Ever spotted a sign marking a road or bridge as a memorial to someone and wondered who that someone might be? Odds are good he or she might have been a member of the Georgia Legislature. When the state’s lawmakers are looking to name a piece of the state highway system, they often honor one of their own.

But other accomplished people have had their names added to the state road map. In Reporter Newspapers communities, one road is named for a successful developer, another for a music mogul, and a third for a World War II flier who named his B-29 for the mascot of his alma mater, Oglethorpe University.

Here are the namesakes of 15 local bridges, intersections and roads the Georgia Department of Transportation lists as officially named by the state.

name map

1. Archie L. Lindsey Memorial Bridge

Archie Lindsey held a seat on the Fulton County Commission from 1953 until 1966, and was chairman or vice-chairman of the board for eight of those years. Prior to that, he served on the Atlanta City Council for seven years.

2. Luther S. Colbert Memorial Bridge

Rep. Luther Colbert of Roswell advocated for north Fulton County in the state Legislature for a decade, until his death in a car accident in 1989. Colbert held a seat on Roswell City Council and served as the city’s Police Commissioner prior to his election to the House.

3. Dorothy Felton Interchange

Rep. Dorothy Felton represented Sandy Springs in the Georgia House of Representatives for 25 years. She chaired the Republican caucus in the house and worked to help create the city of Sandy Springs.

4. Jim Tysinger Interchange

Sen. Jim Tysinger represented north DeKalb County in the Georgia Senate for 30 years. A life-long Republican who helped build the party in Georgia, Tysinger also served as a member of the final City Council of the city of North Atlanta, which operated in part of the area now in the city of Brookhaven, until North Atlanta folded in 1962. Tysinger died in February at age 91.

5. J. Max Davis Interchange

State Rep. J. Max Davis served 22 years in the Georgia House of Representatives. He died of a heart attack in 2002. As a lawmaker, he was proud “that first and foremost he never voted for a tax increase,” his son, J. Max Davis Jr., said at the time of his death. The younger Davis was elected to be the first mayor of Brookhaven.

6. T. Harvey Mathis Parkway

Developer T. Harvey Mathis, co-founder of Taylor & Mathis, helped remake north metro Atlanta. His firm developed Perimeter Center, Buckhead Plaza, Executive Park and other local landmarks. Three days before his death in 1991, Mathis was elected chairman of the board of the Metropolitan Atlanta Olympic Games Authority, the group that monitored construction of facilities for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

7. Stephen J. Schmidt Memorial Parkway

During World War II, Oglethorpe University graduate and football star Stephen Schmidt flew a bomber he named the “Stormy Petrel” after the school’s mascot. In later years, he was nicknamed “Mr. Oglethorpe” for his involvement with the school. In 1963, he became an Oglethorpe trustee; he chaired the board for 14 years.

8. Bill Lowery Parkway

Music publisher and record company owner Bill Lowery worked with performers Joe South, Jerry Reed, Dennis Yost and the Classics IV, Ray Stevens, Mac Davis, Tommy Roe, the Atlanta Rhythm Section and others. He was the first non-performer inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. Lowery died in 2004.

9. Horace Tate Freeway

Education advocate Dr. Horace Tate served as a teacher, Atlanta public schools principal, college professor and teacher’s union leader. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Atlanta in 1969, but later was elected to the state Senate, where he served 18 years. His daughter, Horacena Tate, now holds the Senate seat her father held.

10. Joel A. Katz Parkway

Joel A. Katz founded one of the country’s largest entertainment law firms. His earliest clients included James Brown and Willie Nelson. He also has represented B.B. King, George Strait, Jimmy Buffet, Sheryl Crow, Sammy Hagar, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson and James Taylor.

11. Paul Coverdell Memorial Parkway

Sen. Paul Coverdell’s political career stretched from Buckhead to Washington. Coverdell served in the Georgia Senate from 1970 until 1989. He was elected Senate Minority Leader in 1974 and held the job until he left the Senate to take a job as director of the Peace Corps. He returned to Georgia in 1992 to win a seat in the U.S. Senate. In 1998, he became the first Republican from Georgia ever re-elected to the U.S. Senate. He died in 2000.

12. Justus C. Martin Memorial Tunnel

Justus C. Martin, chairman of Robinson-Humphrey Co., helped make Ga. 400 possible by agreeing to allow it to passed beneath the Atlanta Financial Center, the state transportation board said in 1993, when it named the tunnel for Martin.

13. Gordon Bynum Jr. Bridge

The slaying of 44-year-old marketing executive Gordon Bynum Jr. stunned the Buckhead community in 1999. Bynum, who had been an active volunteer in community and environmental groups, was shot to death as he crossed a pedestrian bridge over Ga. 400.

14. James Wendell George Parkway

James Wendell George worked for the Georgia Power Co. for 26 years, rising to the post of vice president for customer service. He also was active in community and civic affairs through such organizations as the 100 Black Men of Atlanta and the Atlanta Children’s Shelter.

15. Gail Thomas Memorial Interchange

In January of 2012, Atlanta Police Officer Gail Thomas died after she was hit by a car after she stopped to help direct traffic around a wreck on the interstate. This year, a memorial sign was installed at Exit 251, near the location of the wreck, to honor her.

Sources for photographs: 1 fultoncountyga.gov; 3, 4, 5 legis.ga.gov/Legislation/archives; 6 lowerymusic.com; 7 Oglethorpe University; 8 Taylor & Mathis; 9 courtesy of Kenan Research Center, Atlanta History Center; 10 gtlaw.com; 11 en.Wikipedia.org; 15 Atlanta Police Department.

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

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