229 Auburn Avenue

Atlanta - Fulton County

The Story

A contributing property in the Sweet Auburn Historic District, 229 Auburn Avenue has been home to several African American businesses during the 20th Century, including a branch office of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company. Sweet Auburn, a National Landmark District, is a historic African American neighborhood in downtown Atlanta that was one of the largest concentrations of African American businesses in the country during the 20th Century.

The Threat

In March of 2008, a tornado damaged several buildings in the district, including the loss of the Herndon Building, adjacent to 229 Auburn Avenue. The former Atlanta Life Insurance Branch Office still stands, but it has been vacant for years and was identified by a National Park Service study as the most imperiled building in the Sweet Auburn District. Recent redevelopment activity has brought important focus to the site. Local and state advocates have worked to secure a commitment to preserve the structure. While owners and developers are in the planning process, the rehabilitation and sensible reuse of 229 Auburn is vital to the long-term preservation of this district to maintain its national significance.