Atlantans love to rename their streets. Every few years, going back to at least the early twentieth century, someone has been trying to rename an Atlanta street. The reasons vary. Sometimes people want to recognize a worthy person, place, or thing. Sometimes they want to strip the honor from a recipient deemed unworthy. Other times people rename a street to give it more prestige, or to separate themselves from another group of people. The list goes on.
If we think naming a street for somebody is an honor--and many of us do--then we have to admit that renaming the street strips the honor from somebody, or something, else. And that, in turn, requires us to know something about why the street has its name in the first place. This can be tough. Unlike some other big cities, there is no definitive book or reference for Atlanta street names. There are some great starting points here and there, but for the most part, we're on our own. The history and origins of street names in Atlanta is a big mystery waiting to be solved.
This blog, the Atlanta Street Names Project, is about solving that mystery. Let's discover the stories behind the streets we live, work, and travel on every day. We want to make this a big collaboration, online and offline, involving anyone who's interested in Atlanta streets. In fact, this project is already collaborative, involving folks at the Atlanta History Center, eHistory.org, and other valuable resources.
Our plan is to update this blog regularly with new research on various street names in Atlanta. If possible, each post will contain information about the street name's origins (where the name comes from), its history (when the street was created and how its name has changed over the years), and relevant stories or images. We'll cite sources to keep things scholarly and encourage additional research. Not all of us are professional historians and we view our work as just a starting point. For us, one of the most exciting parts of the project will be getting other folks involved--people like you.
Welcome to the Atlanta Street Names Project. You may want to start by learning how to contribute and checking out the list of resources. Let the discoveries begin!
-The ASNP Team