Previously, I blogged about the six historic districts in Downtown Atlanta: Castleberry Hill, the Fairlie-Poplar District, Underground Atlanta, Hotel Row, Sweet Auburn, and the MLK historic districts.
However, metropolitan Atlanta has over 75 additional historic districts scattered around the many miles and beautiful rolling hills of north Georgia.
Some of the more notable and interesting historic districts are Ansley Park, Cabbagetown, Druid Hills, Fox Theatre, Grant Park, Inman Park, Midtown, West End, and Tuxedo Park Historic Districts. Also highly notable, but not registered are Virginia-Highland and Historic Roswell.
These are the top 11 historic districts– beyond Downtown Atlanta’s six.
The West End Historic District is one one the earliest neighborhoods beginning in the 1830’s at the White Hall Inn where West End Mall stands today. In the late 1868 it was named West End after London’s fashionable theatre district. The streetcar was built in 1870 and the neighborhood grew rapidly to 22,000 by 1930. The residences were built in the Queen Anne, Stick Style, Folk Victorian, Colonial Revival, Neoclassical Revival, and Craftsman bungalow styles.
The most famous home in West End today is the home of Joel Chandler Harris, writer of Uncle Remus Tales. The home, called The Wren’s Nest, was built as a simple farmhouse in 1870, but was remodeled later into a 1 1/2 story Queen Anne style cottage. It is a National Historic Landmark. The Hammonds House Museum, open to the public as well, was built around 1870 and is one of the oldest homes in the neighborhood.
Inman Park was the first suburb of Atlanta due to the streetcar built in the 1880’s. It showcases the most fabulous Victorian houses near Downtown, as well as Colonial Revival, Shingle Style, Jacobean Revival homes and bungalows. It has an interesting area of vintage shopping and bohemian entertainment called L5P or Little 5 Points. Some notable buildings include the Ernest Woodruff House, Joel Hurt House and the Asa G. Candler House as well as the original Trolley Barn.
Cabbagetown Historic District was built on and around the place where the Atlanta Rolling Mill was built in 1858 to straighten railroad tracks damaged during the Civil War. The Rolling Mill was destroyed during the War, but Fulton Bag & Cotton MIll was built on its site in 1881. Cabbagetown includes this mill and the simple wooden houses it built for the employees of the mill from 1886 to the 1930’s.
Grant Park is probably the most interesting historic district in the Atlanta area. It encompasses Grant Park itself, which was begun in 1882 and is the fourth largest park in the city. Within the park are Zoo Atlanta and the Cyclorama, one of the world’s largest paintings of the Civil War. Also, the neighborhood of Grant Park, Oakland Cemetery (1850), the Atlanta Stockade, Fort Walker and the remains of the 1858 mansion of Lemuel P. Grant which was mostly destroyed during the Civil War are parts of the Grant Park Historic District.
Ansley Park was created from 1904 to 1908 and stands today as one the finest neighborhoods in Atlanta. It was built to be an alternative to fashionable Inman Park. Its location just off Peachtree, near Piedmont Park and the Piedmont Driving Club made it the place to be, and it still is today. The homes are varied in style from Colonial, Federal, Neo-Classical, Italian Renaissance, Queen Anne, and Tudor styles, to Prairie School and Craftsmen bungalows. Two notable building are the First Church of Christ, Scientist on 15th St at Peachtree and Habersham Memorial Hall, home to the D.A.R. at 15th St and Piedmont Ave.
- Fabulous Fox
The Fox Theatre historic district is the closest historic area north of Downtown and is centered around the fabulous Moorish architecture of the Fox Theatre, starting as a Mason Temple by Oliver Vinour in 1929. Across the street, the Georgian Terrace Hotel, by William Lee Stoddart, was built in 1911 to be the finest Parisian-style hotel on Peachtree Street. Stoddart also built the gorgeous 1913 Italianate Ponce De Leon Apartments. The Cox-Carlton Hotel, designed by Atlanta architects Pringle & Smith in 1925, is now the Hotel Indigo.
Midtown Historic District is a residential neighborhood east of the Midtown commercial district. Richard Peters owned most of the land in the area and began to use the trees there for fuel for his flour mill in 1848. Over the next 4 decades he built the southern half of midtown neighborhood from North Ave to 8th st.
