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History of Edgewood


Edgewood was first developed in 1870’s. The neighborhood was originally its own independent town created to help resolve Atlanta’s housing shortage, a byproduct of the massive population growth occurring around downtown. Edgewood’s proximity to downtown was ideal for commuters, and the neighborhood was flanked on its north and south ends by the #17 and #18 streetcar lines respectively.


Edgewood is home to many different styles of architecture because the community was initially developed by independent builders. This is in contrast to neighborhoods like Grant Park and Druid Hills, where large corporate developers meticulously planned their layouts.


In 1909 Edgewood was annexed into the city of Atlanta. Today the neighborhood is very diverse in both its people and its housing styles. The neighborhood’s proximity to Downtown Atlanta & MARTA make it an ideal place to live, while neighborhood anchors like the Edgewood Retail Shopping Center provide convenient shopping and meal options. Perfectly nestled between Kirkwood and Reynoldstown, 2 of Atlanta’s best in-town neighborhoods, Edgewood is a community that is loaded with limitless potential and is the perfect place to call home.

The Whole Story

Prior to the Civil War, Edgewood was heavily forested with few inhabitants. What is now called Edgewood, was originally named Hardeville for the largest land holder in the area.

Hardee was a famous Lieutenant general in United States military, published author, and inventor of the Hardee calvary hat. Hardee street still carries his namesake today. This rural area was best known for the main dusty thoroughfare, Decatur Wagon Rd. One would have to travel it by horse from the new city of Atlanta to Decatur. We now call it Dekalb Avenue.


Following the Civil War, the Georgia Railroad eastern line was built to offer a faster mode of transportation connecting Atlanta to Decatur, Augusta and Charleston. The rail line was placed alongside Decatur Wagon Road.


A train depot was constructed near Clifton Rd and Dekalb Avenue as the main train stop between Atlanta and Decatur. The area around the depot became the early nexus for Edgewood, as new stores, churches, and homes began to spring up around the Georgia Railroad Depot. The depot and commercial district was where Candler Park MARTA station is today.


The first mention of “Edgewood” occurs in 1879 by Soles Gazette, “A suburb of Atlanta, about 3 miles from Decatur--its depot on GA. R. R.--extending from the corporate limits of Atlanta to Kirkwood, near Decatur. Its population of 250 or 300 persons, is composed of business and professional men of Atlanta and their families. Although a comparatively new settlement, it is rapidly Improving in population and wealth; contains a neat and well furnished church--Methodist--colored church, small public school, select school and many elegant residences and beautiful cottages. This location Is most desirable, the climate healthy and the society or the best. The accommodation train stops at any point for passengers to the city every morning and returns at evening.”


It goes on to mention a few of Edgewood’s earliest settlers. 23 farmers, a carpenter, a fruit grower, 2 Methodist ministers, and a physician.


By the 1900’s Edgewood has become a full town. Cotton Seed Oil and Virgina Chemical opened factories (where Carlyle park is today) along the train tracks, growing the population of Edgewood to 1,200. The town of Edgewood included what is modern day Candler Park. Its boundaries were North avenue, Moreland to west, Clifton to east, and Hardee street to the south. Edgewood was mixed racially and economically. Notable occupants were Edgewood’s 1st mayor and Georgia Supreme Court Judge Whitefoord Smith (whom Whitefoord avenue is named for), noted sea Captain Augustus Benning, Mayson Avenue resident and founder of the Edgewood Temperance society James Thrower, and prominent African American doctor and pharmacist Dr. Douthard. Who lived on an entirely white street.


The Town of Edgewood joined the city of Atlanta in 1910 along with East Atlanta Village and Kirkwood as Atlanta’s new 9th Ward. In exchange for being annexed into the city, Edgewood received the benefits of new sidewalks, public water, and electricity. 


In the 1920’s, the rise of the streetcar caused Edgewood’s population to grow. Edgewood’s proximity to downtown became attractive for many affluent families. Asa Candler of Cocoa Cola fame took an interest in the Edgewood community, buying lots and building homes on the north-side of the neighborhood. He donated the land that would become the Candler Park Golf Course and pushed for the creation of Mary Lin Elementary to serve Edgewood and the new Druid Hills neighborhood. The school was built on the last remaining blue collar and African American homes on the north side of Edgewood.


Displacing those occupants south of Dekalb Avenue, the affluent north side of the neighborhood voted to separate itself from the working class area south of the Rail Road tracks, naming Candler Park after Asa Candler. The final change was renaming Whitefoord Avenue Oakdale Rd.

History of Edgewood
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