the histories of our streets

Georgia State University students map Atlanta's past

Tag: Old Fourth Ward

Buttermilk Bottom

Urban Renewal and Development of the Atlanta Civic Center

‘Buttermilk Bottom’ is a colloquial name given to the Atlanta neighborhood that once existed where the now defunct Atlanta Civic Center was built. The neighborhood was low income, primarily black, and had been neglected in infrastructure such as paved roads and modern sewage systems. Buttermilk bottoms suffered from dilapidated housing conditions and poor drainage (Holliman 2009, 372). The name ‘Buttermilk Bottom’ referred to the smell of the area. It is suggested the area had smelled because of open sewage. 

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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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John Wesley Dobbs Plaza

Photo shot by author

Photo shot by author

Talking a walk down Auburn Avenue is an experience that many Atlanta residents and tourists have enjoyed. When walking down Auburn, it is easy to be taken aback by how beautiful the birth home of Dr. King is. It is easy for residents and tourist to stop and admire the burial site of Dr. King and his wife Coretta Scott King. Tourists and residents are blown away when they view the massive mural of civil rights leader and congressman John Lewis. With all of these civil rights giants in one small street it is easy to understand why the John Wesley Dobbs Plaza on the corner of Auburn and Fort Street does not get much attention. Hundreds of people drive or walk pass the plaza on a daily basis and yet one does not find many people stepping inside the plaza and admiring the statue of John Wesley Dobbs. The plaza is overshadowed by the presence of Dr. King’s historical site and John Lewis’ mural, which is an appropriate metaphor as to how the legacy of Mr. Dobbs has been largely forgotten by the mainstream public.

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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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