Forgotten Atlanta Public Schools – Schools A-D

Over its 140-plus years of existence, the Atlanta Public School System managed to evolve from just 6 schools in 1872 to well over 40 schools in the twentieth century. In the previous posts, I focused on the very first schools to open in 1872 with the newly created Atlanta Public School System. While those six schools were the first, several others would open a few months, year, and even decades after the first schools to open. Though some of the schools are still in operation, most of the schools were later abandoned or completely forgotten about. It wasn’t until I conducted further research (utilizing old newspapers, books, and the city directories) that I discovered dozens of early nineteenth and twentieth-century schools in Atlanta that I had never seen nor heard of. For the purpose of this blog, a brief synopsis of each school will be provided if known.


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George W. Adair Elementary School (July 2, 1912 – 1960’s):

Construction of the new George W. Adair Elementary School (previously mentioned here George W. Adair Elementary School Post ) was completed during the summer of 1912 and was designed by then, up-and-coming architect, Edward W. Dougherty. The school opened it’s doors in September of 1912, as was described as being one of the “handsomest in the city.” The school site was presented to the city by George and Forrest Adair. Adair Elementary school is nestled in the Historic Adair Park neighborhood. An in-town neighborhood subdivision initially designed by George W. Adair in the late 1890’s, but continued by his sons George and Forrest Adair in 1910. George W. Adair Elementary remained in operation until the 1960’s.


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Ashby Street School (1911 – 1994):

Ashby Street School originally opened in 1911 as an all-white school.  Children grew vegetables in the back of the schoolAs the West-End neighborhood changed in demographics due to the 1917 Great Fire, white student enrollment changed dramatically by 1918. Due to a declining enrollment in white students, the school board voted to close Ashby Street School and reopen as a “school for Negroes,” July of 1919. According to The Atlanta Constitution, only 9 white families owned their homes in the West End at this time as well. Due to the changing demographics, Ashby Street School was reopened as predominately African-American for the 1920 school term. The first principal of new African-American school would be H.L. Green, followed by Mrs. Harriet Randolph Bailey. In addition to traditional grammar school classes, Ashby Street School also provided schooling for the deaf community as well.

By the late 1920’s Ashby Street School would become the largest school African-American students in the Atlanta Public School System, and in the entire state of Georgia. As segregation caused African-American’s to have very few options in terms of places to live, the influx of African-American’s caused a storm of hateful actions by neighboring whites and the Ku Klux Klan. The KKK would firebomb Ashby Street School in 1922 with another mysterious fire gutting the building in 1926. Ashby Street School would be rebuilt in 1928 using the remaining walls that survived the 1926 fire.

Ashby Street School was renamed as E.R. Carter in 1944 after the cherished Atlanta Reverend, E.R. Carter who presided over Friendship Baptist Church for more than 50 years.  Toward the end of 1975, the school board wrestled with closing E.R. Carter as well as the R.L. Craddock schools. The decision was met with anger and protests by West End residents as they realized the closing of Carter and Craddock would leave local children without an elementary to attend.  The school remained open until 1994 when it finally shuttered its doors. As of 2015, the abandoned school has been converted into a multi-million dollar Families First Resource Center. It is great to see a historic building become repurposed rather than bulldozed for another run-of-the-mill office building.

Battle Hill School ( the early 1900’s? – Late 1960’s?):

Not much is known about the Battle Hill School located in the West End part of Atlanta. A 1922 Atlanta Constitution article states that the Board of Education voted to abandon Battle Hill school and provide a new annex at Lucille Avenue school that would accommodate Battle Hill attendees. The school was deemed dilapidated in 1955, and the Community Civic group begged the local community for assistance in updating the old wooden frame.


Bell St School 1911 Sanborn Map
Bell Street Public School. 1911 Sanborn Map


Bell Street School (1900 – 1940):

Bell Street Elementary opened in September of 1900 in hopes of relieving the overcrowding of Ivy Street, Calhoun Street, and Marietta Street schools. Similarly to Ashby Street School, Bell Street School initially served the white community before transitioning into a predominately African-American school. When it first began, Bell Street held classes upwards to the 7th grade.

Bell Street School would operate until 1940 before it was demolished to make way for the Grady Homes housing projects. Students who attended Bell Street School would later enroll in Younge Street School, making it one of the largest elementary school for African-American students in the 1940’s.


