Atlanta, 140 Years Ago

Photo Courtesy of Judy Chang

So two days ago, this one and I went to one of my favorite thrift stores in NYC, the Salvation Army on 96th and West End.

I wasn’t really planning on buying anything, but naturally found a few .99 tank tops that were begging to be purchased. As I was about to check out, Judy tells me to look over at the wall.

On that wall:

A street map of Atlanta, from 1871

I immediately freak out and start racially slurring my words. Judy eventually helps me regain my composure, and after some discussions with the management, I purchase it for the low low.

I was so pleased with myself. Once I sat down and actually started looking at my map, however, I realized I was having some trouble interpreting the map and fully getting my bearings… in my own city.

The absence of Civil Rights Leader street names alone had me staring blankly at the map for minutes on end. Throw in the lack of multiple 8-lane highways and the fact that it was looking NE and not North (horrible at directions) and I barely recognized the place as Atlanta. 

As I looked more closely, however, I noticed that many of the streets were in the same place as they are 140 years later. In order to get a full sense of how things have changed, though, I made some before and after images. 







It’s quite interesting to see what has stood the test of time and what has undergone a complete makeover. As a studier of urban planning, I must say this is the type of stuff that could entertain me for weeks on end. WEEKS, I tell you.

Nothing like some post-Civil War cartography to get through this hump day.

About Rembert Browne

NYC via ATL ////
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