Old Maps Reveal Compelling History Around Woodruff Park

June 11,2015


In this new series, Adventures In Mapping, we'll dig through historic Sanborn fire maps of the city — drawn between 1886 and 1922 — to uncover secrets behind some of Atlanta's most prominent places. Comparing relatively ancient maps to those of today, we'll see just how much neighborhoods have changed and trace the rise and demise buildings and streets as we go. Along the way, we'll point out quirky aspects of the city's evolution and highlight not only what we've lost through the years, but what we've managed to save and gain. First up: the area now known as Woodruff Park.

Opened in 1973 as Central City Park, Woodruff Park occupies a central place in the city along Peachtree Street, just north of Five Points. Surrounded by historic buildings, the park is a fairly recent addition considering the neighborhood is one of the oldest in Atlanta. Until Robert Woodruff bought the land and donated it to the city for the park, the blocks were filled with buildings, even when the first map was drawn in 1886...