How Atlanta's Neighborhoods Got Their Names
You may know that Atlanta was once called Marthasville, but do you know how it got neighborhoods like Buckhead and Just Us? Here’s how just a few of Atlanta’s neighborhoods got their names.
Land speculator George Washington Adair helped make this area of Atlanta viable by bringing trolley service to the area in 1870. Adair died in 1889, and the park that bears his name opened in 1892.
Daniel X. O'Neil, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Another neighborhood named after its founder, Ansley Park takes its name from Edwin P. Ansley, who in 1904 teamed up with several partners to buy an unused plot of land from George Washington Collier to develop a verdant high-end commuter suburb.
Ferry operator Absalom Baker began service across the Chattahoochee River thanks to an 1847 act of the state legislature, and the area around his landing now bears his name.
The area was originally called Benteen in a nod to U.S Army Brigadier General Frederick Benteen, who was responsible for saving seven out of the 12 companies in Custer’s regiment during the battle now known as “Custer’s Last Stand.” Only later was “Park” added to the name.
Felix Bland, a freed slave, received the land for the neighborhood that now bears his name as part of his former owner’s will. When Bland fell behind on his tax payments, developers bought it and transformed it into a residential area. The neighborhood turned into a heavy industrial area after Atlanta annexed Blandtown in 1952 and rezoned it in 1956.
Formerly an independent town, Bolton had a variety of names, including Fulton, Boltonville, and Iceville after the Atlanta Brewery & Ice Co. The town eventually settled on Bolton to honor Charles Bolton, who was appointed state Railroad Commissioner in 1837. Atlanta annexed Bolton in 1952.
Brookwood and Brookwood Hills
Joseph and Emma Mimms Thompson named their estate “Brookwood” after they settled on the land in the late 1880s. The surrounding neighborhood then adopted the name. Later, Brookwood Hills, which is located on the opposite side of Peachtree Road from the estate, was founded in 1922.
catharticflux, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
When founded in 1837, the neighborhood was called Irbyville after Henry Irby’s general store and tavern. But after Irby shot a buck and hung its head on the wall for all to see, the community began calling the area Buckhead. In the late 19th century, locals campaigned to rename the area “Northside Park,” but the name Buckhead remains.
An ode to odor, Cabbagetown received its name from the long-lasting aroma that resulted after the entire neighborhood around the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill cooked free (and possibly spoiled) cabbages on the same night. It’s said that either a truck carrying them flipped over and spilled loads of cabbages onto the street for anyone’s taking or that the truck driver gave the bad cabbages away.
Asa Griggs Candler, the partial and later sole owner of Coca-Cola, donated the land for what became Candler Park, which opened in 1926.
The area takes its name from Daniel Castleberry, who operated a local grocery during the Civil War.
Chastain Park is named after Troy Green Chastain, a Fulton County Commissioner from 1938-1942. The neighborhood was originally called North Fulton Park, but was renamed following Chastain’s death in 1945.
mouse, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
The neighborhood is named after the Chattahoochee River, which runs through it. The river’s name means “rocks-marked” in Muskogean.
Collier Hills is named for Andrew Jackson Collier, who owned the land as his estate before the Civil War.
JR P, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
Real estate developer Joel Hurt picked the name from a list of 39 possibilities designer John C. Olmsted compiled in 1902.
English Avenue is named for the English family, who purchased the land in the late 19th century.
Located in the center of Downtown Atlanta, Five Points is named for the intersection of Marietta Street, Edgewood Avenue, Decatur Street, Peachtree St. SW, and Peachtree St. NE.
General James McPherson served in the Union army until his death in the Battle of Atlanta on July 22, 1864. When the army acquired land just south of Atlanta in 1885, it honored McPherson by naming the base after him.
Phillip C. McDuffie’s real estate firm, the Garden Hills Company, founded the neighborhood in 1925. The developer named the new residential area Garden Hills.
