Friday, April 12, 2013

Estoria Street

Estoria Street is a street in Cabbagetown. It runs north-south, between Wylie Street (where it becomes Krog Street) and Memorial Drive. It's had this name since 1893.

Estoria Street on Google Maps

Other Names

Estora Street (1892 variant)
New Street (before Estora/Estoria)

Name Origins

Estoria Street was named for Estora Fitzgerald Stephens (c. 1867-1889). She was born in Atlanta to John Stephens (1833-1896), an Irish immigrant, and Annie Elizabeth Fitzgerald (1846-1934), of Clayton County, Georgia. Little is known about Estora's life or even the cause of her death at the young age of about 22. We do know from her obituary that her funeral was held at the Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, still an active church and downtown Atlanta's second oldest building (built 1869). We also know from the same source that she was buried in Oakland Cemetery, where her headstone can be found today.

Estora Stephens headstone in Oakland Cemetery
(Credit: Find A Grave)

Estora grew up in a prominent family and probably lived the good life. Her father served as a captain in the Confederate army, and after the Civil War, became a successful businessman. Her mother was the daughter of a planter. One of her younger sisters, Mary Isabelle "Maybelle" Stephens, married Eugene M. Mitchell, an Atlanta attorney. Their daughter, Margaret M. Mitchell, penned one of the most famous Southern novels, Gone With the Wind, which features Clayton County and Atlanta during the Civil War. Many believe that Scarlett O'Hara, the book's protagonist, was based on Margaret's grandmother (Estora's mother), Annie Fitzgerald.

Margaret's brother, Alexander Stephens Mitchell, was (among many things) editor of the Atlanta Historical Society Bulletin and a street names enthusiast. His research, some of which is archived at the Atlanta History Center, provided an early reference to the connection between his late Aunt Estora and Estoria Street.

Obituary for Estora Stephens, Atlanta Constitution, November 6, 1889 (transcription)
Stephens Mitchell manuscripts, Atlanta History Center

Name Sightings

Estoria Street first appears in the 1892 Saunders Atlanta City Directory (p. 179) as Estora Street, lacking the "i" and reflecting the spelling of its namesake. Almost immediately, the street became known by its present-day spelling of "Estoria," as displayed in the 1893 Saunders ACD (p. 179) and the 1892 Koch map.

In a 1903 article in the Atlanta Constitution, real estate developer Forrest Adair claimed that Estoria Street was formerly known as New Street, but we could not find any references to this name in older city directories. Perhaps Adair was mistaken or this was an unofficial name for the street.

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