Midtown Atlanta has its name tossed around more than pig leather at the Super Bowl. Areas that technically have nothing to do with the district (west of the Connector, or south of North Avenue) are given the “M” name as a descriptor in hopes that some of its desirability will do its magic. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? If you want to be solidly in the middle of it all, take a gander at the intriguing neighborhood south of Tenth Street and bound by Juniper Street and Monroe Drive, sometimes referred to as “Historic Midtown.” It’s the real deal.
Historic Midtown developed in the late 19th century partly as a result of Atlanta’s natural northward progression, but also as a consequence of two popular recreational spots: the Ponce Springs amusement park (now the site of Ponce City Market), and what became Piedmont Park after the Atlanta Exposition. Streetcar lines were extended to serve these activity centers, and not surprisingly people saw the residential opportunities waiting to be exploited in the area.
Unlike the majority of Atlanta, most of the neighborhood’s laid out on a simple grid system, which makes wayfinding approximately 1,839 times easier than say, Ansley Park. Development carried on until after the Second World War, giving the neighborhood plenty of architectural diversity. Grander homes are found on Piedmont Avenue and Myrtle Street, while most of the interior blocks are filled with modest bungalows, foursquares, and a whole slew of 1910s/1920s revival styles. Post-WWII development was generally restricted to low brick apartment buildings.
Although Historic Midtown’s composed of leafy streets and plenty of single family homes, it garners high praise for its walkability. Walkscore.com gives the center of the neighborhood a rating of “Very Walkable.” All points of the compass offer something interesting worthy of a walk or short bike ride. Of course, Piedmont Park is a huge attraction just north of the neighborhood. To the west is the more urban district of Midtown, increasingly composed of highrises centered along Peachtree Street. Atlanta fave Viriginia Highland is to the east, while the burgeoning and hip ‘hood Old Fourth Ward is directly to the south.
Prices in Historic Midtown depend on condition and type: single family homes typically start around $300,000 for a fixer upper and can top $1M, while condos in the neighborhood range from under $100,000 to $400,000. Find Midtown properties here.