Boulevard School (1888 – 1922):

in 1887 children residing near Boulevard in the Fourth Ward district were without a school to call their own. Due to lack of accessibility to neighboring streets, Fourth Ward children were barred from attending neighboring Calhoun Street school. Due to the hazards of nearby streets and the need to accommodate local Boulevard children, the Board of Education voted to build a new school on the corner of North Boulevard and Irwin streets for the Fourth Ward children to attend.

In 1888, the Boulevard school officially opened its doors at the site of the “Beerman Lot.” In 1891, two new rooms would be added to accommodate the growing student body. Somehow, the Boulevard school managed to survive the Great Atlanta Fire of 1917, only to be reduced to cinders the night of February 19, 1918. It is believed that the school caught fire due to a defective flue. By the time local firemen had arrived, the wooden frame had morphed into a “seething furnace of flames,” injuring a few firemen who dared to battle the blaze. Unfortunately, the school was a total loss, and a new fire proof replacement had to be built.

Four years after a new Boulevard School was erected, the school would be bought by Morris Brown College in 1922 for $60,000. Former Boulevard pupils would be transferred to the Faith school.


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Calhoun School ( 1883 – ?):

The Calhoun Street School was in built in 1883, with a capacity of 443, at least eleven years after the first APS schools opened in the winter of 1872. Keeping with the tradition of naming schools after the streets for which they were built upon, the Calhoun Street school was located near the Currier and Calhoun Street. Calhoun Street is now known as Piedmont Avenue, not too far from the location of the State Capitol.

A 1922 Atlanta Constitution article discusses the consolidation of the old Ivy Street school (student body total: 300) with the Calhoun Street School (student body total: 382) into a facility with the capacity to hold 1,000 – 1,200 pupils. The replacement school would be named Ansley Park.


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Carrie Steele Logan Orphanage (1888 -):

Though not a traditional school in the sense of an Atlanta Public School system school, the Carrie Steele Logan Orphanage gets and honorable mention since it is listed as a “colored public school” in the Atlanta City Directory. Founded in 1888 by former slave Carrie Steele Logan, the orphanage provided educational needs to some of Atlanta’s most destitute orphans. Mrs. Steele – Logan started the orphanage after growing concerned with the incredible amount of homeless African-American students in the downtown Atlanta area. Initially, the orphans were housed in an abandoned box car; after a few years of fundraising through donations and sales from her autobiography, Mrs. Steele-Logan was able to secure enough funds to build a permanent location for her orphanage in 1892.

Located at 301 E. Fair Street (later named Memorial Drive), Mrs. Steele served as the director of the orphanage until her death in 1900. The orphanage’s location would remain in its original location until 1963 when it was moved to a much larger location of over twenty-three acres of land on Roy Street in Atlanta. In 1950, Carrie Steele Orphanage was renamed as The Carrie Steele – Pitts Home in honor of the Clara Maxwell Pitts who served as director from 1909 to 1950. Today, the Carrie Steele – Pitts Home is located on on Fairburn Rd. and still operates as a safe haven for orphaned children and runaways. Children are still offered a place to become educated, but also learn life lessons, employment skills and receive religious teachings as well. Though not an official public school, the Carrie Steele – Pitts Home serves as an important asset to the schooling of Atlanta youth.


Center Hill School WPA built 1936
Center Hill Elementary School


Center Hill Elementary School (September 1934 – 1983?):

Works Progress Administration (WPA)  constructed an elementary school for African-American students in the Fall of 1934. Not much else is known about Center Hill other than it was included in the 1982 listing of APS schools in need of shutting down.

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Commercial High School ( 1889 – 1947):

Commercial High School’s history is littered with instability. While most early APS schools moved several times before settling in a permanent location, Commerical High School may have been relocated more than Boys High School.  Before the mandated co-educational ruling in the 1940’s took place, Commerical High was actually the first co-ed high school in the city of Atlanta.  It was also the first high school to focus on business related curriculum, in hopes of preparing students for the changing job market. Commercial High was the brainchild of Mrs. Hamilton Douglass, a Girls High School instructor who saw a need for business-oriented curriculum. She noticed the commercial, business and industrial growth of Atlanta and saw a need to prepare students for the changing markets. Mrs. Douglass took her ideas to the school board, and in 1889 the board implemented business-related courses such as stenography, accounting, banking and typing courses.

