Historic Streetcars in Georgia


Figure 1. Atlanta Project Location Map Source: ESRI World Imagery, 2009.

Sidewalk and traffic circulation improvements have been ongoing near Hunter Place and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Atlanta, Georgia (Figure 1). The Area of Potential Effects (APE) extends in all directions from the intersection. During the latter stages of roadwork, streetcar track was encountered within the right-of-way of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The proposed project is located outside the boundaries of the Washington Park and Mozley Park National Register Historic Districts.

Figure 1

Figure 2. Topographic Maps of the City of Atlanta and Vicinity, 1928.

Figure 2

A search on Georgia's Natural, Archaeological and Historic Resources Geographic Information System (GNAHRGIS) shows that no previously identified properties or sites were recorded within the project APE. The Atlanta Streetcar GIS Database indicates Martin Luther King Jr. Drive (formerly Hunter Street) was single-tracked up to the intersection with Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard (formerly Ashby Street) by Georgia Power in 1928. Therefore, any track located west of the intersection would have been constructed during a later period (Figure 2).


Figure 3. Rail and track bedding structures exposed during construction.

Road improvement construction uncovered single tracking consisting of 9-inch grooved girder rail in the westbound lane of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive at Hunter Place. The rail was embedded in concrete that spanned wood ties (Figure 3).

The rail is a structure associated with Atlanta's streetcar system and was constructed sometime after 1928. No other buildings or structures that preceded development of the streetcar line were noted within the project area.
Figure 3


The method of construction of twentieth-century track has been thoroughly documented. Research suggested that no earlier track operated along this portion of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive prior to 1928. Therefore, track and bedding from this period may not be considered eligible for the NRHP under Criterion D as a resource that has information contributing to our understanding of twentieth century streetcar history.