Diabolus Acta Diurna is a direct latin translation for the Devil’s News Paper. We chose this name for the column and a special release within Grease Inc. magazine for several reasons. Here’s why.
Since the inception of Hell on Wheels 9 years ago, we have run into the continued ignorance of many. Has anyone taken the time to research where Hell on Wheels derives from? Those who truly support Garage71 and Grease Inc. know that most, if not all, of the crew reflect continuously on times past within American history. We often pay our respects through articles of influences of the past, such as Elvis, Johnny Cash, and “Big Daddy” Roth, just to name a few inspirations. We write about and reflect on what was, and still should be, considered American History and Tradition.
Hell on Wheels originally derives from the old west and the laying of the railroad tracks across America. This was a hard time for our country. The tragedies that occurred through the decades of building the rail lines will forever be lost memories in the hills of our country, the dessert of the land, and in the bloodlines of American heritage and history. “The phrase ‘Hell on Wheels’ was originally used to describe the itinerant collection of flimsily assembled gambling houses, dance halls, saloons, and brothels that followed the army of Union Pacific railroad workers westward as they constructed the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1860s North America. The huge number of wage-earning young men working in what was a remote wilderness, far from the constraints of home, proved to be a lucrative opportunity for those with expertise at separating such men from their money. As the end of the line continually moved westward, Hell on Wheels followed along, reconstructing itself on the outskirts of each town that became, in turn, the center of activity for the Union Pacific’s construction work.” Though today, the result of what was lost then, is far different. One thing that is never understood, outside of historians, is why do people look away from history? Or better yet, why do we not encourage to learn from history, rather than alter it or pretend it didn’t exist.
Through time, Hell on Wheels attached itself to several other American iconic historical timelines and periods. Hell on Wheels captures in the 1920’s a snapshot of how Springfield, Massachusetts, portrayed itself. Hell on Wheels has been attached to the military services within the Army’s 2nd Armored Division. The 2nd Armored Division (“Hell on Wheels”) was a division of the United States Army that played an important role during World War II in the invasions of North Africa and Sicily, the liberation of France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, and the invasion of Germany. During the Cold War, the division was primarily based at Fort Hood, Texas, and had a reinforced brigade forward stationed in West Germany. After participation in the Persian Gulf War, the division was deactivated in 1995. Its units were later transferred to the 4th Infantry Division.
So, why all the explanations to Hell on Wheels? What’s all the hype about? Well, over the course of the first Hell on Wheels, at the Atlanta Bottling Company, since our first awesome party, this negative cloud surrounds a name of an awesome celebration. We choose the name for the immediate thought of loud and fast cars, live music, mean machinery, and a collection of real Americans celebrating goods times with a reason. Then for 6 years we moved the event to our “backyard” at the studios of Grease Inc. and Garage71. We held the event either on our property at the Tannery Row Artist Lofts or up the street with our great neighbors at the Legion. Over time, the event has been amazing. We worked hard to bring a true sense of community to a lifestyle celebration. Well, the City of Buford didn’t see it this way. With out any cause, they made it so difficult to host the celebration in Buford, we moved it.
What? You never knew the facts? Well, let us share the truths behind it all. Now, we could go through all the crooked behaviors of the owner of the Pizza Pub back then, but since then the bar was sold and we have some good neighbors at the Tannery Row Ale House. However, the City of Buford has always been one of backwards, small town thinking. Also known as the Buford Mafia, the City of Buford is filled with solid corruption. Though we always managed to receive permits for the events, we had several private threats every year from the marshall and the commissioner of the City of Buford for the event. We were told we can not under any reason drink outside. It’s against the law in Buford. However, the state law clearly outlines our event as a private event. We hosted the event on private property, controlled entrances, proper signage where we did have legal and proper safeguards in place in restrictions of alcohol according to the state. We hired local police to ensure our guests were safe and that we always do the right thing. The second to last year in the City of Buford, we received 6 citations for various reasons from outside consumption of alcohol, tent height, and road signage. The marshall parked across the street on private property without permission from the property owner and filmed and snapped pictures of the event. All good. We paid and laughed as it caused them more of a headache and waste of a day than anything. That year, at the Legion, we raised record sales and donations that went to several charities locally. We assisted in several veteran programs, assisted children in need, and helped several families when in need. We want to remind you, this is also the year the City of Buford was trying to claim the property of the Legion and take ownership of their land by eminent domain.