The board appointed Mrs. Douglass to head the business department of Girls High School.  In 1907, after 18 successful years, the department was expanded and reorganized. As the department expanded, the need for a larger space was critical. In 1910, the departments’ 147 students and 5 teachers moved to a rented space in the St. Philips Cathedral on Washington Avenue and changed its name to English-Commercial High. The high school was featured in the Atlanta Constitution in 1913 detailing the cramped conditions of the students and the need for more funding to pay for the proposed new school lot on Washington and Woodward Avenue. The new school would cost $75,000, yet only $10,000 was deposited toward the new building. Meanwhile, while funds were being secured, English Commerical High students moved into the old rickety wooden structure of the former Crew Street Elementary. At this time, the Crew St. school building would easily be over 40 years old and in ill repair.

By 1915, English Commercial High had grown significantly with the consolidation of the business department of Boys High School. The student body total was now over 220 students. Finally, after much delay, the new English Commercial High moved to a rented building at  232 S. Pryor Street (later named Pryor Street) and would go on to acquire abandoned homes on the same strip of Pryor Street to build more classrooms and an auditorium. However, despite the added space English Commercial High would face more overcrowding issues in 1923. By 1947, the school was shut down due to overcrowding and the newly implemented co-educational school system for high schools. High schools would no longer be separated by gender, therefore English Commercial High was now obsolete. What’s more, schools began to incorporate the same business based curriculum along with the traditional curriculum,. Lastly, many parents found the downtown area to far to commute and far too dangerous for students to attend. English Commercial High was ultimately demolished in 1982; the only thing Commercial High alumni were left with were distant memories.

Cooper Street School (1922 – 1973):

Servicing the diverse working-class Mechanicsville neighborhood, Cooper Street School was built to accommodate the overcrowding of the Formwalt school.

Craddock School Artist Rendition

Craddock School (1889 –  August 12, 1982):

The Craddock school was a primarily African-American school dating back to the 1880’s. However, Craddock Elementary was known by another name prior to being renamed in 1954 after Robert Lee Craddock in 1954, after a popular African-American religious and civic leader who resided in the Gray Street community. Upon its opening in 1889, Craddock was originally named Gray Street School, the first all-brick school structure built specifically for African-American’s. Some residents also referred to the school as the Fifth Ward school, which was a popular phenomenon at the time due to the school board naming schools for the wards they resided in. At the time of its opening in 1889, then Superintendant Slaton described Gray Street School as one of the finest schools in Atlanta.

Craddock remained operational until the mid-1970’s when then Superintendent, Alonzo A. Crim discussed closing the Craddock school in 1975 (along with E.R. Carter and  F.L. Slaton schools). The decision was met with anger and protests from local parents, who cited the decision as racially motivated.  The protests worked, as Craddock remained open until February of 1982. By March of 1982, the Board of Education officially shuttered Craddock’s historical doors. Unfortunately, the old Craddock school would burn to the ground one hot summer in August of 1982.


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Crogman School (1923 – 1979):

Located at 1093 West Avenue in the ‘Pittsburgh’ area of Atlanta, GA, the Crogman school began within the Gate City Church until an explosion of enrollment forced the school to find larger accommodations. Local citizens managed to collect over three hundred dollars toward the purchase of land for the building of larger quarters. The new, two-room school would be eventually be built at the corners of Ira and Mary Street. But, it too became too crowded and a newer, larger facility would be purchased off the corner of Windsor and Arthur streets. But, the Crogman school would ultimately move a third and final time after Clark Atlanta University donated land for the construction of a larger school, this time located at the corner of Fletcher and West View Avenue. This would mark the name change for the school from the “Pittsburgh” school to the William H. Crogman, after the first African-American president of Clark Atlanta University, who also happened to live in the Peoplestown area, adjacent to the Pittsburgh area.

In addition to being the first African-American president, of Clark Atlanta University, Dr. Crogman was the first African-American teacher to teach at the Freedman’s Aid Society in South Carolina. He would then travel to Atlanta to earn a degree at Atlanta University. He would later become the first Professor at Atlanta University when it first opened on Whitehall Street. Dr. Crogman passed away in 1931 and would be remembered as a well-respected Professor with an illustrious career.

