The Walking Tour of Morningside/Lenox Park

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The walk through MLPA History that was originally written in the early 1990s.

It was researched by MLPA  stalwarts Pam & Jim Auchmutey, Bill Chalker, Mary Huntz, Don & Syd Janney, Betty Layng, David Robertson, Genevieve Scully, Kenneth H. Thomas, Jr. and Brian Randall for publication around the time of the Atlanta Olympic Games (1996).

The entire walk is around six miles, but feel free to break it into sections.  While we suggest beginning at Smith Park, the neighborhood gateway, but begin wherever you would like.  The important thing is to get out and enjoy our neighborhood and learn some of the background of the sites within our borders.

The History of MLPA

Morningside/Lenox Park, a residential neighborhood in northeast Atlanta, Georgia, was founded in 1923. Originally inhabited by Creek Indians, the area was farmland and then one of the early suburbs of Atlanta.  It was developed by James R. Smith and M.S. Rankin and now boasts about 3,500 households including Morningside, Lenox Park, University Park, Noble Park, Johnson Estates and Hylan Park.

In 1965 the Morningside Lenox Park Association (MLPA) was incorporated to fight the bulldozing of homes to make way for I-485 that would have split the neighborhood in half.  Capitalizng upon that success, the MLPA serves as the voice of the neighborhood in civic, traffic, zoning and education matters.  Our work builds upon the beautification projects begun in 1934 by the Morningside Civic League as an advocate and protector of our parks, gardens, traffic islands and nature preserves.

MLPA is an all-volunteer organization that depends upon the support of our neighbors.  Please consider joining and volunteering to make Morningside Lenox Park even stronger and more vibrant!

1820

Easton, a farming community where settlers raise cotton & corn, grows near the present day corner of Piedmont & Monroe.

1870

Rock Springs Presbyterian is organized by 27 members including Cheshire, Reeder, Luckie & Plaster.

1888

Easton’s 100 residents commute via a depot at the Ansley Mall site using Air-Line Belle, a steam train running from Toccoa to Atlanta.

1911

Plaster Bridge Road is paved and renamed Piedmont. Easton is pressured by Ansley Park developing to the west and Virginia-Highland to the south.

1917

Lanier University is founded in a replica of the Custis-Lee Estate in Virginia.

1921

University Park develops around Lanier.

1923

Developers JR Smith & MS Rankin begin Morningside, one of Atlanta’s first auto suburbs.

1925

The corner of Highland and University is developed with shops including an A&P and drugstore.

1927

Morningside Shopping Center is built on Piedmont at Monroe.

1928

Morningside Elementary, a six room school house, opens.

1931

Lenox Park opens with homes by architects Ivey & Crook.

1932

Morningside Civic Association dedicates Smith Park in honor of JR Smith.

1934

Morningside Civic Association plants dogwoods and crepe myrtles to beautify the area.

1935

Morningside Elementary expands, providing jobs to those unemployed by the Depression.

1965

Morningside/ Lenox Park Association is founded to fight plans to build I-485 through the neighborhood.

1973

Plans to build I-485 are abandoned due to pressure from intown neighborhood activists.

1985

Condemned property becomes Sidney Marcus Park, named for our state representative that helped stop the highway.

1989

MLPA Sidewalk Repair Program helps neighbors repair their walkways.

1990

MLPA erects 12 monuments, patterned after the original monuments fashioned by Smith & Rankin, to mark our borders.

1991

Morningside Security Patrol established.

1997

MLPA website goes online.

2000

MLPA Endorses Wildwood Urban Forest preservation project and refurbishes Sunken Garden Park Playground.

2001

Morningside Nature Preserve is protected through a partnership with the City of Atlanta, the Nature Conservancy, Wildwood Urban Forest Group, MLPA, Trees Atlanta & Park Pride.

2003

Sidney Marcus Park rededication with new playground and boardwalk.

2016

MLPA Website gets an update and re-launch

2016

Smith Park Fountain is refurbished, with the water flowing once again.