Atlanta Beltline Inc. photograph of Bellwood Quarry

Photograph of Bellwood Quarry provided  by Atlanta Beltline Inc.

On the west side of Atlanta is located a place that most residents of the city would believe that they had been transported to the Rockies that make up the western landscape of North America should they visit it. Surrounded by the neighborhoods of Grove Park, Howell Station, and Knights Park Bellwood Quarry has been in operation for over 100 years. For the majority of its existence the quarry has been used as a source of granite that has been used in paving roads and sidewalks, as well as in some of the buildings in the city. Originally the quarry had a dual purpose. In addition to using the granite from the quarry, Fulton County also used the quarry as a camp for prison labor. A closer look at the prison labor system in Georgia and throughout the south reveals more than just a system of punishment for lawbreakers, but an extension of slavery and the racial tensions that dictated the politics of the south after The Civil War. After the prison labor system in the south was removed the quarry began to operate under the hands of private corporations. Additionally, the nation began to become more environmentally conscious. Industrialization and environmental disasters created standardization for environmental inspections that the quarry and its owners had to conform to. In more recent history the quarry has begun a new phase of use. As Atlanta’s industrial past has waned the city has turned to new sources of economic growth. Atlanta has begun to market itself as a city friendly to the production of television and movies. This in turn has made the Bellwood Quarry a popular spot for shooting both television and movie scenes. Finally the city hopes that through the beltline revitalization project that people will be enticed to move back into the city. Bellwood Quarry, West Side Reservoir Park as it will be called in the near future will be integral to this process. The quarry has played an important role in the city’s past, and looks to play just as important a role in the city’s future.