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Sunday June 23rd 2024

Driving Miss Daisy | 1989

Driving Miss Daisy film location: Druid Hills, Atlanta
Driving Miss Daisy film location: Miss Daisy’s home: Druid Hills, Atlanta | Photograh: flickr / Kim Jenkins

Trailing Pulitzers and Oscars, It’s difficult now to remember that Alfred Uhry’s adaptation of his own play was a small, low-budget production.

It went on to win Best Film at the Academy, earn the Best Actress award for Jessica Tandy, and propel Morgan Freeman on the road to both President of the USA and God.

Uhry’s story of the slowly developing friendship between wealthy Miss Daisy (Tandy) and chauffeur Hoke (Freeman) was filmed on real locations around the play’s setting of Atlanta, Georgia, where the production company managed to find the ideal setting.

Daisy’s home is 822 Lullwater Road NE, in the residential suburb of Druid Hills, northeast of the city. Having been left unmodernised by its owners, the home perfectly suited the film’s quarter-century time span, from the late 40s to the early 70s.

West of downtown Atlanta, in the Castleberry Hill district, the Fulton Supply Co, 342 Nelson Street SW, stands in for the ‘Wertham Bag & Cotton Co’, owned by Daisy’s son Boolie (Dan Aykroyd).

Driving Miss Daisy film location: Rag O Rama, Euclid Avenue, Atlanta
Driving Miss Daisy film location: the Piggly Wiggly store: Euclid Avenue, Atlanta | Photograph: flickr / Joe McKnight

Like most modern cities, downtown Atlanta itself had changed too much for filming, without scads of expensive period dressing. The street scenes were filmed about 40 miles to the south, on North Hill Street between Solomon Street and Broadway, in the town of Griffin.

Hoke’s first little victory is persuading the proud Daisy to be driven to the store. The black-tiled, deco Rag-o-Rama, 1111 Euclid Avenue NE, a second-hand clothing store in Atlanta’s funky Little Five Points district about a mile southwest of Daisy’s home, was transformed into the ‘Piggly Wiggly’ store.

A very real location is the synagogue that Daisy attends. It’s The Temple, 1589 Peachtree Street NE, which was indeed subject to a bomb attack in October 1958. Miss Daisy wouldn’t have been on her way to worship, though. The none-too-bright bombers, clearly having little knowledge of the Jewish Sabbath, attacked the empty Temple on a Sunday morning.

On to another place of worship, this time for the funeral of Idella (Esther Rolle), which is held at Little Friendship Baptist Church, 315 5th Avenue, between Gordon and Northern Streets, Decatur, east of Atlanta.

Miss Daisy attends the speech by Martin Luther King in the Biltmore, 817 West Peachtree Street NW. Built in 1924, the Biltmore Hotel closed its doors in 1982, standing empty and abandoned until 1999, when it was transformed into a combination of office space, retail and event space. With the renovation its Georgian and Imperial Ballrooms, the Biltmore is now listed on The National Register of Historic Places.