the histories of our streets

Georgia State University students map Atlanta's past

Author: xjohnson3

Development of the Dome

Some people may look at the space now and see the Mercedes Benz, and fondly remember the Georgia dome.  However , many individuals don’t know what used to lie in its place and how the dome’s costly development and how it affected the lives of those around it.

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What Lies beneath the Downtown Connector?

1911 ATL Sanborn map

One may look at the downtown connecter today and may think of it as nothing more than a large highway, however many don’t stop to think what used to be in these locations. After some digging around I’ve found that there is more to these areas than many realize.

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The Five Points Monument

Me in front of the five points monument

As a GSU student I pass this on a daily basis on my way to class and for the longest time I’ve paid it no mind. I’m certain that anyone trying to get anywhere in a timely fashion isn’t going to pay attention to it either (considering that they put it in the middle of a crosswalk I think this may have been intentional). Recently however I’ve stopped to look at this statue and was left wondering, “what am I even looking at?” and “Why is this here?” To my surprise there’s more to this weird looking structure than meets the eye.

This statue is Called the Five points monument it was built in 1996 by George Beasley during the lead up to the Centennial Olympic games. It was built to commemorate the 5 streets that intersect to form the heart of Atlanta, where trolly tracks and an artisan water tower stood. To my surprise this weird looking structure is supposed to be Beasley’s interpretation of that same water tower. To be more specific the statue is an asymmetric interpretation of the water tower’s traditional girder construction, the steel trusses that make up its structure represent the trolley tracks buried under the street.

The statue was initially created at the studio at Georgia State before being moved to its current location by a couple flat bet trucks. To get to its location on time, the development of this statue was rushed with it being installed just a week before the Olympics. Its fascinating to me that a statue with this much meaning and history is placed in such a questionable, unassuming spot: a pedestrian island. It makes me wonder how many other monuments are hidden in plain sight.

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