After years of overcrowding, the Crogman school would ultimately expand in 1950. Tucker & Howell Architects would add an additional 13 classrooms plus a state-of-the-art cafeteria/auditorium to a tune of $209, 968. Unfortunately, due to the drastic decline of enrollment, not to mention deterioration of the original facility, Crogman School was closed in 1979. The Butler Street Y.M.C.A. would go on to lease the Crogman school in 1979 as youth programs facility. After years of being occupied by the Y.M.C.A., the school would ultimately be transformed into loft living spaces which is how the former school is being used today. Luckily, the Crogman school was saved from demolition, a rarity in Atlanta lately.

Davis_Street_School Faculty Members 1903 (AHC)
Davis Street Faculty. In the foreground, a glimpse of the original wooden frame of the Davis Street School. Photo circa 1903.

Davis Street School ( 1887 – 2016):

Built in 1887 on donated land from the city of Atlanta, the Davis school opened with just 6 small rooms. Originally located on the corner of Thurmond and Spencer, the Davis Street School would often appear in the papers as a school with deplorable conditions. The hallways of the school would flood whenever it rained, due to the drafty building, over 90 students were reported ill during a particularly brutal winter in the early 1900’s. The building’s conditions were so rough, that the principal had to wear a rain coat and use and umbrella in her office during rain storms.

Due to the constant rezoning of school districts and the rapidly growing population of Atlanta, the Davis Street School would constantly face issues of overcrowding as would the majority of the first crop of  19th – century Atlanta Public Schools. The school would go on to add additional rooms throughout the early half of the 20th-century, but it would do little to remedy the overcrowding issues. One interesting factoid about the Davis Street School is it being utilized as some sort of guineas pig for the introduction of physical education in public schools. After besting every APS elementary school (white schools) in May Day activities, the Davis Street School was the first of its kind to receive playground material. Swings, balance beams, see-saws, etc., were installed in 1901.

By 1928, talks of converting the school into an African-American elementary school began circulating.  In April of 1928, the Atlanta Board of Education began to discuss and set forth a proposal to abandon attempts to keep Davis Street School as an all-white school due in part to the large settlement of African-American families nearby. By the late 1940’s, Davis Street School (and various previously all-white schools) was in near shambles. The front yard of the school was covered in weeds and trash decorated the front lawn.

Davis Street School Covered in Weeds 1948
Atlanta Daily World newspaper article detailing the poor conditions of Atlanta’s black public schools. Davis Street School’s condition is described above. Circa 1948.


Davis Street School would experience a remarkable renovation over the course of several years; beginning with its name. One year after the death of distinguished philanthropist Mary McLeod Bethune in 1955, Davis Street School was officially renamed as Mary McLeod Bethune School (or Bethune School) in May of 1956. Over the course of 3 decades, the school would have experience expansion projects to accommodate the growing student body. In the year 2000, Bethune Elementary underwent a $10 million dollar renovation project with state-of-the-art computers, software, lighting, etc. Unfortunately, the school is currently slated to shutter it’s doors now that attendance is down. More than likely, it is due to the gentrification of neighboring communities.

Decatur Street School ( February 27, 1872 – ?):

Locating information for the Decatur Street School was absolutely painstaking, and yet after days of research, I could only find the school listed in the  1874 Atlanta City Directory. Subsequent volumes of the Atlanta City Directory do not mention Decatur Street School at all, even as early as the 1880’s. In 1874, Decatur Street School enrolled 226 students, a much smaller student body than the other seven Atlanta Public Schools in 1874.

Further research revealed that in September of 1874, Decatur Street School was reopened as a primary school, with the previous student body being transferred to Ivy and Calhoun Street schools. After this small blurb in the Atlanta Constitution, not much else is mentioned. This is a school I’ll have to revisit.

































