From the Pig’n Whistle to MLK’s funeral, here’s a brief history of the iconic Krispy Kreme on Ponce

ATLANTA — It has been in place for more than 60 years and, this week, an Atlanta institution went up in flames.

Early Wednesday morning, the Krispy Kreme doughnut shop set on fire and is now considered to be a total loss.

You ask anyone who lives in the area, and they likely have a Krispy Kreme story to share about the iconic store at the corner of Ponce de Leon and Argonne avenues.

“This is an Atlanta landmark,” said Mickey Griffin, who stopped by the store Wednesday, stopping to see the damage for himself.

David Trevino reminisced about the 90s when he was a college student and would stop by whether the “hot” light was on or not.

“Well, it didn’t matter. If you wanted doughnuts, you got doughnuts,” Trevino said.

We’ve been digging into the history of that spot, and this is what we found out.

Before it was Krispy Kreme, the Pig’n Whistle drive-in stood at 295 Ponce de Leon Avenue. The restaurant known for its barbecue, opened its doors on April 1, 1928.

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“The Pig’n Whistle was destined to become one of America’s iconic landmarks and noted for making history on more than one occasion,” the drive-in chain said on its website.

The restaurant was “owned by Harold T. Hagen for some years until it was taken over by the Campbell Coal Company of Atlanta until it’s closing in the 1960′s,” according to GatewayMacon.com.

And that’s where Krispy Kreme comes in.

“Krispy Kreme first came to Atlanta as strictly a wholesale store located on 451 Ponce de Leon Avenue, and moved to its current location in 1965, where it began serving like an actual restaurant,” The Odyssey Online said in a 2016 article about the Atlanta mainstay.

The first Ponce location was only the eighth Krispy Kreme store ever built at that point, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

After Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral in April 1968, the Krispy Kreme fed mourners by donating 150 dozen doughnuts to Atlanta churches.

The store was closed for two months in 2003 as it underwent a big renovation that included installing the conveyer belt to make their legendary fresh “Hot” doughnuts.

It almost closed a number of times throughout the years, which prompted former-NBA super star Shaquille O’Neal to buy the historic doughnut shop in 2016.

O’Neal and Krispy Kreme said Wednesday they intend to rebuild the store so it can remain a piece of Atlanta history for many years to come.