Historic district dates to early 20th century
One mark of Atlanta’s growth following the devastation she suffered during the Civil War was the number of trains coming into the city on a daily basis–100 a day, according to American Heritage. They were noisy and dirty and something of a nightmare for vehicular and pedestrian traffic. To solve the problem, Atlanta built a series of viaducts over the railroad gulch. Decades later, this six block area above and below ground level became the popular shopping, dining and entertainment district known as Underground Atlanta. On Lower Alabama Street, visitors could browse among buildings that date to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. On their way to lunch or to a favorite shop, they could walk past a gas streetlight damaged by a cannonball in 1864. History buffs will recall that 1864 was the year the Battle of Atlanta was fought.
Looking forward (and backward)
- Right now, Underground Atlanta is being redeveloped. There is one music club in the area and an ice cream shop. The ice cream shop cautions that its hours vary and change due to COVID. The music club, also because of COVID, keeps a list of changes in scheduled shows and promises that all tickets sold will be honored.
- The current redevelopment of the historic district will be the third. The first occurred in the 1960s, the second in the 1980s. Both brought retailers, restaurants, clubs and lots of people to Underground, as Atlantans call it.
- The popular music club Masquerade relocated to Underground Atlanta in 2016 after 27 years in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward. In addition to bringing a steady flow of hot musical groups to town, the club is known for its three indoor venues, Heaven, Hell and Purgatory, with capacities that range from 300 to 1,000. Masquerade’s history of concerts includes Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead and Foo Fighters.
- IScream Ice Cream is the home of create-your-own single serve ice cream rolls. Located on the street level of Underground Atlanta, IScream is one of Atlanta’s popular Black-owned businesses. Customers can get a cup of fresh-brewed coffee to go with their ice cream roll and a fresh-baked cookie, too.
- For more than two decades, Underground Atlanta was the site of the largest New Year’s Eve celebration in the Southeast. Revelers gathered to watch the 800-pound peach drop while enjoying top entertainment and seeing fireworks light up the Atlanta skyline.
Where is Underground Atlanta located?
50 Upper Alabama St. SW
Atlanta, Ga. 30303
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