A Peek Into Atlanta’s Streetcar History

Ride down Memory Lane with us and see what Atlanta's streetcars and neighborhoods looked like in 1944.
Atlanta Homes Connected by 1944 Streetcar

Atlanta Homes Connected by 1944 Streetcar

1944: The streetcar connected residents along Peachtree Street, then called Whitehall, to neighborhoods as far north as Buckhead.

Photo by: Dmitri Kessel//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

Dmitri Kessel//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

1944: The streetcar connected residents along Peachtree Street, then called Whitehall, to neighborhoods as far north as Buckhead.
Related To:

There’s a lot of buzz about the new Atlanta Streetcar Project that laid its first tracks in May 2013. The streetcar line includes 12 stops providing access to popular attractions and destinations such as the Georgia Aquarium, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, Georgia State University, the World of Coca-Cola, CNN Center and the historic Auburn Avenue corridor. The line also reconnects the two halves of downtown that were disconnected by freeway construction, and will also directly connect with MARTA’s rail and bus systems, and will eventually connect to the Atlanta Beltline

Memorial Drive in Atlanta, 1944

Memorial Drive in Atlanta, 1944

1944: The streetcar connected neighborhoods surrounding Ponce de Leon all the way to Memorial Drive.

Photo by: Dmitri Kessel//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

Dmitri Kessel//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

1944: The streetcar connected neighborhoods surrounding Ponce de Leon all the way to Memorial Drive.

This mode of transportation, however, is not new to Atlanta. In 1872, mules and horses pulled trolley cars up and down Whitehall Street, now the ubiquitous Peachtree Street, along Mitchell Street and up to Oakland Cemetery. Then, as railroad companies slowly formed, tracks were laid and an actual trolley system was realized.

In the late 1800s, the Atlanta streetcar was nicknamed the Nine Mile Trolley because of the nine-mile circle it made around the city linking many neighborhoods. Virginia-Highlands and Inman Park grew in popularity as the streetcars made them more accessible. Lines connected residents with downtown via Ponce de Leon and Dekalb Avenue and also ran as far north as Buckhead and Howell Mill.

Nine Mile Trolley Route

Nine Mile Trolley Route

This is the original map depicting the route that linked many neighbors throughout the City of Atlanta.

Photo by: Georgia Power

Georgia Power

This is the original map depicting the route that linked many neighbors throughout the City of Atlanta.

Atlanta’s original streetcars were eventually retrofitted, made electric and converted to function without tracks. Those soon gave way to buses, and the tracks were paved over to make way for cars. Fast-forward to present day where city officials are banking that the new streetcars will encourage people to park their cars and get on the trolley. Sometimes the best steps into the future begin with a look to the past. 

Next Up

Buying a Home in Knoxville

Move over, Nashville and Memphis. Tennessee's third largest city is getting more love.

Downtown Atlanta Gets a Ferris Wheel

Rolling in all the way from Paris via Pensacola, city council members agreed that a carnival ride was just what Atlanta needs.

7 Atlanta Restaurants for a Memorable Meal

Nothing spices up a meal better than a good story.

Nashville: Like No Place Else

Nashville is more than a guitar and a big hat. Find out what features make the city special.

Orlando: Like No Place Else

Sports and space enthusiasts, among others, will find much to do in Orlando, Florida.

Savannah: Like No Place Else

Check out some of the places and events that Savannah, Georgia, is famous for.

Memphis Essentials

Here, the best places to eat, shop, play and more in Memphis, TN.

Profile: Tampa, Florida

Facts and figures on the Florida city's residents, industries and sports teams

Neighborhood Spotlight: Key Biscayne, Florida

Located south of Miami Beach and north of Coconut Grove, Key Biscayne features miles of golden sand beaches and quiet neighborhoods.

Atlanta Hot Spot: Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium

Take an exclusive peek inside the life and mind of Atlanta's most popular bar owner, Grant Henry.

On TV

Top GAC Shows

Flea Market Flip

Sundays at 8|7c

Living Alaska

Mondays at 9|8c

Top 20 Countdown

Consult Program Guide

Flippin' RVs

Wednesdays 9|8c

Get Social With Us

Let's explore this country together.