  1. “GEORGE ADAIR SCHOOL READY IN 30 DAYS.”. 1912 The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Jun 02.
  2. Little, Jessie. “Battle Hill School.” The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Apr 15, 1900. 1,
  3. “HERE IS COMPLETE SCHOOL BUILDING PROGRAM FOR CITY.”. 1922 The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Mar 16.
  4. “NORMAL SCHOOL OPENS MONDAY.”. 1905 The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Aug 20.
  5. William Douglas, Staff Writer. “Memories of Commercial High Grow Dearer and Fonder.” The Atlanta Constitution (1946-1984), Jan 29, 1984.
  6. “OLD CREW ST. SCHOOL WILL BE USED AGAIN.” The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Jul 31, 1913.
  7. To Start Clearing Slums for Grady Homes Project.” Atlanta Daily World (1932-2003), Jan 14, 1940. 1,
  8. “FIRST PICTURE ENGLISH COMMERCIAL SCHOOL.” The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Apr 28, 1912.
  9. “CORNERSTONE OF NEW ASHBY STREET SCHOOL LAID WITH THE MASONIC CREEMONIES.”. 1911 The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Apr 02.
  10. “SCHOOLS WILL USE OLD HISTORY BOOK.”. 1919 The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Jun 27.
  11.  “Ashby St. School Re-Named For Late Rev. Carter.”. 1944 Atlanta Daily World (1932-2003), Aug 11.
  12.  Mason, Herman Jr. Black Atlanta in the roaring twenties. Place of publication not identified: Diane Pub Co, 1997.
  14.  “FIRE CUTS SCHOOL ON ASHBY STREET.”. 1926 The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Dec 23.
  15.   “FINANCE COMMITTEE-HEARS RITCHIE PLAN.”. 1927 The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Feb 15.
  16.  “E. L. Connally Elementary School is Dedicated here.” Atlanta Daily World (1932-2003), May 07, 1976. 3,
  17.  Acheson. “FORMWALT STREET SCHOOL IS GROWING VERY RAPIDLY.” The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Mar 02, 1897.
  18. Sam Hopkins Constitution, Staff Writer. “Book Closes on Old School.” The Atlanta Constitution (1946-1984), Aug 13, 1980.
  19. “Formwalt Preservation Sought by Cook, McNeal.” The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Nov 28, 1943.
  20.   “Davis Street School Abandonment Urged as White Institution.” The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Apr 11, 1928. 8,
  21. Weaver, C. L. “Hazards and Neglect Handicap to Schools.” Atlanta Daily World (1932-2003), Sep 26, 1948. 1,
  22. BOULEVARD SCHOOL PURCHASE IS VOTED.”. 1922 The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), May 31.
  23. “MORRIS BROWN BUYS BOULEVARD SCHOOL.”. 1922 The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Jul 01.
  25. Hancock, Herman. “Your City Hall.” The Atlanta Constitution (1946-1984), Mar 21, 1948.
  26. PETER SCOTT Journal, Staff Writer. “Old School Buildings Still House Education.” The Atlanta Constitution (1946-1984), Jun 24, 1979.
  27. “Crogman School …Closing Marks 69 Years of Service.” Atlanta Daily World (1932-2003), Sep 13, 1979.

Eternally Forgotten Atlanta Public Schools – Pt 1. Elementary Schools

Scenes at the Walker Street School 1915 article

In the 148 years of the Atlanta Public School system (established in 1869 by the Atlanta City Council), plenty of schools has come and gone. Many have been all but wiped from history books of Atlanta’s early years. With the population growth booming in the city of Atlanta, more and more communities realized that new schools must be erected in to accommodate the city’s ever-growing populace. As the city grew, so did the list of grammar and high schools; however, Atlanta Public Schools would also experience the shuttering of doors in the 21st century due to a decline in enrollment of Atlanta Public Schools. Most of the decline can be attributed to white flight, and the economic downfall stemming from white flight. For the purpose of this blog post, I have conducted extensive research on forgotten APS schools, however, since the list is rather sizable, I’ve only provided detailed information on the first 6 schools erected. For a complete list of  forgotten Atlanta Public Schools, please click here: Historical List of APS Schools

Prior to the establishment of public schools, Atlanta (then Marthasville) erected one private school in 1845, a private school located near the Dunnings foundry and the Georiga railroad. Mant Atlantan’s at the time did not hold public schools in high esteem. Feeling that they were too common and lacked the proper educational facilities, private schools were deemed better. That mindset would change and reappear over the years, as Atlantan’s came to love and hate the Atlanta Public School System. The first free school for Atlanta’s white children was called the Holland Free school, opened in 1853. The Holland school was located in the downtown area of Atlanta, between Garnett and Forsyth streets. Built strictly for poor students, parents had to sign an affidavit proving their need for free schooling and lack of resources to pay tuition. As the community grew more favorable of public schools, the Atlanta City Council, spearheaded by Dr. D.C. O”Keefe, voted to create the Atlanta Public School system.