This elaborate Queen Anne style home, the Peters House or Ivy Hall (1883) is the jewel of the district and was extensively restored by SCAD in 2008. Other landmarks are the Margaret Mitchell House, Rhodes Hall, The Castle, The Atlanta Biltmore Hotel, and the Academy of Medicine. Of course, Peachtree Street once had the very finest mansions, but these gave way to commercial buildings many decades ago. There are only 3 homes left today on Peachtree St. The other homes were built starting on Piedmont Ave in the 1890’s, and each successive street eastward about every decade encompassing Italianate, Victorian, Colonial Revival, Mediterranean Revival and craftsman bungalow styles.
Druid Hills was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect of Central Park, New York City. It was created as a unique system of boulevards, parks, lanes, creeks, and historic mansions from the late 19th and early 20th century. The string of parks along Ponce De Leon and Lullwater Roads are evidence of his mastery. The homes, nearly all mansions, include Callanwolde, the Candler estate, and the Lullwater Estate. It is also the home of Druid Hills Golf Club and esteemed Emory University.
Virginia Highland is currently trying to establish their historic district. However, the homes of Atkins Park (already designated) and the 1920’s commercial areas along Highland Avenue are ready for your complete enjoyment now. Wikipedia noted: “In 2011 readers of Creative Loafing voted Virginia-Highland “Best Overall Neighborhood”, and in June 2011, Atlanta Magazine designated Virginia Highland “favorite neighborhood overall”. In 2012 readers of Creative Loafing voted VaHi “Best Walkable Neighborhood”. Most homes in Virginia-Highland were constructed between 1909 and 1926 as Craftsman bungalows. Others include English Vernacular Revival, Colonial Revival, English Cottage and American Foursquare.
The ultra-fabulous Tuxedo Park in Buckhead is registered on the National Register of Historic Places. And you won’t want to miss some of the most beautiful lavish homes in the Southeast. This area is bounded by West Paces Ferry on the south, Northside Drive on the west, Blackland Rd on the north, and Tuxedo Rd / Valley Rd on the east. The most notable mansion is the Swan House, a part of the Atlanta History Center. Also, Arden, Knollwood, Newcastle, and any home designed by William Schutze or Neil Reid are not to be missed. The neighborhood, which began as summer homes around 1911 to escape the busy city, now consists of nearly 700 homes with a mixture of new construction and estate homes ranging in price from $1 million to over $14 million.
Roswell, GA has some of Atlanta’s last remaining antebellum structures and is not to be missed if you are a history buff. In 1830, Savannian Roswell King noted that Vickery Creek a tributary of the Chattahoochee River would be an ideal location for a cotton mill. Today, Roswell King’s son’s Barrington Hall is one of the finest Greek Revival mansions around. Also, Bulloch Hall, home of the mother of Theodore Roosevelt, the Smith Plantation home and Roswell Presbyterian Church were built between 1839 and 1845. General Sherman stayed in Roswell during the War, but did not destroy it as he did most other cities along the way to Savannah.
Here’s a partial list of the 75 or so historic districts outside of Downtown Atlanta:
- Acworth-Collins Ave
- Adair Park
- Agnes Scott College
- Ansley Park
- Atkins Park
- Atlanta University Center
- Baltimore Block
- Berkeley Park
- Brookwood Hills
- Candler Park
- College Park
- Collier Heights
- Covington (3 districts)
- Decatur (5 districts)
- Druid Hills
- East Point Industrial District
- Emory Grove
- Euclid Ave
- Gainesville (5 districts)
- Garden Hills
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- Grant Park
- Howell Interlocking
- Inman Park-Moreland
- Kennesaw (4 districts)
- King Plow / Railroad
- Knight Park-Howell Station
- Lakewood Heights
- Marietta (4 districts)
- Means St
- Mozley Park
- Newnan (6 districts)
- Oakland City
- Peachtree Park
- Roscoe-Dunaway Gardens
- Southern Railway-North Avenue Yards
- Sunset Avenue
- Stately Oaks Plantation (Jonesboro)
- Stone Mountain Village
- University Park-Emory
- Washington Park
- West End
- Winnona Park
- Whittier Mill Village
Here’s a Map with the Districts: https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=ze1vGMHRPMiY.k1PqwnUVuChYRelated articles:
- Atlanta street shut down to move historic mansion (onlineathens.com)
- ARTLANTA! More Than 10 Arts Districts Just “Intown” (wdanielanderson.wordpress.com)
- To Get Around Town, Some Cities Take A Step Back In Time (npr.org)
- Historic train to be hoisted above Peachtree in Midtown (bizjournals.com)
- Atlanta street shut down to move historic mansion (m.onlineathens.com)