Atlanta's First Neighborhood
Atlanta's First Neighborhood
Inman Park on the east side of Atlanta was the city’s first streetcar suburb and first planned suburb. Named for Samuel M. Inman, Little Five Points district is located where Inman Park and Candler Park meet at Moreland Avenue and Euclid/McClendon. In 1864 the area was part of the battlefield in the Battle of Atlanta.
Inman Park (proper) was planned in the late 1880s by Joel Hurt, a civil engineer and real-estate developer who intended to create a rural oasis connected to the city by the first of Atlanta's electric streetcar lines, along Edgewood Avenue. The East Atlanta Land Company acquired and developed more than 130 acres east of the city and Hurt named the new suburb for his friend and business associate, Samuel M. Inman. Joseph Forsyth Johnson was hired as landscape designer for Inman Park who included curvilinear street designs and liberal usage of open spaces in his planning.
Built up over decades, the neighborhood housing ranges from tiny mill town shotguns to the Victorian mansions of the original development, and intermixed with bungalows of all sizes built during the first three decades of the 20th century. Like new developments throughout the United States at the time, but in stark contrast to the attitudes prevalent in the neighborhood today, Inman Park was conceived of and promoted as a segregated community.
Moreland Park was by contrast developed as a more traditional, incremental building of sub-divisions as opposed to the grand plan for Inman Park proper. The arrival of the automobile allowed upper class Atlantans to live in suburbs farther north from the downtown workplaces, such as Morningside and what is now considered Buckhead. Inman Park became less fashionable and the exuberant Victorian architecture came to seem dated.
The mansions came to be subdivided into apartments. Similar to other in-town neighborhoods such as Virginia Highland, Inman Park fell to blight during the white middle and upper class exodus to the northern suburbs in the 1950s and ‘60s... During this same period, there was an intense fight against the I-485 freeway which was to be built through the neighborhood, although many properties in Inman Park, as well as the entire neighboring neighborhood of Copenhill, were torn down in preparation for freeway construction.
After decades of restoration and renewal, Inman Park is regarded as a highly desirable in-town neighborhood with a mixture of rental and owner-occupied houses and condominiums. Like its housing, the makeup of Inman Park has changed since its inception, with a population that is 25 percent non-white and of varying economic levels, although increasing housing prices were beginning to force more economic homogeneity.
Since the beginning of its renewal, inclusivity and a strong sense of community have distinguished Inman Park. The neighborhood association has always welcomed renters and homeowners alike, with nominal annual dues, while the Inman Park Festival, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors every spring, brings residents together to produce the largest all-volunteer festival in Georgia. The Festival's centerpiece is the Tour of Homes, which showcases the wide variety of sizes and types of residences in the neighborhood.
Inman Park today
Former industrial areas on the west side of the neighborhood have been redeveloped into mixed-use complexes. The former General Pipe and Foundry site is now North Highland Steel and the Mead paper plant site is now Inman Park Village. In the early 1990s the former Atlanta Stove Works was transformed by swapping two letters of its name and it became the Atlanta Stage Works, a film and media production center that eventually housed the early Tyler Perry Film studios and the National AIDS Quilt. In 2015 it was converted into a mixed-use office and restaurant space, which was added to the space across Krog Street to form the Krog Street Market.
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