the histories of our streets

Georgia State University students map Atlanta's past

Author: Raymond L.

The Trolley Barn

Photograph of the Trolley Barn from Edgewood Avenue
Photograph of the Trolley Barn from Edgewood Avenue1

If you travel down Edgewood Avenue, you’ll pass through historic parts of Atlanta that have a deep and rich history with the city of Atlanta, including through the retail district and into the historic Inman Park neighborhood. This rich history extends throughout Edgewood Avenue, however there is one building which tends to stand out near the east end of Edgewood Avenue, near the Inman Park/Reynoldstown MARTA station — the Trolley Barn.

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Change Over Time

As has been alluded to in other posts, this area thrived as a predominately Jewish community throughout the early 1900s, with waves of immigration from Eastern European Jews. Several Jewish Synagogues and Congregations could be found in this area. Some of the most notable Jewish congregations in this area included the Beth Israel Synagogue and the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation. However, over time, this Jewish community largely began to dissipate and move to other parts of Atlanta. Many of the Congregations and Synagogues either moved or closed down, and were replaced largely by Christian ones.

Further into the 1900s, we begin to see more and more of these Christian Congregations and Churches popping up throughout the area in the city directories, and a notable increase in the number of standalone shops and apartments. Several of the older Jewish synagogues and congregations in the area were either replaced by Christian congregations as the Jewish population moved out, or they were bulldozed and turned into Apartments.

By the time we reach the 1950s, much of the area consisted of Apartment complexes, including ones which were largely vacant throughout their existence. Many of the original homes also stood, but this notable increase in Apartments is significant in pointing out how the exodus of the Jewish community began changing the landscape of the area.

We also begin to see the City of Atlanta start making notable considerations in how they want to plan the interstate highways towards the middle of the century. In 1945, the City of Atlanta released an Urban Land Usage map that showed much of this area as largely residential with a few commercial buildings dotted throughout the area. However, much of this residential area was deemed as substandard. This designation likely reflected much of the changing demographics of the area and a negative attitude towards the racial makeup of the area, or simply reflected the fact that many of these homes were, at the time, fairly old in comparison to some of the newer neighborhoods in Atlanta. Either way, this designation likely ended up playing a large role in determining where the highways would intersect and bulldoze their way through the landscape.

By the time we reach the 1960s, and once the interstates have already razed much of these neighborhoods, we can see how they were used to create a dividing barrier between communities. In a 1962 Negro Residential map, we can see colored areas representing the areas populated by “Colored” races, and the non-colored areas populated by white people.

Fast forwarding to today, this area does not reflect much of its past. Many of the lots are vacant or empty, and a lot of the area consists of parking lots and parks developed in urban renewal efforts that served to replace the already-gutted community in this area. There are very few symbols of the significance that this area once had for Atlanta’s Jewish Community, or the people that lived here.

  1. Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. Sanborn Map Company, Vol. 4, 1911. Map. ↩︎
  2. Atlanta City Directory Company. (1953) ↩︎
  3. Map of Atlanta: Negro Residential Areas 1962, Planning Atlanta City Planning Maps Collection, Georgia State University Library. ↩︎

The Candler Building

As you’re walking around Downtown Atlanta, it’s easy for many of us to miss many of the buildings towering over you as you walk to your next destinations. However, one building that has always stood out to me personally has been the Candler Building for many reasons.

Standiing in front of the north side of the Candler Building

The Candler Building was built in 1906 by the Coca Cola founder Asa Griggs Candler, and features many unique design choices that make it stand out in the landscape. It was the tallest building in the City of Atlanta at the time, with 17 stories, making it tower over the city landscape and surrounding buildings such as the Flatiron Building, built only a few years prior in 1897. This makes the Candler Building one of the first among many of the skyscrapers and towers we see and pass by every day in Downtown Atlanta.

Today, it’s situated next to the Georgia State University College of Law, and only a block away from Woodruff Park and Aderhold Learning Center and the Peachtree Corners MARTA station, among other things. It is impossible to miss when walking around the Woodruff Park and Five Points area because of its unique V shape and its nature of towering over the area. I’m sure almost every Georgia State student, myself very much included, has looked at and observed this building at some point in walking around the area.

It also has a unique design and art style surrounding it that I’ve always found interesting to look at and observe, which helps make it stand out from a lot of other buildings in and around the area, a lot of which are boring or don’t have much in the way of detailed character to them, in my opinion. It’s also an important relic that still stands in the city skyline from over a century ago, which helps draw the eye to it even more in a city landscape dominated by a mix of buildings built and designed throughout the last 100 years.

The Building had many uses over the years, including serving as a high class hotel, hosting restaurants and serving as the headquarters for the Central Bank & Trust, also owned by Candler. This bank eventually merged into what would become the precursor to the Bank of America, showing the kind of history that this building holds in the city.

Either way, I think that this building serves as a very important historical marker in the city of Atlanta and it’s evolving landscape, and I think that the design and style of the building has always been some kind of a point of attraction or point of interest for me as I walk around the downtown area.

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