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A View to Where We’ve Come From

A Photo Essay by Henry Bryant

The Atlanta West Point Railroad built this freight depot on Memorial Drive along the Beltline when it was a connecting diversion for trains to bypass the maze of tracks that go under downtown Atlanta. The building is currently used as restaurant/bar with the Eastside Beltline Trail expansion soon to come.
Taken from United (the old Confederate) Avenue near the Beltline are the Trestle Tree Apartments.
This was taken close to the Beltline where Moreland Avenue crosses under the old Georgia Railroad tracks carrying trains east to Augusta. Here at the tracks is the old Colonial Bread Bakery. With four large commercial bakeries in or near the NPU-W neighborhoods, when the wind blew in your direction you could breathe the heavenly scent of baking bread and cakes. This site today holds the Best Buy and stores of Edgewood Retail District.
South of Grant Park near the Beltline where Hill Street meets McDonough Boulevard stood an Atlanta institution, Harold’s Barbecue. From its wood fired pit it served up ribs, pork, beef and Brunswick stew to neighbors, laborers, and legislators alike. Harold’s closed a few years back.
Around thirty or thirty-five years ago this was the outlook in the heart of East Atlanta Village on the east side of Flat Shoals. A grant had already been secured and used to repave sidewalks and add trees along the street. The historic Madison Theatre sits just to the right of center in this photo.
On the west side of Flat Shoals— one of the first new businesses to come on the scene in East Atlanta Village after the redevelopment grant— was Heaping Bowl and Brew. It was a quirky restaurant that won acclaim from across Atlanta, soon expanding to Emory Village and Buckhead.
At Clifton and Glenwood, Burgess Elementary stood before its expansion to include Peterson Elementary. The new larger school on this site became Burgess Peterson Academy.
In East Atlanta on the other end of Clifton near where it joins Flat Shoals sits Sylvester Cemetery at the site of the old Sylvester Baptist Church. In this 1980s photo, the woods had taken over almost the entire cemetery. In 2022, thanks to many volunteer hours from neighbors and cemetery families (as well as donations and fund raising), the cemetery has become a green oasis for the neighborhood.

Photos by Henry Bryant

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