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[rotating photos] Typical houses of the West End Historic District
NPS photographs by Jody Cook

The West End Historic District exemplifies the pattern of growth and development that characterized metropolitan Atlanta during the 19th and early 20th centuries. West End's development began in the 1830s with the establishment of the White Hall Inn at the important crossroads of White Hall (now Lee Street) and Sandtown Roads (later Gordon Street, now Abernathy Boulevard). In the late 1840s, the Macon and Western Railroad line (later Central of Georgia) was established just east of the tavern, which provided easy access to downtown Atlanta, and increased the potential for growth around the White Hall area. Speculators, notably George Washington Adair, John Thrasher and Thomas Alexander, bought lots surrounding the inn anticipating future growth. In 1868 the inhabitants of the area received a charter, and the land speculators began subdividing and promoting the newly incorporated town as the ideal suburb of Atlanta. Adair changed the name of the community to West End, after the "fashionable" theater district in London, England. Adair joined with Richard Peters in 1870 to form the Atlanta Street Railway Company to provide trolley access to his suburb. West End became a desirable suburban community in the 1880s, and grew rapidly in population and prosperity, so that by 1930 there were more than 22,000 residents. Notable residents included E.P. Howell, former Mayor of Atlanta and owner of the Atlanta Constitution newspaper, as well as several authors such as Frank L. Stanton, Madge Bigham and Joel Chandler Harris, known for his Uncle Remus Tales.

West End contains a rich mixture of architectural styles of the types popular in Georgia cities (and throughout the United States) during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The most predominant house type found throughout West End is the Craftsman bungalow, but other significant styles include Queen Anne, Stick Style, Folk Victorian, Colonial Revival, and Neoclassical Revival. In addition to the bungalow, other house types include the gabled ell, Queen Anne, and American Foursquare. The houses are primarily constructed of wood and some of brick. By the 1920s, 50 businesses were clustered at Gordon and Lee streets including branches of Sears, Firestone, Piggly Wiggly, and Goodyear.

The Hammonds House, within the West End Historic District
NPS photograph by Jody Cook

By the 1940s, West End was an aging, but still vital community. The West End Businessmen's Association, formed in 1927, later produced and implemented urban renewal projects to stem the exodus of West End citizens to the suburbs. Historically occupied by white residents, by the 1960s the neighborhood had become home to many African Americans. The northern edge of West End became home to many African Americans associated with the Atlanta University Center. The construction of Interstate 20 was part of the urban renewal targeted for the West End, to create greater accessibility to the business district, but in effect it physically separated the black and white areas of the neighborhood. Also part of this renewal were the enlargement of J.E. Brown High School and Peeples Street School and the creation of two new parks. In recent years there has been a resurgence of pride and interest by West End residents. In 1974, they formed the West End Neighborhood Development, Inc. to improve the socioeconomic position of the community and its residents, and increase interest and awareness of the historic neighborhood. The Hammonds House, once home of a prominent Atlanta physician, now houses many 19th-century antiques and a notable collection of African-American art.

West End Historic District, in the southwest section of Atlanta, is roughly bounded by I-20 to the north, Lee St. to the east, White St. to the south, and Langhorn St. to the west. The Hammonds House, located at 503 Peeples St, is open to the public Tuesday-Friday from 10:00am to 6:00pm; Saturday-Sunday from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. Call 404-752-8730 for more information.

  [image] E. Van Winkle Gin and Machine Works and link to Industrial Atlanta essay
  [image] Tullie Smith House and link to Antebellum Atlanta essay   [image] African American baseball players of Morris Brown College - Atlanta and link to African American Experience essay   [image] Historic postcard of Fox Theatre Historic District and link to Growth and Preservation essay

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