Smyrna, Fulton County — ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - On Friday, Jim Lane surveyed the outside of Aunt Fanny’s Cabin for the first time since he learned he was the winning bidder in taking over ownership of the historic cabin.
“I think it’s a great opportunity, and we’re going to take it a step at a time, get it moved. Try not to get the cart before the horse, and plan it out strategically,” said Lane, in an interview with CBS46 on Friday.
Lane said he put in his bid after watching the news realizing that in early 2022, the City had not received any bids and the cabin was facing demolition.
“I kept thinking to myself, what a waste. And you know, no, we’ve got to turn that around,” said Lane, sitting next to his wife Tonnie, who will help with the transfer. Lane made the bid on behalf of Ashley Limousin Farms Inc.
Lane said he’s hoping to have it transported to this cattle farm in Mount Zion by July.
The Smyrna City Council, with a 4-2 vote, chose Lane’s bid over two other options earlier this week.
Lane said it’s early in the planning stage, but he’s considering re-opening the Cabin as a farm-to-table restaurant on his cattle farm. He said he intends to keep the “Aunt Fanny’s Cabin” name.
“Those kind of people, you don’t erase them,” said Lane.
The cabin, which opened as a restaurant in 1940, has a deep and divisive history.
It’s named after Fanny Williams, one of the restaurants servants at the time. Many have been critical of the cabin’s past of using racially offensive stereotypes to promote the restaurant.
Some said this façade overshadowed Williams’ impact on the Georgia community. Fanny Williams was an activist and helped launch the first Black hospital in Cobb County.
“I saw the picture of her breaking the ground, so that’s awesome,” said Tonnie, who said she especially appreciated the cabin’s unique bookshelves.
Jim and Tonnie embrace the cabin’s embattled history and told CBS46 they believe some of the criticism has been unwarranted.
“Some history is good, some is bad, some is ugly. But regardless, we learn from it,” said Lane.
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