Historic Living… Depression and War 1930-1950

With a title this gloomy, you’d think not much was going on in Atlanta during this time. Quite to the contrary, this 20 year period was one of the most active expansions to what is now considered Intown Atlanta. The iconic Craftsman Bungalow swept across Atlanta and is still the most requested architectural style in current home searches.


Photo courtesy of the KS Star


Bungalows were being built in every neighborhood with new construction in the 1930’s. This included historically black neighborhoods. Segregation was a huge issue in this time period and Ashby Avenue (now Joseph E Lowery Blvd) was the unofficial color line on the west side. Homes east of Ashby were designated for blacks and those west for whites. In 1919, the Atlanta parks commission had designated Washington Park as the first city park for black Atlantans. This was on the west side of Ashby and developers had slowed construction in the belief that white families would not purchase that close to both the park and the Atlanta University campus.


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

In came Heman E. Perry. He is most well known for starting the Standard Life Insurance Company in 1919. Just as many of the other business leaders in Atlanta eventually turned to real estate development, so did Perry, seeing a huge need to serve the black community of which he was a part of. He even designed a new style of home, dubbed the Dream Home as the model for West Side Park (now Washington Park neighborhood.)


Photo courtesy of the Atlanta History Center


Perry eventually developed Hunter Hills and Dixie Hills with contractor Herman Glass. The development of Hunter Hills also included an unprecedented loan program, where black Atlantans could put down $5,00 and then pay $5.00 per month to own a new home.


Photo courtesy of the National Parks Service


On the East side, neighborhoods such as Morningside were built out throughout the 1930’s and up until the U.S. entered the second World War. Along with bungalows, Morningside is known for its Tudor style and many homes have elaborate brick work, swooping roof-lines and brick enclosed porches.


Photo courtesy of Realtor.com


On the southside, neighborhoods such as Ormewood Park and East Atlanta Village also grew through the 1930’s.


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

The war effort did stop construction. Very few homes were completed during 1941-1946.  As returning Veterans came home to Atlanta, the style of properties changed once again. Small cottage-style homes were constructed and filled-in many areas between neighborhoods. Now actually referred to as “Post-war” style homes, many had two to three bedrooms and one bathroom, with a large front picture window. They were affordable and ready for the new GI Bill to allow the former soldiers to start a new life with no money down.


Photo courtesy of the Pantagraph

Next month we will take a look at Atlanta expanding into the first real suburbs since the late 1800’s and yet another new architectural style sweeping the area.





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