Friday, April 26, 2013

Holtzclaw Street

Holtzclaw Street is a street in Reynoldstown. It runs north-south from Kirkwood Avenue to Memorial Drive. It's had this name since at least 1913.

Holtzclaw Street on Google Maps

Other Names

None known.

Name Origins

Possibly named for James Thadeus Holtzclaw (1833-1893), an Alabama lawyer and Confederate general during the Civil War. Holtzclaw was born in Henry County, Georgia and grew up in Chambers County, Alabama. As a young man, he was accepted to West Point, but instead chose to study law in Montgomery, Alabama. After the Civil War broke out, Holtzclaw served as a lieutenant in a militia group, the Montgomery True Blues, but soon joined the Confederate Army with the same rank. He was promoted rapidly, and by the end of 1861 he held the rank of lieutenant colonel, leading the 18th Alabama Infantry.

James T. Holtzclaw
(Credit: Digital Library of Georgia)

Holtzclaw participated in numerous major battles and was wounded in at least two of them. At Shiloh (1862), he was shot through the lung and thought to be mortally wounded, but he recovered in less than two months; he also received minor injuries at Chickamauga (1863). Holtzclaw was eventually promoted to brigadier general and commanded a brigade of Alabamians under Henry Clayton's division, which was involved in the Atlanta campaign during the summer of 1864. Holtzclaw's brigade is mentioned in numerous historical markers in the Atlanta area, including one in Inman Park, directly north of Holtzclaw Street. After the Civil War, Holtzclaw returned to practicing law in Montgomery, Alabama, where he also worked as a railroad commissioner and for the Democratic party. He died and was buried in Montgomery.

Warner, Ezra J. (1959). Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders. Louisiana State University Press (pp. 141-142)
Clayton's (Holtzclaw's Brigade), Ohio State University Dept. of History

Name Sightings

The earliest record we could find for Holtzclaw Street is the ACDC's 1913 Atlanta City Directory (p. 245). At that time, Holtzclaw Street extended all the way from Kirkwood Avenue to Glenwood Avenue. Today, a large industrial complex and I-20 stand in the way.

Related Streets

None yet.

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.