The city of Atlanta scheduled the opening day of the Atlanta Public School System for Tuesday, January 30, 1872, with inaugural opening beginning with the first erected school, Ivy Street School. The Atlanta Public School system, in accordance with the Atlanta City Council,  would go to establish three grammar schools and two high schools in 1872. These schools were free and open to only the city’s white residents. The Freedman’s Bureau opened two schools for African-American student’s in 1866. Thereby bringing the total of educational facilities in Atlanta, to seven.  For the purpose of this research project, I will post a series of blog posts about the first APS schools, beginning with Elementary schools.

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Crew Street Grammar School – (Feb. 14, 1872 – Oct. 1957):

Crew Street grammar school opened in 1872, which also happened to be the end of Reconstruction in Georgia. The original structure was located at 97 Crew Street between Washington Street and Capital Avenue, it was the first of the three schools to be built.  Upon opening its doors, Crew Street elementary had 429 students enrolled on the first day. Out of the area’s 2000 students, having 429 students enrolled made Crew Street overcrowded from day one.  The first Crew Street school was built of wood, for around $2,500, which would amount to about $48,118.92 in 2017 costs.  Little did the students of Crew Street School know, the school itself would ultimately occupy several different buildings. In February of  1885, the original Crew Street school building burned to the ground. Unfortunately, the building could not be salvaged, however, thanks to the building being insured the old wooden structure was replaced by another wooden structure worth about  $131, 391 in today’s dollars.

In 1907, a series of articles published by The Atlanta Constitution and the Atlanta Georgian featured horror stories about the unsanitary and unsafe conditions of Atlanta’s first public schools. By 1910, more professionals stepped up to denounce the unsanitary conditions of the local schools; plumbers condemned almost every school erected. Though all of the schools for African-American students were condemned as unsanitary, poorly ventilated and lacking modern plumbing.  After much uproar,  the Board of Education agreed to allocate funding for a newer, more sanitary and state of the art building for the first Atlanta school buildings. Additionally, the board agreed to build more schools to resolve the overcrowding issues in the city.

Crew Street School- Original Architecture
Original 1872 wooden structure of Crew Street grammar school. As featured in 1907 The Atlanta Georgian news article.

By 1911, newly constructed Crew Street school was scheduled to reopen. The new school structure would be erected in the same area as the old Crew Street structure. According to a 1912 Atlanta Constitution article,  the original Crew Street School structure was the oldest in the city. The original school bell would be repurposed in the new structure as the student preferred the old school bell to the new “rapid fire” school gong. The old Crew Street building would serve as a temporary home to the new Commerical High School, until it’s new facilities were completed.

By 1957, the old Crew Street school would be demolished to make way for the new highway system. At this time, the 85-year-old school was still operating functionally but would be one of the nearly 500 buildings to be demolished in favor of the new I-20 expressway. Would Crew Street school be in operation today if it weren’t for the highway construction? It’s hard to tell, but it would have been nice to retain its original structure.

Below, you will see a current view of Crew Street. Capital Avenue is no longer in existence, it was renamed as Hank Aaron Drive (black arrow). Washington Street is to the far right (red arrow), while Crew Street is located right in between both streets.  The highway is located further to the left, off the site of the picture below.

Current View of Crew St.

Ivy Street School – (Jan. 31, 1872 – 1961?):

The second school to be erected in 1872 was the Ivy Street school which opened January 31, 1872, one month before the Crew Street School which opened February 14, 1872. Upon the officially opening of its door, Ivy Street grammar school boasted a robust 479 pupils. Located at 195 Ivy Street (in 1923), the Ivy Street grammar school inaugural exercises were held Janaruay 30, 1872. The picture below was taken from an 1886 Sanborn Fire Map. In 1886 the address for the Ivy Street school was possibly 173 Ivy Street; note the large gardens in the back of the school.

Ivy Street School - 1886 Sanborn Map

In 1905, the city of Atlanta began to reassign students to new school zones in hopes 0f evening out attendance and reduce the overcrowding issues. The new school district is described below:

Ivy Street School - Redistricting 1905
1905 Atlanta Constitution article.

Information regarding the future location of the Ivy Street school seemed to be nonexistent. Though it appears that Ivy Street grammar school changed its name and grade level toward the beginning of the twenty-first century, now listed as Marist College from 1901 – 1961. Due to the rapid expansion of the city of Atlanta, Marist was forced to relocate to the Ashford-Dunwoody area in 1961. Here it would be renamed as Marist School, functioning as a Catholic based military school for boys until 1976. Due to low enrollment in military courses, Marist School switched its curriculum and became what we know of today; a co-ed, Catholic, private college preparatory school.

