Summertime in Atlanta is full of hot, sunny days with plenty of time to visit spraygrounds, pools, parks and other fun venues. Atlanta also has an abundance of historical sites to show the kiddos more about this fabulous city we live in as well as offer something different to do! Atlanta’s history is accentuated by the Civil War and the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. Various sites around the city are memorials to some of history’s most notable people and events.
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site Visitors Center is the official memorial dedicated in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr King was the leader of America’s greatest nonviolent movement for justice, equality and peace. The visitors center includes exhibits illustrating his life and teachings as well as the King Center’s Library, Archives, tomb, his birth home, gift shop and other facilities. Admission and parking are free. Most of the park is self-guided. Registration is needed to tour the Birth Home of Dr. King.
Ebenezer Church, founded in 1886, lies close to the heart of Atlanta’s Historic Auburn Avenue, inside the Martin Luther King Jr., Historic District. Dr. King was baptized here as a child and was the Co-Pastor with his father for a time.
Historic Fourth Ward Park is one block from Ponce City Market and is a beautiful 17 acre park. In the late 1860s, Atlantans began visiting the springs in the area. An Atlanta physician named the springs “Ponce de Leon Springs,” based on his assertion that the water held rejuvenative properties. In 1903, the Ponce de Leon Amusement park opened and a few years later Sears Roebuck built a Distribution Center on Ponce de Leon which still is the largest brick building in the Southeast.
Atlanta History Center contains one of the nation’s largest exhibits on Civil War history. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1964 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech manuscript is here as well as artifacts from the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and a look at the life of golf legend Bobby Jones. Conveniently located off of I-75, the Atlanta History Center is a unique 33 acre oasis nestled among one of Atlanta’s most historic neighborhoods. Award-winning exhibitions, historic houses, enchanting gardens, interactive experiences, and a variety of year-round adult and family programs truly offer something for everyone looking to explore our region’s past. Admission tickets are all-inclusive of all History Center attractions, and guests enjoy free parking.
Tour the Margaret Mitchell House and learn about Mitchell’s life in Atlanta as well as facts surrounding her writing of the novel, Gone With the Wind. Price is also included to the house next door which is a “Making of the Movie” museum.
The Millenium Gate Museum consists of galleries and artifacts from the 18th century to modern day. It is a 12,000 square foot museum with 3 period rooms highlighting historical design. Artifacts here date back to the birth of Georgia from the Native American, Spanish, British Colonial, and American Revolutionary periods. The Gate is a classically designed monumental arch in the tradition of Roman triumphal arches.
Atlanta Monetary Museum at the Federal Reserve will teach the kids the history of money and they will learn about monetary policies and bank regulations. Learn about banking in America and see rare coins and currency. Free group tours can be scheduled if you have more than 10 people, otherwise it is a self-guided tour.
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is situated on granite hills covered hardwood forests and streams located northwest of downtown Atlanta. The 2,884-acre park preserves a Civil War battleground of the Atlanta Campaign, during which General William T. Sherman captured Atlanta. Kennesaw Mountain was the last major natural obstacle which the Confederate Army fortified to protect Atlanta from the Union Army’s advance at the end of June 1864.
The Cabbagetown District, east of downtown Atlanta, originally consisted of the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill and the housing built for the factory workers. The mill is a complex of buildings constructed primarily between 1881 and 1922. The main factory buildings are five-story brick buildings designed in a Neo-Romanesque style. Two of the three original mill buildings remain today. Founded by Jacob Elsas, the mill manufactured standard-sized cotton bags at a time when most of the cotton in the South was being shipped to the North to be processed.
Castleberry Hill Historic District is a commercial district adjacent to one of Atlanta’s main rail lines. The district is made up of 1-3 story brick buildings historically used for retail, wholesale, and light industry. It is the only remaining collection of railroad service and distribution buildings that show Atlanta’s beginnings as a railroad town.
Adair Park Historic District is a residential neighborhood located southwest of downtown Atlanta and adjacent to the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks. This bungalow suburb was developed from the 1890s to the 1940s, when Atlanta was transitioning from a “railroad town” to a true city.
The Swan House represents the architectural tastes of wealthy citizens in the late 1920s. The house was built by the Inman’s who were heirs to a cotton brokerage fortune. “The house is set on a rising slope and presents an Italian Mannerist facade complete with double stairs descending on either side of a cascade. Baroque inspired lawns, stone obelisks and retaining walls, and two stone fountains are other Renaissance elements found on the grounds.”
The Georgia Captial was completed in 1889 and is still a working government building. The Georgia Capitol Museum is a public educational institution housed in the Capitol building under the administration of the Office of Secretary of State. The Museum collects, maintains, and exhibits artifacts, including historic flags and works of art.
Callanwolde Fine Arts Center
Callanwolde was built the President of The Coca-Cola Company and is a Tudor Revival style mansion situated on a beautifully landscaped 12.5-acre estate. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Callanwolde’s combination of history, architecture and art education makes it one of the most unique art centers in the country.
Michael C. Carlos Museum
The Michael C Carlos Museum is an art museum located in Atlanta on the historic quadrangle of Emory University’s main campus. The Carlos Museum has the largest ancient art collections in the Southeast, including objects from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Near East, Africa and the ancient Americas. The collections are housed in a Michael Graves designed building which is open to the public.
Enjoy as you explore and learn more about Atlanta’s history!
See this article in the June 2016 issue of North Fulton Family Life Magazine.