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Sweet Auburn preservation initiative relies on votes to spruce up historic house

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Neighborhood boosters want 120-year-old Bryant-Graves residence to become a destination for visitors from around the world.

A classical house with brown siding and a front porch.
The Bryant-Graves Historic Home in Sweet Auburn.
National Georgraphic

Sweet Auburn was the epicenter of the Civil Rights movement, a gem in downtown Atlanta worth not only preserving but celebrating.

And now, if all goes as planned, a new initiative could help restore a historic home in the neighborhood and bolster local businesses.

Sweet Auburn Works—an organization that supports economic development initiatives and projects that promote commerce, tourism, and preservation in Sweet Auburn—is hoping to spruce up the Bryant-Graves historic house.

Built in the late 1890s, the home was the site of an institute that educated African-Americans in the early 1900s, including Martin Luther King, Sr.

Currently, the home serves as the offices of Sweet Auburn Works, though the organization hopes to transform it into an information center to serve the million-plus annual visitors who come to the neighborhood and teach them about local businesses.

To make the vision a reality, the organization is in the running for a grant through the Partners in Preservation: Main Streets program.

But they need a few clicks from caring Atlantans.

The competition Atlanta is up against.
National Geographic

The initiative will support preservation at sites across the country through $2 million in grants. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, in collaboration with Main Street America, will determine funding allocations based on the results of an online poll.

To support the Sweet Auburn project, Atlantans can vote daily through Oct. 31.