Inman Park is Atlanta’s first planned residential suburb and also Atlanta’s first electric trolley neighborhood. Created at the cusp of the twentieth century, this ideal Victorian neighborhood — curved streets, generous residential lots and verdant parks — was built upon the wrecked land of Atlanta’s Civil War battlefield, two miles east of Downtown Atlanta.
Inman Park was the brainchild of a renaissance thinker named Joel Hurt (1850-1926), who modeled the neighborhood after other trolley neighborhoods he had seen throughout the United States. In particular, Hurt, who now has Hurt Street named after him, had been impressed with the park-like neighborhoods created by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, and along with landscape architect James Forsyth Johnson, plotted Inman Park in the late 1880s.
The neighborhood was an immediate success. Atlanta’s nineteenth-century elite flocked to Inman Park to construct grand homes that were designed by the city’s best architects. Residents could travel via electric trolley to Downtown Atlanta for work, and then return home for relaxation – after paying the hefty trolley toll of five cents each way. Turn-of-the-nineteenth century business moguls such as Asa Griggs Candler, founder of the Coca-Cola Company, called Inman Park home during this successful period of growth.
A Time of Restoration and Preservation
In 1969, the houses of Inman Park began to be caught up in the restoration and preservation movement that had started in San Francisco and moved throughout the country; the beauty of Victorian houses was being rediscovered, and people were learning to revere the architecture. In 1970, the first Inman Park Neighborhood Association (IPNA) was formed. In 1973, the entire neighborhood was added to the National Register of Historic Places as Atlantans continued to breathe new life into Inman Park.
Inman Park Today
Inman Park is the neighborhood of Joel Hurt’s dreams: beautiful homes filled with professionals who appreciate the charm of urban living in a bucolic setting. Almost all of the houses – both the mansions and the smaller dwellings – have been restored to their former glory, and the parks scattered throughout the neighborhood are well-maintained green spaces that pay homage to Hurt’s original designs. A strong neighborhood association – IPNA – continues to fight for the betterment of the neighborhood, mostly financed by a three-day annual festival that brings thousands to Inman Park for food, music and a tour of the historic homes. The original Inman Park neighborhood, along with a few adjacent Victorian developments, are now part of the Inman Park Historic District, and the historic appearance of the district is regulated by the City of Atlanta. Find out about our butterfly symbol.