Adair Park Adair Park is a neighborhood of many folk Victorian and Craftsman bungalows, bordered on the west by railroads that developed gradually from the 1880s through the 1920s. The neighborhood began as a trolley car community with trolleys that ran along Metropolitan Avenue (called Stewart Avenue at that time) carrying the neighborhood’s mostly blue collar workers to their jobs in the city.
Adair Park was called Shady Side Grove and Bonnie Brae in its early years, but the neighborhood was formally named Adair Park in the 1920s when Adair Realty Company purchased and developed a large tract of land on the neighborhood’s south side. The northern section of the neighborhood housed a variety of industries and warehouses. These included a Merita Bakery, an ice house, and the Candler-Smith warehouse (originally called the Candler warehouse). Part of this structure was used as a military arms warehouse during World War II and later served as a warehouse for Rich’s Department Store for many years.
Many residents worked in heavy and light industry while others worked in skilled and moderately skilled occupations. The neighborhood’s only school, George W. Adair Elementary, was established in 1912, the year after the neighborhood was brought into the city limits. A park was established across the street from the school several years later.
The Adair Park neighborhood has witnessed many changes over the years. As Atlanta grew from a railroad town to an industrial city, to a thriving metropolis and transitioned from a southern city firmly rooted in Jim Crow segregation to a city led by African Americans, Adair Park also evolved. Once almost entirely inhabited by whites, the neighborhood is now a mix of whites, African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans. While for most of its history the neighborhood has been predominantly owner-occupied, the majority of today’s residents rent their homes. Speculators have also purchased and converted homes into duplexes and illegal rooming houses and have frequently let the properties fall into disrepair.
Neighborhood organizations like Adair Park Today and Adair Park Community Empowerment Association (APCEA) are working to make the community a better place to live, work, shop, and play for all residents. Adair Park Today was formed in 1976 and APCEA was formed in 1998 to create a better community. Soon after Adair Park Today’s creation, members organized to remove an auto salvage and junkyard from the neighborhood by requesting that the city not renew its contract. That area, at the corner of Murphy and Lillian streets, is now one of the neighborhood’s four parks.
APCEA is in the process of forming a charter school in the neighborhood. Members established the charter in 2000 and are currently in negotiation with Atlanta Public Schools to obtain an abandoned school building. When this school is opened in the next few years, it will be the only school inside the neighborhood.
Adair Park has more park space than any other NPU-V neighborhood. With the exception of some industrial and mixed-use land at its northern tip, Adair Park is primarily a residential neighborhood that lacks many of the commercial and governmental institutions found in the other neighborhoods. The neighborhood is also the smallest of the NPU-V neighborhoods in terms of both population and land size.
In 1994, the neighborhood was recognized by formal application process as an Atlanta Historic District and, in 2000, the National Trust for Historic Preservation added Adair Park to the National Register of Historic Places. In 2004, at the request of residents, the neighborhood was rezoned to allow only single-family housing to prevent investors from dividing larger homes into duplexes, which would increase the number of renter-occupied residences. The neighborhood is now considered a “reviving” community and many young adults are purchasing homes.