Historic Landmarks in Atlanta

Atlanta is a city that has a long storied history and is full of sites that are on the National Register of Historic Places. Whether you’re just visiting or a local, it seems like there is always something new and interesting to explore amongst the historic landmarks in Atlanta.

Martin Luther King Jr., Historic District

The Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site in Atlanta includes Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birth home, the Ebenezer Baptist Church where he was a pastor, and his gravesite. Martin Luther King Jr., was born in 1929 and followed in his father’s footsteps becoming ordained in 1948 at Ebenezer Baptist Church. He went on to study more and become pastor at another church but after the Rosa Parks incident he decided to become a strong voice for the black community and do what he could for the civil rights movement. King was arrested 30 times for his participation in civil rights activities and is quite probably the greatest orator the United States has ever seen. In 1968 King was assassinated while helping striking sanitation workers in Memphis Tennessee.

Underground Atlanta Historic District

Atlanta did not fare well during the Civil War and began to rebuild after the war around the railroad tracks. In the 1920’s the beginning of Atlanta’s horrible traffic problems actually began and to relieve them a series of viaducts were built and the city began to grow above the viaducts which meant it was above the original street level. The ground floor of the original buildings were basically sealed off by the viaducts and because of this the store fronts still there are incredible examples of architecture for this time period. This part of the city was forgotten until the late 1960s when the Underground Atlanta Historic District was re-energized and turned into a shopping and entertainment district.

Fox Theatre Historic District

The Fox Theater Historic District is located in midtown Atlanta and contains three major buildings the Fox Theatre, the Georgian Terrace Hotel and the Ponce de Leon Apartments. The Georgian Terrace Hotel was built in 1911 and is a 10 story hotel with Parisian style architecture. The Ponce de Leon Apartments were one of the first large, high rise luxury apartment buildings with single room units to units with dozens of rooms. Built in 1912 the Italiante style building has towers on both sides of the curved front façade. The Fox Theatre is a national landmark of its own right and a premier example of the American movie palace. Known as the Fabulous Fox it remains one of the most ornate movie palaces in the country and one of the largest ever built. It opened during the golden age of movies on Christmas day 1929. Unfortunately the Great Depression took its toll and the theater closed only 125 weeks after it opened and wasn’t opened again until the 1930s.

Dixie Coca-Cola Bottling Company Plant

The Dixie Coca-Cola Bottling Company Plant is the oldest surviving Coca-Cola building. From 1900 to 1901 the building was the headquarters of the plant and represents an era where the soft drink went from a fountain treat to a bottled drink that has graced almost every refrigerator in the United States. The bottling plant was built in 1891 and is a two story Victorian commercial building. The building has always been on a corner lot so its shape was designed to fit. Initially there were shops on the bottom floor and living quarters above.

Piedmont Park

Piedmont Park is 185 acres with several historic structures including a stone Jacobethan Style Piedmont Driving Club, elevated brick bandstand, and a beautiful round columned domed gazebo. In the late 19th century the grounds were part of the driving club and racetrack. In 1895 the site was selected for a fair, the Cotton States and International Exposition. Landscape designer, Frederick Law Olmsted Sr., oversaw the planning and wanted a park that created an important moral and physical influence on the local population. In 1904 the city purchased the park and removed the exposition buildings but the park fell into disrepair until a plan was created by the Olmsted Brothers firm to restore what they could and come up with a design that their father would be proud of. The park today is quite beautiful with rolling landscapes and vistas, a lake, playground, baseball fields and more than ample space to lounge around and picnic.

Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

The Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is one of the oldest standing buildings in the city. The church was built in a stunning early Victorian Gothic Revival style in 1869 by William H. Parkins. Before this church stood on the ground the first Catholic Church in the city resided in this location, due to damage from a fire and the Civil War it was decided that a new building would be constructed.

Swan House

If you want to see a home that really epitomizes the luxury of the great homes of the south then Swan House is a wonderful example. The house is built in a second renaissance revival style in the 1920s. The home was decorated by Ruby Ross Woods and the gardens are baroque style with stone obelisks, retaining walls, stone fountains and touches of renaissance décor. The home was named for the numerous swan motifs throughout. In 1966 the Atlanta Historical Society purchased the home and many of the original furnishings. The home was opened to the public in 1967 and is typically available from 11am to 4pm.

Garden Hills Historic District

The Garden Hills Historic District was an early 20th century planned neighborhood and was basically one of the first suburbs in the area. Three sections comprise the district a Peachtree Road section, a Country Club section and the Brentwood section. The homes in the region are upper middle class single family homes and most of them are constructed in a Tudor or Colonial Revival style. It’s a beautiful created community and not unlike new ones that cropped up during the end of the housing boom of a few years ago.