In 1883, railroad engineer and entrepreneur Lemuel P. Grant donated 100 acres of land to establish the first city-owned public park. The park is named in his honor.
Knight Park/Howell Station
The neighborhood Howell Station is named after Evan P. Howell, a Confederate infantry captain who went on to serve as mayor of Atlanta from 1903 to 1904. Knight Park bears the name of William T. Knight, a neighborhood resident and alderman who donated the land for a community park in 1940.
Elizabeth, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Joel Hurt, the real-estate developer and civil engineer who named Druid Hills, organized the development of more than 130 acres of land. He named it Inman Park in honor of his friend and associate Samuel Inman, an alderman, developer, and civic leader in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Joyland is named for the now shuttered Joyland Park, an amusement park built specifically for Atlanta’s African American residents.
In the 1950s, the Fountain Drive-Morris Brown Drive Community Club was renamed Just Us, a reference to the area’s relatively tiny population (as in, “it’s just us folks living here”). The neighborhood has a total of two streets, so it hardly needed its long original name.
A neighborhood in Dekalb County, Kirkwood is probably named for the Kirkpatrick and Dunwoody families, who lived in the area before the Civil War.
You won’t find any aquatic animals swimming around in this neighborhood. Lake Claire is named for the intersection of Lakeshore Drive and Claire Drive.
Loring Heights is named for William Wing Loring, a brigadier general in the Confederate Army.
Although the neighborhood bears the name of the author of Gone with the Wind, she never lived there. Originally named Cherokee Forest, the neighborhood adopted the name Margaret Mitchell as a nod to the Margaret Mitchell Elementary School, which was located in the area on Margaret Mitchell Drive.
Joe Winter, Flickr // CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Established in the late 19th century, Mechanicsville is named in honor of the mechanics that worked to build and maintain the local railway lines.
The neighborhood is named in honor of Dr. Hiram Mozley, its original landowner. Mozley died in 1902, paving the way for the development of the area.
The City of Atlanta originally built the Atlanta or City Cemetery in 1850, but the name was changed to Oakland in 1872 due to its many oak trees.
Old Fourth Ward
Wally Gobetz, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Up until 1954, Atlanta was divided into wards. When the state legislature combined and rezoned wards in 1937 to decrease the total number from 13 to six, the “old fourth ward” became part of the new fifth ward.
The neighborhood is named Ormewood Park after Aquilla J. Orme, an official of the Atlanta Electric Light and Trolley Company. Orme’s extension of a trolley line into the area made the neighborhood possible.
Paces/West Paces Ferry
Paces Ferry is named after Hardy Pace, who operated a flat-boat ferry service across the Chattahoochee River during the 19th century.
Although it may sound like a name that honors all the people who live in the neighborhood, Peoplestown is named after the Peoples family who occupied the area in the late 19th century.
Thanks to the heavy pollution south of the Pegran rail yards, the neighborhood is nicknamed Pittsburgh in a backhanded tribute to the industrial growth of Pittsburgh, Pa.
Wally Gobetz, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Poncey-Highland is named after the intersection of North Highland Ave. and Ponce de Leon Ave.
Reynoldstown is named after 19th century landowner and store operator Madison Reynolds.
Sylvan Hills is named for the word “sylva” meaning “the trees growing in a particular region.” Perhaps this neighborhood helps explain why Atlanta is called “The City of Trees.”
In 1911, Charles H. Black Sr.’s Tuxedo Park and Valley Road companies bought 300 acres off of West Places Ferry Road and developed the land as Tuxedo Park.
Michael Kuhlen, Flickr // CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
The district’s center is located at the intersection of Virginia Ave. and North Highland Ave., making the name Virginia Highland highly appropriate.
After residents received a charter and land speculators began creating a new suburb in 1868, developer George Washington Adair named the area after London’s West End theater district.
Whittier Mill Village
The Whittier Mill is named for the Whittier family. After successfully running a mill in Massachusetts, the Whittiers opened a southern branch in Atlanta in 1896.