1928 Atlas cutout of the area.
1928 atlas (this page discusses the block in the top left corner)

Today, the Convocation Center occupies the block bordered on the south by Fulton Street SW, on the east by Capitol Avenue SE, and on the northwest by Pollard Boulevard SW. Before the downtown connector was built, the same block was bordered on the south by Fulton Street, on the east by Capitol Avenue, on the north by Clarke Street, and on the west by Crew Street.2

From Residential…

This block has undergone serious change to bring it to how it looks today. For a long time, this area was almost purely residential. The 1932-1950’s Sanborn maps below show that the block consistently served as a block for dwellings, which are labeled with a “D.” Some of the larger homes had garages (labeled “A”), and the later map shows that a gas station was built in the northeastern corner. Both of these point to the growing importance of automotive transportation in everyday life. 

The Sanborn maps show that there were mainly duplexes and tight clusters of small homes. They are also marked as frame buildings that were susceptible to fire damage. This layout suggests that it was a working class area. The 1937 redlining maps confirm this, labeling the area’s inhabitants as mainly, “skilled mechanics, factory workers, and laborers.”5

Further information on the residents can be gleaned from the city directories. The city directories from this time designate black households with a (c) for colored. The 1934 city directory shows that while there are a couple black households near Clarke Street, the block was predominantly white. It is also worth noting the amount of vacancies listed; many people were unable to afford their house. 

The Sanborn maps, the redlining document, and the city directory lead to the conclusion that this block was home to white working class Atlantans for several decades. 

…To Business

The 1961 city directory shows a sharp change in how this block was used. A large chunk of the block was taken up by the County Juvenile Court, the County Juvenile Detention Center, and the County Detention Home. In other words, the block had switched from housing residences to housing government buildings. They were still surrounded by vacancies. 

Because of the time frame, it is plausible that the increase and vacancies and the switch to government buildings was a response to the Great Depression.

Eventually, these buildings were phased out as well. The juvenile justice buildings are now on the opposite side of the downtown connector. By 2008, the block was a parking lot. In 2020, construction began. In 2022, the Convocation Center opened its doors to kickoff a new season of GSU basketball.



  1. “About the Center.” GeorgiaStateUniversity. https://convocationcenter.gsu.edu/about/ (accessed April 8, 2024). ↩︎
  2. “Explore.” ATL Maps. https://atlmaps.org/projects/explore (accessed April 8, 2024). ↩︎
  3. Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Atlanta, FultonCounty, Georgia. Sanborn Map Company, ; Vol.3, 1932-Aug.1950 Map. https://digitalsanbornmaps-proquest-com.eu1.proxy.openathens.net/browse_maps/11/1377/6156/6530/98510?accountid=11226 ↩︎
  4. Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Atlanta, FultonCounty, Georgia. Sanborn Map Company, ; Vol.3, 1932 Map. https://digitalsanbornmaps-proquest-com.eu1.proxy.openathens.net/browse_maps/11/1377/6155/6525/98068?accountid=11226 ↩︎
  5. “Atlanta, Georgia.” Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America. https://dsl.richmond.edu/panorama/redlining/map/GA/Atlanta/area_descriptions/D12#loc=15/33.7365/-84.3831 (Accessed April 8, 2024). ↩︎
  6. 1934 Atlanta City Directory. (Atlanta: Foote and Davis Co, 1934), 1267-1293. ↩︎
  7. 1961 Atlanta City Directory. (Atlanta: Foote and Davis Co, 1961), 106. ↩︎