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Georgia Trust Highlights Atlanta's Preservation Problem

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The Georgia Trust has released its 2016 list of — cue the music — Places in Peril! The list serves as a handy guide to historic, archaeological and cultural resources in danger of disappearing after meeting the business end of a stick of dynamite, or as a result of general apathy — choose your own adventure! There were two Atlanta-based listings this year, though one is actually a category containing 54 districts in the National Register of Historic Places. With that much old stuff, it'd be hard to swing a wrecking ball and not hit something important. But when it comes to intown's housing stock, the Georgia Trust is clearly (and expectedly) not a big proponent of teardowns.

The Georgia Trust wrote in a release that these districts represent the evolution of architecture and urban development in the years immediately following the Civil War through the mid-20th Century. Yet, only 17 of 54 are locally designated by the City of Atlanta as Landmark or Historic Districts. As we pointed out in a recent interview by WABE, 300 buildings are on the National Register, and just 50 are on the City of Atlanta Landmark list. What's the difference? A listing on the National Register of Historic Places provides no protections whatsoever for buildings. Being listed on the national register just means you cannot spend federal money to demolish the building. To be considered for preservation, a building in Atlanta has to be nominated and actually listed on the Landmark Building or Sites list.

With the recent influx of new residents in the city increasing the need for greater density, many historic buildings are at the mercy of private developers. Yet, while many developers may seem scrap-happy, intown residents have shown that they can drum up enough outcry to save important landmarks, like in the case of the Bell Building or more recently, the Forsyth-Walton building downtown.

The other Atlanta place in peril, as the Georgia Trust sees it, is a storied Buckhead golf course. Below is their view on these matters, in their words:

Summary Information on each Places in Peril Site

Teardowns in Atlanta's Historic Neighborhoods

Atlanta is home to 54 historic districts listed in the National Register of Historic Places. These districts represent the evolution of architecture and urban development in the years immediately following the Civil War through the mid-20th century. Of these districts, only 17 are locally designated by the City of Atlanta as Landmark or Historic Districts, offering extra layers of protection, enhancement and perpetuation of Atlanta's cultural, social, economic and architectural history.

With a rebounding housing market and a renewed desire by many to relocate to intown Atlanta, traditional, single-family homes in historic neighborhoods are routinely purchased by speculative developers and demolished to make way for new construction – often without regard to the traditional size, scale or architectural designs of existing neighborhoods.


Bobby Jones Golf Course (Atlanta, Fulton County)
The Bobby Jones Golf Course, completed in 1933, was built as a public course by the City of Atlanta with the intention of honoring the golfing legend. Following the Great Depression, the formal clubhouse was completed in 1941. The course played an integral role in Atlanta's early Civil Rights history when in 1951, Alfred "Tup" Holmes, a talented African-American amateur golfer, attempted to play a round of golf at the then segregated club. When he was denied entry, he brought suit against the City of Atlanta. The case eventually went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that all of Atlanta's public courses were to be desegregated.

A recent plan for Atlanta Memorial Park recommended that the course be dramatically altered and converted into a nine-hole course and driving range. This plan would not utilize the clubhouse, and both it and the course are in danger of being drastically altered or demolished.

· The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation Announces its 2016 List of State's Ten 'Places in Peril' [Georgia Trust]
· Historic Building Facing Demolition Renews Atlanta Preservation Debate
· Redesign could Spare Facade of Historic Downtown Building [Curbed]
· GSU Wants to Replace a Historic Building with Parking [Curbed]