the histories of our streets

Georgia State University students map Atlanta's past

Tag: Businesses and Workers

Laboring in the Gate City: The 1964 Scripto Strike and its Precedents

Early Days

Not knowing what to do with the bankrupt National Pencil Company, owner Sigmund Montag sold his company to his son-in-law Monie Ferst in 1919. In 1931, Mr. Ferst would move his company, now renamed to Scripto, to a new location on Houston Street in Sweet Auburn that by the 1940s had an employee base of nearly all working-class Black women. Indeed, Scripto counted itself as one of the earliest Atlanta companies to hire Black employees for work on the assembly line.1

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Serving the Community: The Shopping Center that became Plaza Fiesta

Plaza Fiesta main entrance facing Clairmont Rd1

As a first-generation Mexican-American, Plaza Fiesta is a place with fond memories. The plaza was one of the rare places where I felt that I fit in, away from the stares of others. I grew up in a majority-white community in Cherokee County, Woodstock. So, getting to experience places like Plaza Fiesta occasionally was very refreshing for me and my family. Here, we didn’t have to worry about our English proficiency. Instead, we didn’t need English at all. My father got to ask all his silly questions without me having to translate them, and my mother got to feel a little less homesick. Granted, this is only one of many small spaces along Buford Highway that give Mexican families a sense of familiarity. However, Plaza Fiesta is different because it is the only market designed for Hispanic communities to spend their day like they would in their countries.

Looking at this lot’s history, we can see the evolution of Buford Highway and its demographic change. We will also see that the lot has always been geared towards the community in the area. This lot, along with many other spaces in the corridor, shows the adaptability and openness to new business regardless of race.

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Convergence of History: Exploring the Significance of 330 Auburn Ave NE

A photo of Prince Hall Masonic Lodge on Auburn Avenue.
1928 Atlas map showing the lot being vacant, in the lower right corner.
1928 Atlas map showing the lot being vacant, in the lower right corner.
1911 Sanborn map showing 330 Auburn Ave.
1911 Sanborn map showing 330 Auburn Ave.

Right on Auburn Avenue and Hillard street stands the Prince Hall Masonic Temple, a building that is a token of the historical Sweet Auburn passage. Before its pivotal role in history, the lot which now hosts the building, was vacant for a period of time, then a duplex was built on the vacant land, as indicated by historical maps.

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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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Centennial Olympic Park and the 1996 Atlanta Games

Centennial Olympic Park fountains at night. Taken by Georgia State University

Centennial Olympic Park is the centerpiece of Downtown Atlanta, where tourists and locals alike can unwind in the grass, take a stroll through the various Olympic monuments and look at breathtaking views of Downtown’s skyline. As a kid growing up in Atlanta, I always loved the design and location of this park, nestled in the center of a bustling city. I remember always having a blast running through those Olympic rings. But before this urban centerpiece was even a park, there is an interesting history of what was there before.

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Revitalization of Little Five Points

Little Five Points, a retail district around the intersection of Moreland Ave and Euclid Ave, in between the Atlanta neighborhoods of Inman Park and Candler Park, is a place where people come to shop for eccentric clothes and unique items, where people come to sell their art and play music, or just to be in an environment with a diverse range of individuals, whatever it is for, Little Five Points is a staple of Atlanta. But what lays below the surface? The history of Little Five Points is one of White flight and White return, of the fight between corporate and family owned, and of the progress that can be made through community-based action.

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Tringali’s Ristorante Italiano

View of 94 Pryor St. in 2015. Photograph taken by Author.

View of 94 Pryor St. in 2015.
Photograph taken by Author.

This building, which is the result of a sequence of viaduct constructions that began in 1899, lies on top of what is currently known as “Underground Atlanta”.[1] A viaduct project commenced in response to the growing traffic problem. The automobile’s growing popularity clashed with the preexisting railroads. The rise in the automobile’s popularity contributed to significant increases in traffic congestion as well as accidents on the city’s roadways.

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The Sweet Auburn Curb Market

The Sweet Auburn Curb Market is a historic market located in downtown Atlanta .  In 1918 Atlanta established a “curb market” on land cleared by the Great Atlanta Fire of 1917.  This fire decimated the Old Fourth Ward of Atlanta, destroying almost two thousand homes and leaving over ten thousand Atlantans, mostly blacks, homeless.[1] After the fire a tent market occupied the site.

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Dixie Coca-Cola Plant

Buildings come and go as technology and the world around them change, and in Atlanta this trend is not any different. However, some buildings like the Dixie Coca-Cola Bottling Plant have withstood modernization for almost one hundred and twenty-five years. It’s not the building itself that is important; rather, it’s the history and usage of the building that makes it compelling.

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