Have you ever stopped to wonder why Atlanta neighborhoods have the names they do? What about the city itself? Atlanta was founded in 1837, but before Atlanta became Atlanta, the area was named Marthasville after the then-governor’s daughter. It was also briefly referred to as Terminus, because of its location at the end of the Western and Atlantic railroad. A couple of years later the name was changed to Atlanta, the feminine version of Atlantic, in reference to the railroad. (source)

Grant Park is just one of the neighborhoods we look at today.

The Meaning Behind 9 Atlanta Neighborhood Names


In 1838, Henry Irby purchased more than 200 acres of land at the present day intersection of Peachtree Road and Paces Ferry. Soon after obtaining the land, Irby established a tavern and general store. The area surrounding the tavern was called Irbyville and became known as a friendly gathering point for travelers and locals alike. Legend has it that after Irby shot and hung the head of a Buck on a post of the tavern, members of the small community began to refer to the spot as “the buck’s head” in place of Irbyville. (source)


This neighborhood was known as Factory Town or Fulton Mill Village before it became Cabbagetown. As the story goes, there was a truck piled high with cabbages that flipped over while driving through the area’s narrow streets. All of the cabbages spilled out onto the street and were then free for the taking. The neighbors, now rich in cabbage, all cooked their cabbage on the same night, releasing a pungent aroma, hence the name Cabbagetown. (source)

Grant Park

Established in 1883, the Historic District of Grant Park is one of Atlanta’s oldest neighborhoods. Its name comes from the person who donated the land — Lemuel P. Grant. Today, the 131-acre land includes a green space, recreational facilities and residential Victorian-style homes that surround the park. (source)

Just Us

Just Us is the smallest of the official neighborhoods recognized in Atlanta — it only has two streets! Originally known as the Fountain Drive-Morris Brown Drive Community Club in the 1940s, it was renamed in the 1950s to reflect the modest size of the population. (source, source)

Little Five Points

Located just two-and-a-half miles east of downtown, Little Five Points was named in reference to the “Five Points” that converge at the center of Downtown Atlanta. At the intersection in the center of the neighborhood lies the “Little” Five Points. (source)


In 1848, Richard Peters purchased the southern portion of land located between present-day Buckhead and Downtown. This neighborhood received its name based on the fact that it was indeed the middle of the town of Atlanta.  (source)

Old Fourth Ward

Up until 1954, Atlanta was divided into wards. Originally there were 13, until 1937, when the state legislature combined and rezoned various wards bringing the number down to six. Often abbreviated to O4W, this neighborhood became part of the new fifth ward that followed the rezoning. (source)

Ormewood Park

This neighborhood gets its name from Aquilla J. Orme, an official of the Atlanta Electric Light and Trolley Company. Orme’s extension of a trolley line into the area made this neighborhood possible. The extension was constructed in 1891, running north and south along Underwood Avenue and eventually connecting to the line that ran along Moreland Avenue, ending in downtown. (source)


While, yes, there is the intersection of Virginia Avenue and North Highland Avenue, this neighborhood name did not rise to prominence until the 1972 revolt against the construction of the I-485 freeway. A group of individuals assembled the “Virginia-Highland Civic Association” to speak for the neighborhood. After the victory against the freeway, the Virginia-Highland name stuck, and the press began using it to refer to the entire neighborhood between Amsterdam, Ponce, Piedmont Park and Druid Hills. (source)

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About the Author
Marissa Sherman