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Walker Street School (Feb. 21, 1872 –  Jan. 1983):

Note: Walker Street is now Centennial Olympic Drive (from North Avenue south to around Mitchell Street)

Walker Street School was the third of the first wooden grammar schools to be included in the newly formed Atlanta Public School system. Walker street opened its doors one week following the opening of Crew Street School. Built to accommodate 400 students (similarly to Crew and Ivy Street schools), Walker Street was also deemed overcrowded upon opening its doors. Walker Street school comprised of students in the Fourth and Sixth wards of the city and was originally located at the intersection of Walker, Haynes and Nelson streets. Its first principal was Professor W.R.  Rockwell, and until 1896 Walker Street School was the largest public school in Atlanta (it would later lose its crown to Fraser Street school in 1896). At the time, the Walker School cost the city of Atlanta a little over $10,000 to build; which would total $192,476 in today’s figures. Quite possibly a steep price tag for a city still recovering from the effect of the Civil War.

Walker_Street_School 1885
Atlanta History Center Digitial Collection. 1882 2nd Grade Class Picture at Walker Street School

Walker Street School would go on to have a very interesting history. In a 1909 article written in the Atlanta Constitution, some 37 years after it’s grand opening, the Walker Street School was listed as one of Atlanta’s oldest schools. The article goes on to mention that the fate of the old wooden structure was unclear due to a new political and financial changes to the city of Atlanta. In 1895 new additions were added to the original wooden structure to accommodate the rising enrollment of nearby students. Contracts decided not to destroy the original building as it would ruin its historical integrity.  Local citizens rallied in support of repairing the school, while some argued that it should be moved a bigger lot. In 1911, it appears the local citizens finally got their wish as the grand announcement of the new Walker Street School was announce in March of 1911, during a grand Masonic celebration. Many former students were attendance and displeased to learn that the original Walker Street School would be destroyed. Flash forward to 1916, the Walker Street School remained as a grammar school, receiving high marks from visiting superintendents.

Scenes at the Walker Street School 1915 articleWalker Street School Picture 1909 article

However, by 1923 the school’s student body had drastically changed. In a 1923 Atlanta Constitution article, Walker Street School was not listed among the 29 Kindergarten schools operating in the city.  Perhaps it had been abandoned at this point, which is plausible considering a 1924 article mentions that Walker Street School would be converted into a school administrative building.  After Atlanta Public Schools became integrated, and more schools were needed to accommodate the growing number of African-American students enrolled in APS schools, the Walker Street School was converted into an elementary school for African-American students. At the ripe old age of 61 years of age, one can only imagine how poorly maintained the school had become.

Walker Street School’s glory days were long over by the 1960’s, as many of Atlanta Public Schools were described as falling apart, depressing, and in ill-repair. By 1972, the school board voted 5-3 to close Walker Street School, as well as two others (West Haven and Haygood).  After shutting its doors as an elementary school, the Walker Street School would operate as the Downtown Learning Center, an alternative school for high school students (165 Walker Street) from 1973 – 1980. Many alumni of Walker Street School hoped for a restoration and repurposing of the old building perhaps as art studios, apartments or lofts. Unfortunately, restoration of Walker Street School would never come to fruition, as a large fire gutted the building in 1983. Prior to the fire, the school had been abandoned by the school system. After the fire, many deemed it unworthy of saving, and the old building was demolished. An unfortunate ending to a school rich with Atlanta history.



  2. Atlanta Public School History.” The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Jan 29, 1922.
  3. Frank, Daniel. “Pioneer Crew St. School to Yield to Expressway.” The Atlanta Journal and the Atlanta Constitution (1950-1968), Sep 01, 1957, Sunday ed.
  4. Mallon, B. “ATLANTA’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS.” The Atlanta Constitution (1869-1875), Oct 14, 1873.
  5. “CITY SCHOOL DISTRICTS CHANGED BY THE BOARD.” The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Jun 23, 1905.
  6. “CREW STREET SCHOOL OPONED CENTRY AGO.” Atlanta Daily World (1932-2003), Feb 13, 1972.
  7. “LARGE CROWD ATTENDS THE EXERCISES AT WALKER ST. SCHOOL CORNER LAYING.” The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Mar 26, 1911, (accessed May 8, 2017).
  8. “WILL BUILD AN ADDITION.” The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Feb 03, 1896.
  9. “SITE SELECTED FOR NEWSCHOOL.” The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Nov 29, 1904.
  10. Coleman, George M. “Closing of Cooper and Walker Street Schools Evoke Memory.” Atlanta Daily World (1932-2003), Jul 20, 1972.
  11. “Picture of Original Century-Old Walker Street School Sought.” The Atlanta Constitution (1946-1984), Feb 22, 1972.
  12. “WILL RECOMMEND SCHOOL CHANGES.” The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Sep 07, 1924.
  13. Potter, Pat. “Old Schools: A ‘Rathole’ for Money?” The Atlanta Journal and the Atlanta Constitution (1950-1968), Jul 08, 1962, Sunday ed.

