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Drinking at the Airport

Secret Blight

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(photo from Lilacina)

Last weekend we hopped the roadblocks and biked around the 42 acres of contested land by the airport. The city of Atlanta bought it in the '70s as a buffer zone and removed the houses. It's been cultivating kudzu ever sense.

Lost highway

It was weird and magical to see these long stretches of land quarantined from the city– and to think that they were once neighborhoods. College Park sees it as a big hole in their tax map. Re-development might mean a parking lot or warehouses. But we were dreaming of a way to keep it green and off the grid... like an urban farm or a park with a swimming hole.

Kudzuroad

All that kudzu, looking apocalyptic in the nicest way, maybe inspired our dreaming.


Comments

Sean

Wow -- very interesting . . . it's so obvious how the natural order is reclaiming lost ground, but ironically that's a reclamation imposed by "us" . . . you probably know, but I wonder how humane that process was (e.g. eminent domain)?

Poor White Trisha

we used to go there in high school like
'89-90 ish back when the houses were still there , nominally, but had been abandoned about a decade. It was fun with a blanket and a 12 pack and a bottle of Jager.

It struck me how solid the homes had been built. They had to be bulldozed even after a decades neglect. I'm surprised when the crap they build now hasn't collapsed after the owner takes a 2 week vacation.

karyn

this is the most beautiful blog post

Jeff Veatch

This brings me back a ways. I lived in Mountain View for a few years back in the 70's. Now the street is called International Blvd. My Grandmother lived at the bottom of the hill (south end of International Blvd) and was forced out by the "noise police" back around 1980 or so, and all the homes were razed shortly thereafter.

The kudzu never did get a chance to build up too much since the office buildings and warehouses went up very fast. But it wasn't the kudzu that I remember most vividly though. I'll never forget our whole house shaking every time a plane flew overhead, or walking a couple of houses up the street and looking straight down the runway.

RyanW

I know this is supposed to be "secret" but can you share where this is exactly and a good spot to enter? Me and a couple friends of mine like urban exploration and want to check it out. Thanks!

hspalmer

Jeff– Thanks for sharing your memories of Mountain View. I recently read an AJC article that said the city was "abandoned by homeowners," which I thought was funny because everyone I knew from Mountain View certainly felt "forced out." It's a complicated story that's still untold.

RyanW– The contested property in CP is bordered by Princeton Ave to the north and Camp Creek Parkway to the south. On Google Maps, you can see the wooded area and the foundations of houses. When we made this visit last September, it was easy to enter from any street. I returned in the Spring and some of the roads were blocked off while sewer construction work was underway. Good luck!

Greg

There is a similar trac of once inhabitated streets just south of Camp Creek as well. (and west of the Delta employees parking lot) All bought up as the airport expanded. MANY years ago I attended Kathleen Mitchell Elementary school....near what is today Herschel Rd and Camp Creek. (Camp Creek Pky had not been built yet in those days.) I think it was finally closed in the early 90s...sat abandoned for many years.
When the school was built in the late 1950s....an occassional propeller driven plane would pass overhead. I guess the builders never dreamed that the school would one day be located directly under the main glidepath for what would become the world's busiest airport. Kinda hard for kiddies to concentrate with one screaming jet after another roaring in a few hundred feet above their heads.

David DeMar

Looks like at least some of these streets are available on Google Street View:

https://www.google.com/maps/@33.650418,-84.4613451,3a,75y,299.87h,62.49t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1srdhg2pW21lSHDLfts3gFuQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

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