The area that is now the “orange lot” directly North of Publix Summerhill has been a face of change throughout the city’s development. In 1898 and 1899 the surrounding streets were Capitol Ave. (S), Fulton St. (N), Frazer St. (W), and Richardson St. (E), and the area was primarily residential. The street names have largely remained the same with Frazer becoming Fraser by 1925 and Capitol Ave. being renamed Hank Aaron in the 1990’s. 1914 and 1898 directories indicate that the area was a mixed-race residential area with several names marked (c) indicative of the Jim Crow Era and had several vacancies.

The MacGregor Institute considered a “south side”1 school at the time of its opening in 1897, was located at 223 Capitol Avenue in the stretch between Fulton St. and Richardson St. It was founded by established educators Clementine and Margaret MacGregor, the grand opening in the Black residential area was of high anticipation and success. Macgregor was a private all-girls institute that originally offered primary courses in science, literature, and art. By 1899 the school was under expansion and soon reopening with boarding and “primary, preparatory, academic, and collegiate departments”2. The institute was seemingly successful into the early 1900’s yet little information exists on it after this point, there was perhaps another institute that began offering such educational services or rezoning that would have made Macgregor unnecessary.

The block was originally on streetcar lines which provided access to the city for residents early on yet came with grim indications – Atlanta’s patterns of new development run on old lines fostering new forms of transport-based discrimination. By the1960’s this community was mostly displaced by the downtown connector. In the 1970’s the incoming Stadium next door meant all residents of this block were displaced as it was fully demolished and became a parking lot. As a parking lot the area has been used as parking for Atlanta-Fulton-County Stadium, the 1996 Olympics, the Braves, Turner Field, and now is owned by Georgia State for what has been rebranded Center-Park Stadium. Residents of still-residential areas continued to protest against further infrastructure through the Olympic Games and Braves Residence in Summerhill to no avail. Today the parking lot serves as a buffer with an expansive parking lot, stadium, and stores to the west and south, an interstate to the north, and a highly gentrified residential area directly to the east.

Besides MacGregor traceable change with the block happened through Sanborn maps from 1899 -1911 with multiple units, presumably houses, being built and the addition of a short-lived lumber yard. In the 1930s the area remained residential, to the southwest it was neighbored by Piedmont Hospital, by the 1950s the institution was relocated and plans for interstates and stadiums were underway. Into the late 20th century the area, as a part of Summerhill, faced ongoing issues of segregation, racial tensions, and financial immobility. Issues of redlining and exclusionary infrastructure continued as property values dropped and vacancies increased. Nearby white churches refused integration, and crime and poverty for residents lingered. 

Citations:

1895-1962 SanBorn Maps. https://digitalsanbornmaps-proquest-com.eu1.proxy.openathens.net/about?accountid=11226

Atlanta SanBorn Maps. https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1YltjCdEEE5CgPDvVDiRMeN7oFhEAu_Q&ll=33.761769057084855%2C-84.37966668364004&z=12

1898/1914 Atlanta City Directory Co.’s Greater Atlanta Directory, , Emory University https://archive.org/details/atlantacitydirec1898vvbu/page/148/mode/2up

  1. MACGREGOR INSTITUTE.: New School on the South Side. The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945); Aug 28, 1897; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Atlanta Constitution pg. 5 https://www.proquest.com/hnpatlantaconstitution2/docview/495420311/70BD8DBE1B29444APQ/3?accountid=11226&sourcetype=Historical%20Newspapers ↩︎
  2. MACGREGOR INSTITUTE: Adds Boarding Department–Has Enlarged Plans. The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945); Jun 18, 1899; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Atlanta Constitution pg. 5 https://www.proquest.com/hnpatlantaconstitution2/docview/495509374/70BD8DBE1B29444APQ/2?accountid=11226&sourcetype=Historical%20Newspapers ↩︎