Atlanta Neighborhood Spotlight – Old Fourth Ward

The Old Fourth Ward is quite bustling, as well as charming. This Eastside Atlanta neighborhood is most famously known for being the birthplace of America’s most predominant civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The area extends from Piedmont Avenue all the way to the outskirts of Inman Park. The artistic unity and fantastic restaurants bring plenty of locals and tourists to the area. As one of Atlanta’s oldest areas, its anything but boring. Check out Old Fourth Ward’s neighborhood spotlight!



History of the Neighborhood

Old Fourth Ward (also known as O4W) was originally first settled in the 1800’s, with records of non-segregated neighborhoods congregating in 1890. Within the first few decades of the 1900’s, African Americans made up the majority of the neighborhood due to the booming of businesses in the city.  Also during this time, O4W had Ponce de Leon Springs, which was a communal bathing destination where locals could visit to bathe and relax. In the Great Atlanta Fire of 1917, more than 50 blocks of the city were burned down within 10 hours. Most of the damage was taken place in O4W. The causes of the fire were unknown, but it cost the city over $5 million in repairs. Repairs and rebuilding began immediately after. When the area finally recovered from the damage, the neighborhood became home to a baseball park, casino, and an amusement park. The popularity of the district eventually attracted Sears Roebuck and Company, who wanted to center their Southern Regional Distribution Center there. The building became the largest brick building in the southern region of the states and is now where Ponce City Market stands today. Once the stock market crashed in 1929, Old Fourth Ward’s development was abruptly stopped. Also in the year 1929, civil rights activist MLK Jr. was born off of Auburn Avenue. The neighborhood still takes great pride in being the birthplace of MLK. Currently, Fourth Ward is an evolving green space area and is home to over 10,000 people.



Common Architectural Styles

Like most historic Atlanta neighborhoods, many of O4W’s houses were 1920’s Victorian style. There are a few left over that still embody this style. Unfortunately, after the Great Atlanta Fire of 1917, many of these houses were burned down. Because of this, many apartment complexes were built instead. The current housing style now in Old Fourth Ward is mostly modern, with funky floor plans eccentric colors on the trim. On occasion, you will still see those Victorian mansions driving downtown. With the perfect mix of modern and historic, it is a great neighborhood to live in no matter what your taste is.




Things to Do

The amount of great things to do in Old Fourth Ward is unreal. If you’re outdoorsy, the Beltline is perfect for you! The Beltline is a 22-mile long bike and walking trail, with its most popular trails being located in O4W. Whether you’re taking a bike ride or just a casual stroll, you’ll love getting your exercise here. If you would rather shop or eat, then Ponce City Market is the place to be without a doubt. Ponce City Market is a community market that has flats, office, shops, and restaurants. In addition, it has a rooftop with mini golf and a bar that overlook the skyline. Its perfect for shopping, dating, and family events. You can also take a visit to the picturesque Jackson Street Bridge, which is a bridge that overlooks an amazing view of Atlanta, and it’s walkable. Other favorite O4W events include the annual Old Fourth Ward Art Festival, Sweet Auburn Springfest, and the Georgia Marathon.



Restaurants to Visit 

Here are some great restaurants in the neighborhood:

  • Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall
    Its campfire themed and has delicious local beers!
  • Thumbs Up Diner
    The perfect brunch spot- you can build your own breakfast!
  • Serpas True Food
    Cajun-infused American cuisine. Must try the flash fried oysters!
  • Miso Izakaya
    A hot spot for Japanese tapas and sushi.
  • City Winery
    Wine, flatbreads, and live concerts, more than ideal for an intimate date night.
  • Batter Cookie Dough Counter
    For those of you that have a sweet tooth, swing by Ponce City Market for some treats!


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