This week we’re talking about two pieces of Atlanta history - one, a neighborhood wiped out by urban renewal and the other, the showpiece Atlanta Civic Center that was built in its place.
By the turn of the 20th century, the name “Buttermilk Bottom” was used to describe the area bordered by Piedmont Avenue on the West, North Avenue on the North, Boulevard along the East and Forrest (today Ralph McGill) on the South. This African American community dealt with constant flooding issues, as well as racial terror.
The City of Atlanta established an Urban Renewal Department in 1957 and by 1959, created the Housing and Slum Clearance Code. This new department identified five urban renewal areas, one being the 160 acre Buttermilk Bottoms tract, with 1,543 houses targeted for demolition.
By December of 1963, the City of Atlanta formed the Citizens Auditorium Advisory Committee, who’s stated purpose was to advise on architect, engineer and design and recommend a “proper” site of the new municipal auditorium. They chose the 70-acre tract on the fringe of the Buttermilk Bottom site and Robert & Co as architects.