Visual Tour of Midtown Atlanta

 From the ending of my first novel, Unfinished Business: Retribution and Reconciliation through the next three installments, Midtown Atlanta provides much of the setting. The traditional boundaries for this classic neighborhood run along the famous Ponce de Leon Avenue from Spring Street to what is now the Beltline, from there northwest to Tenth Street and back to Spring.

Shortly after our marriage, my wife and I bought a house there, on the corner of Monroe Drive and St. Charles Avenue. In 1979 renovation there had only recently begun, and you could buy a fixer upper for as little as $40,000.

Over the years, the neighborhood has become more popular (and crowded). Today that same house could cost you ten times as much. Yet Midtown has maintained its charm, with narrow, tree-lined streets, stately homes and shopping and entertainment venues within comfortable walking distance.

I thought I’d share a couple of pictures I took recently in the vicinity of Argonne Avenue and Seventh Street.

Here, you can see one of many two-story craftsman homes in the area. I chose this style, with its low-pitched gables, overhanging eaves and tapered columns as thehome of Tom and Colleen Williams.High ceilings and an abundance of shade help keep the interiors cool in the summer and hold down air conditioning costs.

Heating them in the winter can be expensive, but most homeowners have replaced the windows and doors with thermal pane glass and insulated the attics to keep out the cold. Living room and dining room fireplaces, a common feature in these houses provide heat as well.

Eventually, gas replaced coal, first with unvented space heaters and finally with forced air furnaces.

The lots tend to be too narrow to permit individual driveways, and street parking restrictions long ago necessitated the addition of alleys, which serve as shareddriveways. In the days when gravity furnaces served as the primary source of heat, trucks would deliver coal to homes along the alleys.

When we moved into the neighborhood in 1979, most of the alleys were overgrown. In areas where lower income homeowners relied  on the alleys for access to their parking, there were newcomers who attempted to close off the alleys to encourage faster gentrification. Today, many of the alleys have been restored to a functional state, as you can see from this picture.