The next and last year we requested permits for our studio property at Tannery Row Artist Colony, our charity was the local Special Needs Schools of Gwinnett. Wow, how scary is that? We enjoyed another day of harassment by the city, as we enjoyed a day of music, cars, and kulture while raising money for a great cause. The real funny thing about that year is the City of Buford hosted and managed their own city park event. Now, they served alcohol and all proceeds went to the city. We walked the event and not one person at any time ID’ed a guest in line. The city did not have any wristbands calling out who is under-age or of age to drink. The City of Buford even had a VIP area that included an “all you can drink” bar. The best part of that event was two of the three commissioners got into a fist fight. It was all caught on camera. Of course, not one person was arrested. It was all swept under the streets of the Buford Mafia, the City of Buford. Oh, it’s great when we see the Marshall now. We always ask if the streets are safe from fist fights and if the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s have settled their differences… Funny how things really are!
This past year, the 8th year, we thought we had a new home. The City of Canton approached us and invited us to come to their town to host the event. It was amazing. The layout is perfect for an event. The local businesses are great to work with. Though the local police are a little sensitive, we respected their decisions because at the end of the day, they were just doing their jobs. By the end of the event, even the Canton Police knew that we were there to celebrate, not burn a town down. Year 8 of Hell on Wheels was historical. From kids seeing their first concert ever, to some of the best collections of hot rods and vintage motorcycles, Hell on Wheels went down as one of Atlanta’s best events in 2016. Since then, our contact at the city was let go. Her position was eliminated. Interesting enough, the elder wife of one of the city councilmen is now in charge of events in the City of Canton. What are her qualifications you ask, absolutely none other than she sleeps with the right man. We applied the very next week for permits following the 2016 show. This is normal routine. Of course, at that time, no one was in a position to begin to talk with us, so we kept receiving the run around for about 5 months placing us in a critical time for this year’s Hell on Wheels. During the run around period, and to be honest, many uncomfortable discussions surrounding Hell on Wheels, we learned that the town “was looted” at the event. We also learned that “naked ladies” were running around everywhere. We heard that the town was “set on fire” and that we were “burning rubber” all night long. But, when the questions were asked, how could a town be burned down if there are no buildings that were burned? Where are the tread marks from these burnouts? Oh, none… OK. Well, if there was looting, and your entire staff of police were hired and on property at Hell on Wheels, then either it didn’t occur as said, or the police had to be in on it, because we knew of none. Lastly, with today’s social media and “naked ladies” running around everywhere, you would think someone would get an awesome picture we could all look at. Oh darn, not one was caught on camera.
Now, we must say, at one point, we love all these stories about Hell on Wheels. Stories make events bigger than life. It will never take away from the fact that we do throw down a good party for sure. That’s what it’s all about! We have become an international show and event. We have people come coast to coast to our event, and we are humble in having such a great opportunity to say thank you to our supporters and community.
This year, we are looking forward to working with Atlanta Dragway and the City of Commerce. We will be bringing back many of our traditions including our way of hosting a car and bike show. We will have some amazing toe-tapping music you can dance to. We are working with the City of Commerce to host a cruise-in downtown to again support local business. Yes, we will say there will be burnouts because we will be partnering with Gear Jam Vintage Drags and that’s what a drag strip is about. Laying tread down a 1/4 mile stretch to have a chance to win and live the American Dream.
This is the 9th year anniversary of Hell on Wheels. If the word Hell offends you, stay the Hell home. We are not here to offend, but to have a good time at one heck of an awesome location. We look forward to announcing the amazing line-up and to include some of the best sponsors by local and nationwide brands. We are excited as we head into a decade of entertaining of lifestyle we live every day.
This is our story. These are the facts. If you have any questions, give us a call. We are not ashamed of saying thank you to a community. That’s what Hell on Wheels is about! See you October 20th & 21st!!!