In my blog post entitled Resource: Atlanta History Journal (Atlanta History Center) I talked about a quandary I had in relation to the location of where my 2nd great grandmother, Maggie Calloway lived with her 2nd husband, Foster Calloway.  In a quick recap, I discovered in the 1923 Atlanta City Directory a listing for Foster Calloway, listing his place of residence at h1 Alabaster Alley.  Although the Street Directory listed Piedmont as an intersecting street, but the question was, where exactly was the street located.

As mentioned in the previous post, I located an article in the Atlanta History Journal database on the Atlanta History Center’s website that gave me more clues as to the exact location of the “street”. On page 30 of the article, the author wrote “Running west from Piedmont Avenue between Baker Street and Forrest Avenue is a street on which there was once a small asbestos mine. The street was named Asbestos Street. It was change to Alabaster Alley; probably an ironical reference to the color of its residents.”

Though the last sentence can be taken as a slight to the residents living on the street, it provides a clue to the race of the people living there.  That statement aside, I have the name of two streets, narrowing the area of where the “street” is located.

Now what?

Well, in preparation for a webinar, I learned through the Digital Public Library of America that Georgia State University has digitize maps of the City of Atlanta Neighborhoods. These maps have the City divided up into different “planning units”. First, I had to determine what “planning unit” included the area of Piedmont Avenue I was looking for. This is the image of map. Click the map to visit the webpage.


After some trial and era (looking at other maps), I figured out that the area I was looking for was in the Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU) M.


Here’s a copy of the map with the area highlighted with a Red Circle.

City_of_Atlanta_NPU_M_Neighborhoods Cropped with Circle2

Hopefully you are still with me.  Before I remembered the Georgia State Maps, I did a Google Map search for Forrest Avenue and could not find the street in relation to Piedmont Ave. Luckily for me, I was able to locate the map which told me what I needed to know.

Over time, things change, including the names of streets, which was the case in this situation.  Using a nifty tool on the Georgia State University’s site for the Map, it allowed me to overlay the old map with a current map.  Using the opacity tool on the left, you can see the new through the old, to determine where the location is using today’s maps.  The pictures below illustrate the steps I took.


City_of_Atlanta_NPU_M_Neighborhoods Google Overlap1

City_of_Atlanta_NPU_M_Neighborhoods Google Overlap2

I’m not sure if the image is clear enough but the name of Forrest Ave changed to Ralph McGill Blvd. I know the Atlanta Civic Center should have been a clue but when you are focused on one particular thing, you block out everything else.

This post is the result of several years of wondering and discovering different tools as I went along.  Remember to take advantage of opportunities to learn about resources for Genealogy as they come because you never know when one might help you break down a brick wall like I did.

Happy Hunting!!