Presidential Parkway (Atlanta, Ga.) opposition files, 1980-1992

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Collection Stored Off-Site

All or portions of this collection are housed off-site. Materials can still be requested but researchers should expect a delay of up to two business days for retrieval.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Schwartz, Phyllis.
Title: Presidential Parkway (Atlanta, Ga.) opposition files, 1980-1992
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 738
Extent: 22.375 linear feet (41 boxes), 5 oversized papers folders (OP), and .25 linear feet (1 box)
Abstract:Communication, legal and legislative files, and research collected by Phyllis Schwartz in the course of her work with organizations opposed to the construction of the Presidential Parkway, including the Druid Hills Civic Association and CAUTION, Inc.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Special restrictions apply: Use copies have not been made for audiovisual material in this collection. Researchers must contact the Rose Library at least two weeks in advance for access to these items. Collection restrictions, copyright limitations, or technical complications may hinder the Rose Library's ability to provide access to audiovisual material.

Collection stored off-site. Researchers must contact the Rose Library in advance to access this collection.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Related Materials in This Repository

CAUTION, Inc. records and Druid Hills Civic Association records.


Gift of creator of the materials, Phyllis Schwartz, 1992 with subsequent additions in 2001.


[after identification of item(s)], Presidential Parkway (Atlanta, Ga.) opposition files, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Appraisal Note

Acquired by processing archivist and Assistant Department Head, Virginia Cain in 1992 with additions by Head of Special Collections, Linda Matthews in 2001 as part of the Rose Library's holdings in Modern Political and Southern History.


Arranged and described at the file level by Louis Fagnan, Kristin Kimberlain, Amanda Anderson, and Laura Starratt, June 2018.

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Collection Description

Historical Note

Beginning in the late 1960s, growth in the eastern suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, created a need for a more robust roadway system. The Stone Mountain tollway was the first attempt to create a highway through the Druid Hills Neighborhood and was designed to connect downtown Atlanta to the Stone Mountain Expressway. In the 1960s and early 1970s, the Georgia Department of transportation acquired land for the project and razed nearly 600 residential housing units, commercial spaces, and churches. The new roadway was not completed due to significant opposition from local neighborhood groups and remained undeveloped through the 1970s.

In 1981, former President Jimmy Carter revived the idea of a four-lane expressway to help provide access to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and the Carter Center. The state of Georgia, in compliance with a plan commissioned by Governor George Busbee, agreed to donate part of the Great Park, an area of about 219 acres that had been cleared to be used as the site of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. Carter lobbied and won support for both projects from Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, the City Council, and Chamber of Commerce. The road would connect the new Carter Center with downtown on the west, and Emory University through the Druid Hills neighborhood. The proposed design included five bridges to allow high speed and truck access through the affected neighborhood areas and parks.

The construction was started in 1984 and faced immediate resistance. CAUTION, Inc. (Coalition Against Unnecessary Thoroughfares in Our Neighborhood) formed in 1982, to coordinate litigation, fundraising, volunteers and lobbying, by the neighborhood associations of Inman Park, Druid Hills (of which Phyllis Schwartz served on the board), Candler Park, Lake Claire, East Lake, Virginia-Highland, Poncey-Highland and City of Decatur with the stated goal of stopping the Presidential Parkway.

After years of lawsuits, Maynard Jackson encouraged the Atlanta City Council to pass an ordinance to stop the Presidential Parkway in 1989. As part of another lawsuit, DeKalb Superior Court Judge Clarence Seeliger referred GDOT, the City of Atlanta, and CAUTION, Inc. to mediation. This mediation resulted in an agreement to create the Freedom Parkway, an at-grade, low speed parkway with no truck traffic and no bridges over city streets to provide access to the Carter Center. The remaining 200 acres of land were to be made into a City park, completed in time for the 1996 Olympics.

Scope and Content Note

The collection includes legal and legislative records, planning documents, and printed materials detailing the work of the various opposition groups involved in fighting the construction of the Presidential Parkway through the Druid Hills neighborhood and other surrounding areas including Inman Park, Candler Park, Lake Claire, East Lake, Virginia-Highland, Poncey-Highland and the City of Decatur from 1968-1992. Legal documents include court filings for various cases related to the opposition to the construction and trace legal cases from their beginnings though their final stages. In addition, there are subject files and research files for these cases and legislative records consisting of bills and resolutions.

Planning documents include communications such as memos, correspondence, and notes; subject files; and reports dating from 1973-1987. Communications primarily consist of correspondence between organizations such as the Druid Hills Civic Association (DHCA), CAUTION, Inc, the Georgia Department of Transportation, and the Council on Environmental Quality. Subject files also include some correspondence and printed materials but are files that were created by members of the Presidential Parkway opposition for research purposes. These files document such topics as alternative plans for roadways, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, The Great Park, the U.S. and Georgia Departments of Transportation, The Olmsted Linear parks, and traffic statistics. Reports were for general research as well and include the Department of transportation’s Environmental Impact and many responses to it. There are also reports on urban research, land analysis, and road and traffic standards.

Printed materials include newspaper clippings, photocopies of newspaper articles, and various other circulated materials from 1969-1992. Topics of articles primarily cover legal, legislative, and personal involvement with the Presidential Parkway on both the individual and organizational level.

Arrangement Note

Organized into three series: (1) Legal and legislative materials, (2) Planning documents, and (3) Printed materials

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