Neighborhoods of Intown Atlanta: Blandtown
Blandtown is a neighborhood of the West Midtown area of Atlanta, Georgia. It is located along either side of Huff Road from Howell Mill Road west to Marietta Blvd. It was one of the first black settlements around Atlanta after the Civil War. As a community it declined from the 1950s through 1990s and now forms part of the West Midtown area, a rapidly developing part of Atlanta known for its home furnishings stores, new apartment and condo complexes, restaurants and bars.
Blandtown was named for Felix Bland. Born a slave, he was willed land by his former owner. Bland lost the land for not paying taxes, and a developer bought and subdivided it.
When the railroad reached the area, industries opened nearby including a mill, a fertilizer factory and a stockyard. The close-knit, mostly black community supported four churches, a public health clinic and more.
In 1928 a fire swept through the area. 15 homes, a church and 2 restaurants burned down and 75 people were left homeless.
Blandtown thrived until the early 1950s. The Norfolk Southern and CSX opened yards there in the area in 1957. In 1959 an elementary school opened and was named after John P. Whittaker, a registrar at Atlanta University.
But in 1956 the city had rezoned the area from residential to heavy industrial. Slowly but surely residents left. In 1960 there were 370 residents, in 1990 72% fewer. The elementary school closed definitively in 1974. By the 1980s local residents fought for rezoning back to residential, and were supported by councilwoman Clair Muller, but Nottingham Chemical and other industrial companies fought them and rezoning was never successful.
In the original residential area of Blandtown which consisted only of Fairmount and Boyd Aves. and English and Culpepper Streets, the houses have mostly been razed and many of the remaining ones are boarded up. However these streets are immediately adjacent to a fast-growing West Midtown area of wholesale and retail home furnishings stores and new residential and mixed-use complexes such as the Alexan MetroWest and Apex West Midtown. The area is generally referred to as part of West Midtown; the Blandtown name is almost never used except in a historical context, or to refer to the officially recognized neighborhood unit.