The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation has released its 2024 list of 10 Places in Peril, which includes two prominent Atlanta landmarks.
Both the Atlanta Constitution Building in Downtown and the Piney Grove Cemetery in Buckhead are on this year’s list.
Also on the list across the state: Broad Avenue Elementary in Albany (Dougherty County); Cedar Grove in Martinez (Columbia County); Church of the Good Shepherd in Thomasville (Thomas County); Grace Baptist Church in Darien (McIntosh County); Hogg Hummock on Sapelo Island (McIntosh County); Old First Baptist Church in Augusta (Richmond County); Pine Log Mountain (Bartow County); and Sugar Valley Consolidated School in Sugar Valley (Gordon County).
“This is the Trust’s nineteenth annual Places in Peril list,” said W. Wright Mitchell, president and CEO of the Trust. “We hope the list will continue to bring preservation solutions to Georgia’s imperiled historic resources by highlighting ten representative sites.”
Places in Peril is designed to raise awareness about Georgia’s significant historic, archaeological and cultural resources, including buildings, structures, districts, archaeological sites and cultural landscapes that are threatened by demolition, neglect, lack of maintenance, inappropriate development or insensitive public policy.
Through Places in Peril, the Trust will encourage owners and individuals, organizations and communities to employ proven preservation tools, financial resources and partnerships in order to reuse, reinvest and revitalize historic properties that are in peril.
More about Atlanta’s two Places in Peril:
Atlanta Constitution Building
Known as “The Heart of Atlanta” because of its proximity to downtown Atlanta’s historic railroad junction, the Atlanta Constitution Building has been home to two iconic Georgia institutions. Constructed in 1947, the Atlanta Constitution Building is a rare Georgia example of Art Moderne architecture that was home to the Atlanta Constitution newspaper during Ralph McGill’s term as editor.
When the Atlanta Journal and Constitution consolidated and moved out of the building in 1955, Georgia Power occupied the building until 1972. It has been vacant ever since. The building has withstood previous proposals for demolition, while recent efforts toward redevelopment have yet to materialize.
A landmark in Atlanta, now is the time for the Constitution Building to serve as the heart of a downtown revitalization.
Piney Grove Cemetery
Piney Grove Cemetery is an historic African American burial ground in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta. The cemetery’s founding dates to the 1800s and has over 300 burials, some of which are believed to be burials for enslaved individuals. The cemetery has unique characteristics including irregular burial patterns, a variety of hewn and native gravestones and terraced landscaping. The cemetery also contains numerous unmarked burials. Piney Grove Cemetery is one of the last vestiges of the several African American communities that once thrived in the area including Piney Grove, Lynwood Park, Bagley Park, Johnsontown and Armour.
In the early 2000s, a residential developer acquired the property and sought to remove the cemetery to develop the land. After opposition by the descendants, the land was sold to a commercial developer with conditions for access and maintenance as part of City of Atlanta zoning conditions. Ultimately, a condominium complex was built adjacent to the cemetery.
Despite zoning conditions and state law requiring the condominium homeowner’s association to allow descendants and members of the public to use and enjoy the Cemetery, in the view of the Friends of Piney Grove Cemetery, the homeowner’s association has never complied with the obligation to maintain the historic Piney Grove Cemetery, and this has resulted in the cemetery’s current dire condition. Instead, the property has become overgrown and inaccessible with damage to headstones from falling trees, vegetation and trash.
Piney Grove Cemetery is a direct link to a time in Georgia when enslaved individuals were forced to toil in fields and homes. Piney Grove Cemetery serves as an important marker for Atlanta’s history, and its preservation is essential to the city’s cultural fabric.