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Kirkwood Neighbors Organization

Kirkwood was incorporated in 1899, as an early streetcar suburb of Atlanta. Today our Atlanta in-town neighborhood is a socioeconomically and racially diverse neighborhood that enjoys our proximity to Downtown, two MARTA stations, a rich tree canopy including protected forests, great schools, committed and involved neighbors, a growing retail district and a rich vein of Craftsman and Victorian homes on the National Register of Historic Places.

Kirkwood Atlanta is a historic neighborhood on the east side of Atlanta, Georgia, that has seen many changes and challenges over the years. It was once a thriving streetcar suburb with its own city government and services, but it also faced urban decline, crime, and racial tensions. Today, it is a vibrant and diverse community that celebrates its heritage and culture.

The story of Kirkwood begins in the late 1800s, when a group of investors led by architect Will Saunders bought land from the Kirkpatrick, Dunwoody, and Clay families, who were some of the prominent landowners in the area. They planned to develop a residential neighborhood with spacious lots, wide streets, and elegant homes. They named the neighborhood Kirkwood, after a blending of the Kirkpatrick and Dunwoody family names.

In 1899, Kirkwood was incorporated as an independent municipality, with its own water system, school system, fire department, and mayor. It was one of the early streetcar suburbs of Atlanta, with express service to and from the city three times daily. The residents of Kirkwood enjoyed a high quality of life in their beautiful suburban villas.

In 1922, Kirkwood was annexed by the city of Atlanta, along with other nearby neighborhoods. This brought some benefits to Kirkwood, such as improved infrastructure and services, but also some challenges, such as increased taxes and regulations. Kirkwood also faced competition from newer suburbs that offered more modern amenities and conveniences.

In the 1940s and 1950s, Kirkwood experienced demographic changes as more African Americans moved into the neighborhood, seeking better housing and opportunities. This caused some white residents to leave Kirkwood for other areas, resulting in racial segregation and tension. Some of the historic homes in Kirkwood were divided into apartments or left vacant and neglected.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Kirkwood suffered from urban decline and crime, as many businesses closed or moved away, and many residents struggled with poverty and unemployment. The neighborhood also faced environmental issues such as pollution and flooding. Some of the landmarks in Kirkwood were demolished or damaged by fire or vandalism.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Kirkwood began to revitalize and redevelop, as more people rediscovered its charm and potential. Some of the historic homes were restored or renovated by new owners who appreciated their architectural style and history. Some of the local businesses reopened or relocated to Kirkwood, offering more options for shopping and dining. Some of the green spaces and recreational facilities were improved or created by volunteers who cared about preserving and enhancing the natural environment.

In the 2000s and 2010s, Kirkwood continued to grow and prosper, as more people moved into the neighborhood, seeking affordable and spacious homes in a vibrant and diverse community. The neighborhood also became more connected and engaged through various organizations and events that promoted and improved the quality of life in Kirkwood. Some of them are:

  • The Kirkwood Neighbors Organization (KNO), a volunteer-based group that works to strengthen the community through various events, committees, and initiatives that address issues such as safety, education, zoning, beautification, and communication.

  • The Kirkwood Spring Fling and Tour of Homes, an annual festival that showcases the history, culture, and diversity of Kirkwood through live music, food trucks, vendors, kids’ activities, a 5K race, and a tour of some of the historic and renovated homes in Kirkwood.

  • The Kirkwood Business Owners’ Association (KBOA), a non-profit organization that represents and supports the local businesses in Kirkwood through networking opportunities, marketing resources, advocacy services, and community engagement.

  • The Kirkwood Library, a branch of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System that offers a variety of programs and services for all ages and interests.

  • The Kirkwood Urban Forest and Community Garden, a 7.5-acre green space that features trails, streams, wildlife habitats, and organic gardening plots that are maintained by volunteers.

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