George W. Adair Elementary School – Circa. 1912

Adair Park Elementary

Name: George W. Adair Elementary School

Location: 141 Catherine Street, Atlanta, GA

George W. Adair Elementary School, located in the historic Adair Pair neighborhood, sits abandoned yet still maintains it’s architectural glory. Upon further inspection, onlookers are treated beautiful architectural design by one of Atlanta’s leading architects of the time, Edward Dougherty. In addition to Adair Elementary, Mr. Dougherty went on to design other notable structures in Atlanta such as Druid Hills Baptist Church on Ponce de Leon, Druid Hills Golf Club, Imperial Hotel in 1911 and the Highland School which has now been converted to luxury lofts. November 18, 1911, the Mackle – Crawford Construction Company was awarded the contract to build the new George W. Adair School in the “tenth ward” for a $34,000; this total would equal at least $843,191.55 in today’s inflation rate. The George W. Adair School officially opened its doors on September 9, 1912.

Adair School Contract_Nov. 18, 1911

George W. Adair school was named for slave dealer turned real estate tycoon Col. George W. Adair. As of 2017, there has been a lot of controversies surrounding the rehabilitation of the Adair School since it now located in a prominently African-American neighborhood. Adair’s ties with the Ku Klux Klan has made some argue that the school should not reopen with the same name, as its namesake wasn’t exactly a part of a business that was deemed friendly to African American’s.

George W. Adair Elementary and the neighborhood that holds the same name wasn’t always a welcoming or friendly place for African-American’s to live and attend school. Compared to other established Atlanta suburbs, Adair Park was mediocre at best. The neighborhood housed thin land lots and modest homes. Residents were typically working class with a sprinkling of middle-class residents. According to the book “White Flight” by Kevin M. Kruse residents complained of the loud, crass behaviors of their neighbors, adding that they can’t enjoy a fresh breeze on their front lawn without the “fighting across the street….and the police running over there two or three times a week” (pg 94).

The school itself has an interesting past. Students gardened, held athletic events (field day), and even hosted a Chinese missionary in 1918. In 1914, two basketball courts were built for boys and girls who attended Adair elementary school. Students helped plant trees and were regularly featured in The Atlanta Constitution for perfect attendance and excellent grades.

March of 1937, Adair Elementary’s celebrated its 25th anniversary by adding an annex to its existing building; the school’s student body remained mostly white as well.  Due to an increase in the residents of the area, the elementary school enjoyed an expansion to accommodate the student body growth, costing a total of $40,000, roughly $689,805.71 in today’s dollars.

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With the desegregation of public schools across the country picking up steam, African-American residents began to slowly move into Adair Park around the mid-1950’s. This drastically changed the demographics of George W. Adair elementary school as white residents refused to participate in school desegregation as well as refusal to sell their homes to potential homeowners of color. By the late 1950’s, racial tensions had reached a boiling point. White residents proudly protested the newly found diversity of Adair Pair, proclaiming that they’d wish for Adair Park to remain for whites only. Some residents even threatened to burn the houses of black residents to the ground ( White Flight, pg 96).  By the 1960’s Adair Park elementary and the surrounding neighborhood had transitioned to a mostly all-African American community. Noticeably absent in the local newspapers is the constant write ups of the Adair Elementary school. One can’t help but wonder if the changing hue of the student body affected the interest of local journalists.



  3. “Adair School Contract Is Let By the Board.” The Atlanta Georgian and News (Atlanta), November 18, 1911, 4th ed. Accessed April 10, 2017.
  4. Reeves, Alexis Scott. 1976. “When White Fear Turned to Flight.” The Atlanta Constitution (1946-1984), Jun 06, 1.

When White Fear Turned to Flight_6-6-1976