Atlanta Rail Corridor Archive

Browse Exhibits (7 total)

Adaptive Use on the Beltline


Adaptive Use on the Beltline explores Atlanta's 19th and 20th century industrial past and the way in which that past is being reused in the 21st century.  This digital exhibit looks at Stacks at the Fulton Cotton Mill, Ponce City Market, and the Goat Farm, three sites that convey the story of Atlanta's industrial past and the envisioning of its post-industrial future.  

Each of these sites has specific stories that reveal the changing relationships of industry to Atlanta's rail system, the impact of New South economic ideas, and ways in which industrial sites have been adapted to serve local revitalization projects.  These sites lead us into a complex web of economic, social, and local relationships that help us to discover how our industrial past shapes our post-industrial present.


Curated by Christianna Huber 

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Georgia Tech: A School History


 The Georgia School of Technology was founded on October 13, 1885. Several years later, in 1888, they welcomed their first class, consisting of only eighty-four students (all male.) The founding of the school helped show how the South was going from an agricultural economy to an industrial one. In 1948, the name of the school was changed to the 'Georgia Institute of Technology,' even though today, most people, specially those here in Atlanta, know it as 'Georgia Tech,' or simply 'Tech.' Female students were first welcomed at Georgia Tech in 1952. In 1961, Georgia Tech famously became the first college in the Deep South to allow African American students without needing a court order, thus creating a more culturally-diverse campus, a tradition that still continues at Georgia Tech.

 Georgia Tech has always  been intertwined with the Atlanta Beltline. When the school was first founded, students used streetcars and trains on the Beltline to commute to and from school. Today, students mostly use cars and public transport to commute to and from Georgia Tech's campus, but The Atlanta Beltline still continues to be intertwined with Georgia Tech because the whole idea of the Atlanta Beltline project was the idea of Georgia Tech student Ryan Gravel, for his Masters Thesis at Georgia Tech.


The Wren's Nest


This exhibit focuses on The Wren’s Nest in the West End and its original owner, Joel Chandler Harris, who created the famous Uncle Remus character, wherein he popularized the original Br’er Rabbit stories.  The Wren’s Nest now acts as both a house museum and a place for young writers to hone their work.  The Atlanta Beltline runs through the Historic West End neighborhood, only a few blocks from The Wren’s Nest, which has opened up the area to greater numbers of people to discover this hidden gem.  The Beltline West End trail falls on the Westview Cemetery, where Harris is currently buried.  The house museum has been in the area since 1870, has participated in events sponsored by The Beltline, and a mural along the West End trail features the character of Uncle Remus.  This project will include information regarding Harris’ influence through the recording of these oral stories, as well as his contributions to the Atlanta history through both these stories and his journalistic endeavors with the Atlanta Constitution.

Bellwood Quarry

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Bellwood Quarry is a unique landscape that sits just west of Atlanta near the neighborhoods of Grove Park, Knights Park, and Howell Station. Bellwood Quarry was in operation for over 100 years beginning in the late 19th century as a work camp for prisoners. During the middle of the 20th century it was operaated by several private corporations. The gravel and rock quarried from Bellwood have been used to pave Atlanta's roads. More recently Bellwood Quarry has become a popular location forthe film and television industries. In 2006 Atlanta has taken over the quarry, and plans to include the property in the Beltline project. Bellwood Quarry will become West Side Reservoir Park. The park will become the largest in Atlanta with a 30 day emergency water reservoir for the city's use.


The Cotton States and International Exposition

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The Cotton States and International Exposition was held in Piedmont Park in 1895. The latest in a string of world fairs across the country, it was an attempt for Atlanta and the South to establish itself as a new center of regional prosperity and progress, and open the doors to potential foreign trade partners. Its over 6,000 exhibits served to display the South in a new age of modernity, embracing technology and industry as part of its redeveloping economy. However, the Cotton States and International Exposition also serve to cement new racial and ethnic ideologies that would have long term consequences for the South and the country as a whole. 

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Railroads of the Atlanta Belt Line


In the 37 years between 1871 and 1908, Atlanta saw construction of the rail lines that will form Atlanta’s BeltLine when it is complete in 2030. Encircling downtown, the BeltLine was originally built in segments--some main line track, some belt lines proper.  While much of the rail corridor is abandoned, descendants of the original railroads continue to operate in and around the city.

From Atlanta’s inception as the southern terminal of the state-owned Western & Atlantic Railroad in 1837, followed by the arrival of Georgia Railroad in 1845 and the Macon & Western Railroad in 1846--spokes to the BeltLine's "wheel"--railroads provided the impetus to its industrialization and urbanization. Railroads overcame problems of geography, shortened delivery times and increased route flexibility. Perhaps most importantly, the prospect of profits from railroad revenues attracted Northern and foreign capital to a region that possessed few resources at the end of the Civil War.

Railroads of the Atlanta Belt Line looks at the belt lines built around Atlanta during a time when railroad development was at its peak—rail mileage doubled between 1865 and 1880, then tripled in the next ten years. During the same period, Atlanta’s population increased from 21,789 in 1879 to 65,533 by 1890. Twenty years later, the city’s population was 154, 872. This 611 percent increase in 40 years was surely facilitated by the new ease with which one could travel from the north, east, south and west to arrive in the capital of the New South.


Brookwood Hills


This exhibit page is design to explore the development and key points of history in the Brookwood Hills neighborhood of Atlanta.

Prior to the establishment of the Brookwood Neighborhood, the area was the site of some of the bloodiest fighting during the Battle of Atlanta, during the American Civil War. Shortly after the war's end, many of Atlanta's elite moved out of the city along what is now Peachtree Road.

Brookwood Hills is a well-established residential area that embraces the nature of suburban development of the early 1920s. The neighborhood began when a man by the name of Benjamin Burdett and a unknown partner purchased approximately 50 acres of land from the A.J. Collier estate.

Later in the early 1920s Burdette joined with George Washington Collier Jr., who owned roughly 25 acres in the same area as Burdette's own land ownings. Together the two developed 65 acres into a suburban subdivision called Brookwood Hills. Much of the neighborhood design was inspired by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead.

Being well funded Over the next few years the neighborhood went through a series of construction phases. By 1924 most of the area homes had been developed and subsequently sold.

Today the historic district has come to encompass nearly 90 acres and is home to more than 250 residences.