In a partnership with the Conservation Fund, the City of Atlanta created legislation and purchase agreements to acquire additional property, restore greenspace and recognize the historical importance of the Chattahoochee Brick Company property in District 9. The legislation would effectively halt any new development of the site and memorialize its’ historical past.
The legislation was adopted by the Atlanta City Council at its Dec. 6, 2021 meeting, after the Community Development and Human Services Committee voted last week to advance the legislation and purchase the property from the Lincoln Terminal Company.
As indicated by City documents, an additional seventy-five acres will be protected with the assistance of the Conservation Fund. The fund will also be used to manage activities to preserve the Chattahoochee Brick Company as parkland and open space in the City.
Based on the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation website, the Brick Company was founded in 1878 by a former Atlanta Mayor and manufactured bricks for homes and businesses. However, it was known for its use of convicted African American labor known as convict leasing or “slavery by another name,” as detailed by Doug Blackmon, an Atlanta journalist who authored the Pulitzer-winning book under the same name. Hundreds of convicts worked in terrible conditions leading to many dying or being left disabled from punishment.
Additionally, the Chattahoochee Brick Company site’s preservation efforts were considered a threat due to the industrial zoning designation and the degradation of the existing brick structures.
In a statement issued by the City of Atlanta, Mayor Bottoms conveyed, “Our Administration has worked closely with The Conservation Fund and property owner, Lincoln Terminal Company, over the last several months to acquire the former site of the Chattahoochee Brick Company.” “It is our responsibility to protect the sanctity of this property and honor the thousands of victims who suffered and lost their lives on this land. Thank you to Councilmember Andre Dickens, The Conservation Fund, and the community at large for efforts to acknowledge this property’s troubled past. We look forward to a brighter future on this solemn land.”