Historic Living… Beltline Neighborhood, Adair Park

The Gillette Mansion. Photo by Michelle Mechem

Atlanta is a railroad town. I have said it a hundred times. What happened after the railroad terminated at Terminus? A town sprang up. How did the good people of Atlanta get to work? Well, they needed to live close enough to either walk or go by horse and buggy. This is why for many years, through the Civil War and into reconstruction, Atlanta was one mile by one mile. Beyond that lay farmland and it was considered too far to walk. The land outside the city was less valuable because of this. So a few men who had made their fortunes in other trades in Atlanta (like one soda magnet named Asa Candler) looked at how they could make their fortunes in real estate.

Candler had purchased a large tract of land just south of the city. When he realized the farmers were having trouble moving their cotton crops and they were rotting in the fields, he saw a need for warehouses. The candler cotton warehouses were built just south of the east-west rail line. They were, or should I say are, massive. They still exist today and have been home to many artists and craftspeople over the past 40 years. Now known as the MET, this massive redevelopment also includes shops open to the public, a coffee shop (with the roasters attached) and a few restaurants. Yet back in 1870, this was beyond the edge of town.

The MET Atlanta. Photo by Michelle Mechem

I have spoken about the trolley lines in another post, and just as subdivisions pop up once a new highway is built, so it was with the trolley. Except, it was all planned ahead. Candler decided to concentrate on the trolley lines headed east (Inman Park and Candler Park) and he sold the land south of the cotton warehouses to his buddy George Washington Adair. Adair concentrated on a line going south along Stewart Aventine, now Metropolitan Ave.(The Atlanta Street Railway Company) He then continued to purchase land around the area and by his death in 1889, the Atlanta Real Estate Company was the largest developer of land in Atlanta. His sons, George and Forrest subdivided what is now Adair Park and began selling lots in 1910.

There are three parks within Adair Park. What is now known as Adair Park I, was formed in 1922 from 20 housing lots that appeared too difficult due to drainage and slope to build on. The bathhouse which still exists was built in 1930. Adair Park II was formed in the 1980’s from a former lumber yard. This park has a ball field, covered basketball court and a community center. The third is a 19 acre garden park called Bonnie Brae.

We can’t escape the railroad. Once the neighborhood was established, it needed to get goods to the local business, so a “belt-line” rail track was built. This is now the Atlanta Beltline trail which connects Adair Park to it’s neighbors in West End and Chosewood Park, (with a tunnel under I75/85.)

In Adair Park you will find the coveted Craftsman Bungalow, along with some Queen Anne Victorians and even Greek Revival homes. Home prices range from a fixer-upper around $175,000 to a mac-daddy total renovation at $525,000, at the time of publishing. The neighborhood has the charm of yesteryear and a great location with easy access to both I20 and I75/85. There is no need to get on the highway if you work in Downtown or Midtown. Just head north. If you would like to see if Adair Park is a fit for your next home, give us a call at 404-973-2273.

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Michelle Hipp

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