Piedmont Park

From Academic Kids

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Piedmont Park
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Piedmont Park's Lake Clara Meer
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Piedmont Park Bridge & View of Downtown Skyline
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Piedmont Park View of Midtown Skyline

Piedmont Park is the "Central Park" of Atlanta, Georgia, located in Midtown, north of the city center. Originally the land was owned by a Dr. Benjamin Franklin Walker, who used it as his out-of-town gentleman's farm and residence. He sold it in 1887 for use as the site of the Cotton States Exposition, during which the first commercial showing of a motion picture in the U.S. was made. The park today is largely as Joseph Forsyth Johnson designed it for the exposition. After that, the Piedmont Men's Driving Club puchased it for their golf course and club. The original Walker residence has been incorporated as a room in the clubhouse.

The Cotton States Exposition of 1895 attracted visitors from around the world to the future site of Piedmont Park. President Grover Cleveland presided over the opening of this World's Fair in October of 1895, and the first public performance of John Philip Sousa's "King Cotton" march was performed at the ceremony, conducted by the composer himself. Most of the buildings that were constructed for the exposition were made of local Georgia granite. The buildings were dismantled after the event, mainly so that the granite could be sold to absolve the debt that the city incurred to hold the fair.

In 1892, Piedmont Park was the location of the first football game in the South between Auburn University and the University of Georgia.

In 1904, the city bought the park on June 15th, and in 1912 the sons of Frederick Law Olmsted (landscape architect for Central Park in New York) John and Frederick, Jr. were asked to design a master plan for the park while they were at work on Grant Park. This was never fully implemented, although in recent years, revitalization efforts have used the plan as the major guide to making improvements. The 12th St entrance at the building on the west end of Lake Clara Meer are their design.

Piedmont Park is considered the focal point of the vibrant Midtown community of Atlanta. The park is home to various annual celebrations and events, including the Atlanta Jazz Festival and the Atlanta Dogwood Festival. A summer series of classic films, Screen on the Green, is also aired in the park for local residents.

A centennial celebration was held for the park in June 2004.


In May, 2004, the Peidmont Park Conservancy unveiled a controversial joint proposal with the Atlanta Botanical Garden to build a parking deck in a corner of the park to serve visitors to both. The plan has met with strong opposition from some members of the public who claim that the park should be an oasis from Atlanta traffic and should not contribute to it. Supporters say that the parking deck is a hidden section of the park and frees up green space and helps relieve the parking problems the park has been plagued with.

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Former: Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium | Loew's Grand Theatre | Omni Coliseum | SciTrek | Rich's


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