Tom and Stephanie Coffin interview

The Coffin’s art house




Tom and Stephanie Coffin are among the most creative and industrious people you could ever meet.  Since arriving here in the mid sixties for Emory grad school, they have contributed much to the quality of life in Atlanta. They were among the group that birthed and raised The Great Speckled Bird to be “the Wall Street Journal of Underground newspapers”, as 60 Minutes called them. Without The Bird it is unlikely Atlanta would have had such a counter culture.

All recordings copyright the strip project


Arriving in Atlanta

hard work of creating a newspaper

The Bird introduces counter thought to the region

The Bird introduces counter thought to the region

West Coast influences

The Albany Movement

stepping on the Atlanta stage

protective aura of a woman with small child

too hot at the Byron Pop Festival

trouble finding housing

Seattle roots and Beat bloodline


Stephanie and son stroll The Strip

Stephanie with son Zac in stroller in front of Atlantis Rising on The Strip







2014 Zac Coffin by hois sculpture at 10th and Peachtree
2014 Zac Coffin by his sculpture at 10th and Peachtree

Caught for history

The Strip to 14th Street

Talkin’ to Tom Coffin

Atlanta’s Lorax; Tom speaks for the trees.

Tom was later the head arborist for Atlanta, charged with protecting our tree canopy. The developers were upset with  him for doing a good job and not giving them free reign, so fellow travelers in city government fired him as incompetent. He sued the city and he won in court as a whistleblower on corruption. Now he continues the fight to keep Atlanta’s trees healthy through The Tree Next Door organization.




starting The Great Speckled Bird

Most memorable moments

Mini-riot on 14th Street

Colony Square developers destroy the street

Life at The Birdhouse on 14th

Emory Herald Tribune leads to The Bird

1970s bring back harder times




4 thoughts on “Tom and Stephanie Coffin interview

  1. I grew up as a kid at 67th 12th Street, N.E Atlanta , Ga. Lived in that house from 1960 until my mama died in 1973. Rode my bike along with a couple of neighborhood kids thru all the underground parking lots, Crescent Ave, apt complexes,. I remember finding copies of the Great Speckled Bird in the underground garages, etc.. It was a very scary, but exciting & now I see it as quite a historical time of my childhood. There is a parking lot where my house once stood. Stories I could tell of my life as a inner city kid at 67 12th Street N E Atlanta Ga

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *