DHC Lunch & Learn Series: The History of the Streetcar in Atlanta

From the DeKalb History Center

The History of the Streetcar in Atlanta & DeKalb County. Presented by Patrick Sullivan. Patrick Sullivan will present a talk on the establishment, growth, and decline of streetcars and inter-urban commuter lines in the Atlanta area with a special focus on the development of the transportation network in DeKalb County.

The history of the streetcar is as large and as colorful as history gets. Expansive, fast (for their time), noisy, and romantic, they were much loved by urban Georgians. Businesses, neighborhoods, recreational sites, and schools were tied into the new transportation system that provided movement to places people wanted or needed to go. Social relations changed as they brought white and black riders into close contact within the Jim Crow South. While the trackless trolley and personal automobile would bring an end to their use, funeral parties held in many cities honoring “last trolley rides” testified to their strong hold on the traveling public.

In 2011, the Georgia Department of Transportation hired New South Associates to develop a context for resources associated with Georgia’s historic streetcar systems, with an emphasis on the metro Atlanta area. The purpose of the report was to provide GDOT staff and preservation professionals with identification guidelines for streetcar-associated resources when they are encountered during road construction projects and a framework for evaluation of their historic significance and eligibility for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

Patrick Sullivan is a historian and architectural historian with New South Associates in Stone Mountain, Georgia. He received his M.A. in Heritage Preservation from Georgia State University in 2007. Over the course of his seven-year career at New South Associates, Mr. Sullivan has worked on a number of architectural and historic resource surveys throughout the eastern United States for clients that include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the General Services Administration, the Georgia Department of Transportation, and the National Park Service among others.

  • November 13, From Noon to 1:00 p.m.
  • Historic DeKalb Courthouse, Second Floor, 101 E. Court Square
  • Free – bring your lunch!

Photo courtesy of the Wren’s Nest