery which led Paul eventually to install protective iron enclosures separating the entrance from the work space within the laundry as shown below.
Now that the Atlanta Braves have decided to leave the present location in Fulton County in 2017 to play in a new stadium to be built in Cobb County, as discussed in the Nov. 16, 2013 Atlanta Journal article below, this already seedy area around the laundry faces an even bleaker future.
Joe’s Laundry has served the community around it for three generations, but its future looks dim. The arrival of major league baseball in 1966 dealt it a big setback, forcing Uncle Joe to move the laundry to a new location. Now, in 2013 the impending departure of the Atlanta Braves from the neighborhood will have another negative impact on Joe’s Laundry as well as on its customers and the community.