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David Messer photograph collection

Collection number: ahc.VIS237

Scope and Content

The images in this collection consist of photographs of the construction of the Atlanta Civic Center taken by David James Messer, Sr. Photographs include black and white interior and exterior images of the auditorium of the convention center and the exhibit building for the City of Atlanta. Messer produced monthly images to document the stages of the Atlanta Civic Center's development. The collection depicts views of the initial groundbreaking in 1965 to the completion of the convention center in 1968. The collection includes a black and white print image of David Messer, Sr.


  • 1965-1968


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

This material is protected by copyright law. (Title 17, U.S. Code) Permission for use must be cleared through the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. Licensing agreement may be required.

Administrative/Biographical History

David James Messer, Sr. (1926-2010) of Austell, Georgia, was born in Louisiana. By the age of 14, Messer moved to Beaumont, Texas, with his mother, Emma Frank (1906-?) and step-father, Cherley Frank (1900-?). The family lived on Louisiana Street in Beaumont with their aunt, Mildred Williams (1921-?), who operated a beauty parlor. His stepdad was a manager for a log contractor. Messer also attended Beaumont High School and received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Lamar State College of Technology, in Beaumont.

After receiving his college degree, Messer moved to Houston, Texas, and then to Atlanta, Georgia, to serve as an engineer for various construction projects. As the project manager for Warrior Construction Company, Inc., Messer spearheaded the construction of the Atlanta Civic Center, along with Atlanta-based architectural engineering firm, Robert and Company, Inc. The Atlanta Civic Center was built in 1968 as the city’s convention center and is located on the site of Ripley Street and part of Currier Street in an area once known as Buttermilk Bottom. The area was renamed Bedford-Pines and razed in the 1960s to make way for the Atlanta Civic Center and future residential and commercial developments. Messer left Warrior Construction to work for Ronfra Development and served as President for the owner, Bruce Davis, overseeing several apartments being built in Atlanta.

In 1972, Messer opened his engineering firm, Messer Construction Company, Inc., located at 2310 Adams Drive in Atlanta. His firm remodeled Georgia Baptist Hospital, Grady Hospital, and built two office parks in Atlanta for Kim King Associates, LLC. Messer was the contract engineer for office parks on Fulton Industrial Boulevard in Atlanta for Howell Barden, Jr., CEO of General Mechanical. Because he became ill, Messer decided to closed his company in 1994, and spent time working with Father David Stachurski at St. John Vianney Catholic Church of Lithia Springs, Georgia to ensure that the church’s new wing contained a day chapel, classrooms, and a suite of offices.

In 1997, Messer oversaw the construction of the church’s new larger worship center, which was designed by Brent Pope of Howell Pope Architects of Dunwoody with J.H.D. Construction serving as the general contractor. He supervised the construction project, working with Father Dan Fink until the center was completed in 1999, in time for the worship center’s dedication at the First Mass on August 29, 1999. Archbishop John F. Donahue presided over the dedication Mass.

David James Messer, Sr. passed away on November 13, 2010.


224 photographic print(s) (224 black and white photographic prints)



System of Arrangement

This collection is arranged chronologically according to titles supplied by staff.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 2013

Description Control

This collection was processed in 2016.

David Messer photograph collection
Felicia Render
February 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305