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Four Atlanta sites under consideration for national historic registry

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East Atlanta, Cascade’s commercial hub, and downtown’s iconic library could join the vaunted roster

A rendering of Cooper Carry’s design shows the windows cut into the side hulking concrete structure.
Renderings show proposed windows cut into the Atlanta-Fulton Central Library.
Cooper Carry

Atlanta isn’t exactly famous for its historic preservation prowess, but that doesn’t mean plenty of sites aren’t worth saving forever.

For example, overseers of Oakland Cemetery, one of more than 200 Fulton County sites on the National Register of Historic Places, are currently trying to raise money to repair many cracked and broken headstones.

And downtown, the former home base of Norfolk Southern railroad company is undergoing a multi-million-dollar primping that will transform two century-old buildings into high-end residences—while keeping the iconic exterior, no less.

The Norfolk Southern Buildings aren’t on the historic registry ... yet. But as of late August, four other distinctly Atlanta buildings and places are aiming to be.

Georgia’s National Register Review Board has been considering four more names for its vaunted roster, which includes the likes of the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic District and Atlanta City Hall, according to a Historic Atlanta newsletter.

The first site of note is the Cascade Heights Commercial Historic District. Although the area really saw a boom in the mid-20th century, due to the growing allure of automobiles, “this neighborhood commercial node began at the time the neighborhood was platted in 1924,” according to Historic Atlanta.

A “complete streets” initiative is underway to transform Cascade Heights roadways into safer thoroughfares for pedestrians, cyclists, and people on all other alternative modes of transportation.

Next up for consideration is the East Atlanta Historic District, which has drastically transformed over the past few decades.

“The historic resources reflect the neighborhood’s evolution from a rural area to a streetcar suburb, and finally, to an urban area with substantial automobile-oriented development, including many ranch house subdivisions,” per the newsletter.

Then there’s the 117-year-old English Avenue School, “one of Atlanta’s oldest extant public school buildings,” which shuttered in 1995.

According to the Atlanta Preservation Center, the Greater Vine City Opportunities Program purchased the building in 2010, and the organization has since been working to raise funds to rehab it.

A photo of Atlanta Central Library from Forsyth and Carnegie streets.
The library, as it appears today.
Curbed Atlanta

Last, but certainly not least: Downtown’s Atlanta-Fulton County Central Library, the last structure designed by famed Brutalist architect Marcel Breuer, could be added to the historic list.

A $50 million renovation plan for the decades-old library has caught the ire of historic preservationists around metro Atlanta, largely due to architecture firm Cooper Carry’s aim to cut new windows into the side of the iconic building—an affront to the original architect, some say.

Unfortunately for those vying to protect the library’s facade, being added to the historic registry won’t save the building from proposed changes.

Atlanta Preservation Center

327 Saint Paul Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30312 (404) 688-3353

Oakland Cemetery

248 Oakland Avenue Southeast, , GA 30312 Visit Website