the histories of our streets

Georgia State University students map Atlanta's past


Martin Street, Baptists, and the Love of Pecans

In 2001, during my first attempt at college, I was contacted by a friend from high school who was transferring to Georgia State. He and two other friends were looking at houses near campus and wanted to know if I would like to be the fourth roommate. I asked him to send me the address so that I could go check the house out myself and see if it would make sense. The address he sent me was familiar, and at the time I was unable to figure out exactly why that particular combination of numbers and letters was so memorable. A quick google maps search later and I immediately knew the exact house they were looking at.

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Georgia State Convocation Center

GSU shuttles line up outside Convocation Center to pick up students.
GSU shuttles picking students up from the Convocation Center1

In 2020 contractor Brassfield & Gorrie broke ground to build Georgia State University’s Convocation Center.2 This premier facility has already been incorporated into GSU’s operations, hosting athletics and graduation ceremonies, among many other events. Occupying an entire block across from GSU’s Blue Lot, its presence looms large in Summerhill. The center has yet to see a class from freshman convocation through commencement, and this newness raises a question: how did GSU acquire the land, and what was there before?

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Injustice Hidden Deep in Atlanta’s Forest: The Old Atlanta Prison Farm and the South River

The Old Atlanta Prison Farm has become a strong source of controversy in Atlanta’s political sphere due to the City of Atlanta’s future plans for the land. The prison was located in southeast Dekalb on 1248 acres of forest next to the South River. For some Atlantans, this revelation might come as a surprise. As a native Atlantan who grew up in southeast Decatur 5 miles away from part of the land that is now Cedar Grove Middle School, this discovery was a shock. For others, it’s not so surprising considering Atlanta’s environmental history. It’s hard to imagine trees where there are now buildings, but there are many green spaces inside the perimeter that are clues to this past.

Atlanta plans to sell the land to BlackHall Studios, meaning many trees will have to be cut down to build what Blackhall Studios wants to be the biggest sound stage in the nation. The world is currently in a vulnerable environmental climate; these actions put our city at further risk. The city also plans to allot 300 acres of the land to build an extensive facility as well as a mock city, hence the nicknamed “cop city.” Considering the history of this space as well as environmental issues, these future plans should concern all Atlantans.

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Zoo Atlanta

Zoo Atlanta has gone through different periods of being a top Zoo in the nation. From either being one of the first Zoos in the United States in 1889. To then being one of the first Zoos to have a gorilla. Then in the more recent period being one of four Zoos in the United States to have pandas. What happened between these different show casing is one of many rebuilding projects, as the Zoo has nearly fell apart during multiple different periods. This is the story behind those different phases.

Jennifer Cuthbertson and Phillip Cuthbertson, "Historic Grant Park". Georgia: Arcadia Publishing, 2011. 30

Jennifer Cuthbertson and Phillip Cuthbertson, “Historic Grant Park”. Georgia: Arcadia Publishing, 2011. 30

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