the histories of our streets

Georgia State University students map Atlanta's past

Category: Section 1 (north/west)

The Disappearance of the Immaculate Conception Convent and Fulton High Vocational School

The Immaculate Conception Convent was located at 235 Washington Street. The Convent was part of the Catholic church and represented an area of religious work. Before the expressway was built, the building existed right underneath where the express lies today. An entire community existed underneath the expressway which included apartments, houses, and even a vocational school. The disappearance of this area was caused during the building of the expressway but there is evidence that suggests that an entire community existed before.

Atlanta 1932 Sanborn Map

The Immaculate Conception convent was located near many duplexes and in front of the Vocational school. The convent seemed to be a celebrated location in the community as it provided religious services. The Convent represented the catholic church that housed nuns, provided church school, and was mainly dominated by women. The Convent also was referenced in the Atlanta Constitution Newspaper multiple times. The convent seems to be mostly forgotten and erased from Atlanta’s history, but there is limited evidence that proves that this convent once served a community.

The Atlanta Constitution provided newspapers that gave a glimpse of how the convent served the community. An article that was written on June 20, 1891, simply promoted church exercises and mentioned how the services were done mainly by women.1 The promotion’s purpose was to encourage people to show up and attend mass in the evening. On July 5, 1935, the Atlanta Constitution covered the 50 anniversary of Sister Mary Loretta Hogan and her service to the Immaculate Conception Convent.2 The newspaper mentioned how she served as a teacher, nun, and nurse in the convent. Another article that referenced the convent was written on Oct 3, 1937, which covered the celebration of the 60th-anniversary career of Sister M. Elizabeth Donelan.3 The newspaper dedicated a page that covers the sister’s biography and her service to the convent in Atlanta. The articles prove that women dominated the building and that there once existed a convent which was replaced by concrete expressways.

The Atlanta Constitution Newspapers coverage, 1891, 1935, and 1937.

The Fulton Vocational School was located next to the Immaculate Conception Convent and near the Fulton High School. A Vocational school is a trade school that provides programs on multiple careers including electricians or carpenters. The Fulton Vocational School was purposely located near the Fulton High School in order to encourage students to seek technical careers. The Atlanta Constitution barely gives any references to this vocational school, but there is coverage that mentions Fulton County’s attempt to create programs to create jobs. One interesting discovery was that Fulton County was creating these vocational programs to discourage crime and help male students become mechanics, plumbers, electricians, or printing skills.4 A newspaper that was published on August 10, 1957, announced the construction of the expressway that was forcing the community to be moved near Cleveland Ave, near the prison.5 This coverage mentioned how the community was going to be re-established in a new community and would cost about $350,000 to do so. 6

The Atlanta Constitution coverage of the Fulton High Vocational School.

Today, both the convent and vocational school are gone from existence. The only traces of these buildings were poorly recorded in the newspaper and apparent in the Atlanta 1932 Sanborn Map. The area in which these buildings were located has fallen to the expressway.


  1. “THE CLOSING EXERCISES: OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION CONVENT LAST NIGHT.” The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Jun 20, 1891.↩︎
  2.  “Catholic Teacher Marks Fiftieth Anniversary.” The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Jul 05, 1935.↩︎
  3. Land, Maxine. “Sister Marks Her Diamond Jubilee in Celebration at Convent here: 81-Year-Old Nun Attributes Membership in Order to Arrival of Sister in Family; Friends Honor Her Career Sister Marks 60th Anniversary in Convent.” The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Oct 03, 1937.↩︎
  5. “Fulton Office Giving Way to Freeway.” The Atlanta Constitution (1946-1984), Aug 10, 1957. ↩︎
  6. “Fulton Office Giving Way to Freeway.” The Atlanta Constitution (1946-1984), Aug 10, 1957.

Warren Memorial Atlanta Boys Club

402 Pryor Street

The Warren Atlanta Boys Club Campus on Pryor street was initially the Jewish Progressive Club (Kentsmith, 20). This social and athletic facility was two stories tall and had a brick facade upon which a veranda spanned the western face. Amenities included a full sized gym, mess hall, auditorium, indoor pool, and numerous conference rooms (Kentsmith, 20). As the growing Atlanta Boys Club sought a bigger campus this property was sought out and Commodore Virgil. P Warren, president of the Warren Company, offered to purchase the property as a donation to the organization. The Jewish Progressive Club was also looking to relocate their headquarters, and sold the 402 Pryor Street property to Warren for $10,000. This generous deal was half of Warren’s initial $20,000 offer, and one-fifth of the properties $50,000 appraisal (Kentsmith, 21). The campus was named the Warren Memorial Boys Club in honor of Warren’s two sons that had died in infancy (Kentsmith, 21).

The Atlanta Boys Club served as “a place to go and something to do” for boys in the crowded, working class neighborhoods of Mechanicsville and Summerhill (Kentsmith, 37). During the decline of this area in the 1950s, extracurricular activities and a productive social space kept kids from getting into trouble on the streets (Kentsmith, 57). Several alumni of the Warren Memorial Boys Club attest to the fact that the organization offered these young men guidance growing up in these troubled neighborhoods (Kentsmith, 61). The institution was also crucial in providing these boys a consistent meal and cursory medical care (Kentsmith, 60).

Urban renewal came to the area in 1956 as the right of way for the downtown connector was cleared of homes and businesses. This was just 3 blocks east of the campus. The neighborhood served was cut in half by the downtown connector and many families in the area relocated. (Kentsmith, 64). In 1965 the Warrens Boys club relocated to Grant park (Kentsmith, 67). The land was redeveloped and is now the Fulton County Medical Examiners building.

Kentsmith, Frank. History of the Metropolitan Atlanta Boys’ Clubs, 1938-1976. [Boys’ Clubs of America], 1977. EBSCOhost,,shib&db=cat06552a&AN=gsu.994495013402952&site=eds-live&scope=site.

Fulton County High School on Washington Street

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Atlanta Constitution image of Fulton County High School on Washington Street

When construction on Fulton County High School on Washington Street was finally completed after over a year, it was considered “one of the largest and most modern school structures in the entire southeast.” The school in 1925 was built with two stories and fireproof construction to deal with previous congestion in older buildings. The building would also have steel lockers for all its students, a vast cafeteria with 400 students, and an auditorium with 1,200 people. The cost of the building was half a million dollars compared to today’s money, which would cost between eight to nine million dollars. This building would serve all the kids in Fulton County, even those outside Atlanta’s city limits, like East Point and College Park. At the time, there were 740 students enrolled. 1

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