11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Sweet Auburn Historic District

Year Listed: 1992, 2012
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Threat: Inappropriate Development

Partners: Historic District Development Corporation, Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, Atlanta Preservation Center

Significance

Sweet Auburn Historic District
Photo by Stan Kaady

The historic district dominated by Auburn Avenue, once known as “the richest Negro street in the world,” spiraled into decline in the 1980s. In 1992, the National Trust added Sweet Auburn to its list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Although the residential portion of the Sweet Auburn Historic District has enjoyed a distinct turnaround – thanks largely to the efforts of the Historic District Development Corporation – the commercial area concentrated on Auburn Avenue has not fared as well. Without a preservation-focused revitalization plan, deterioration and inappropriate development may gravely impact its historic character.

Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976, Sweet Auburn is a prime example of the flourishing segregated neighborhoods founded by African Americans during the Jim Crow era in the South. The neighborhood was home to countless businesses, congregations, and social organizations, and was the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. The house in which he was born still stands at 501 Auburn Avenue.

Opportunity

Preserve and revitalize one of the most significant historically African American commercial areas in the South.

Campaign Goals

      • Craft and implement a plan to revitalize the commercial area around Auburn Avenue.