MARBL is Emory’s Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Library, which houses an extensive collection of maps going back to the 1800s, many of which can be zoomed in closely. (MARBL)

How you can visualize Atlanta’s past

Want to get a good look at what Atlanta used to look like? You don't need a flux capacitor. You just need to know where and how  to see what came before. These resources will help put a lens on the city's past:

Historic photos (and more)

Interactive maps

  • Atlanta atlases: Zoom in on Atlanta's street maps from 1878  and from 1930. Another version of the 1930 map includes today's streets overlaid on top, which you can make transparent.
  • Georgia's historical markers: You know, the roadside signs. This map from the Georgia Historical Society's shows where to find them.
  • HistoryPin: A crowdsourced Google Map with geotagged historical photos, many of which come from the Atlanta History Center's collection
  • The War in Our Backyards: A joint project by the Atlanta History Center and the AJC, showing where the Battle of Atlanta took place
The Google Map Street View can be used as a street-level time machine. In the street view, click a clock icon in the upper left box and see what other views from the same location are available from previous years. Here, a view of the new streetcar lines along Woodruff Park are contrasted with an earlier view of the street before the tracks were put in. (Google Maps)

Historic maps collections

HistoryPin is a crowdsourced Google Map with geotagged historical photos, many of which come from the Atlanta History Center’s collection. (HistoryPin)

Other visualizations

  • Atlanta Explorer: A video presentation showing a 3D rendering of 1930 Atlanta, created by Emory's Center for Digital Scholarship
  • Aerial photos: GSU's collection of aerial survey photos from 1949
  • A crowdsourcing site that collects information on interesting landmarks and locations
  • ARC's interactive maps: The Atlanta Regional Commission's maps, mostly visualizing current data and future projections
  • Google Street View: This link explains how to turn Google Maps into a street-level time machine

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