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Olmsted Parks Society Presidential Parkway records

Collection number: ahc.MSS1247

Scope and Contents

These records document the community-led opposition to the construction of the Presidential Parkway in Atlanta, Georgia. Included are correspondence, memoranda, chronologies, agendas, meeting minutes, clippings, articles, legal documents, environmental reports, and publications. Included in the materials are records of various organizations such as the Georgia Department of Transportation, Council on Environmental Quality, and Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

The records also contain documents of Atlanta-based groups Olmsted Parks Society, CAUTION, Inc., and Druid Hills Civic Association. Documents include correspondence, memoranda, membership forms, meeting minutes, newsletters, and protest materials. Of particular note are records about the founding of Olmsted Parks Society in 1983, and its merger with the Olmsted Linear Parks Alliance in 2004.


  • 1968-2004, undated


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.

Biographical / Historical

Presidential Parkway was a proposed thoroughfare designed to cut through several historic neighborhoods and Olmsted Linear Park in Atlanta, Georgia. Its origins date back to the 1960s when the Georgia Department of Transportation bought land for a proposed Stone Mountain Tollway and Interstate 485. The project was never completed due to negative feedback from community groups and government leaders, including then Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, although a large swath of land was cleared and left vacant. In the 1980s, construction began on a four-lane highway on the 219 acre vacant lot (known then as the "Great Park") that would house the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. Residents of several historic neighborhoods, including Inman Park and Druid Hills, worked together through protest and legal battles to stop the road construction, saving the neighborhoods and Olmsted Linear Park. These groups and the Georgia Department of Transportation reached a compromise that included a scaled-down version of the original road, later known as Freedom Parkway, with remaining land used as park space, later known as Freedom Park. Freedom Parkway was rededicated John Lewis Freedom Parkway in 2018 in honor of local U.S. Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis.

Founded in 1983, the Olmsted Parks Society was an organization devoted to the identification, restoration, and preservation of the works of American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. Olmsted is considered the father of landscape architecture in America. One of the Society’s aims was to educate the public to the value of Olmsted's work in Atlanta, and through their affiliation with the National Association of Olmsted Parks, to participate in that effort throughout the country. Olmsted Parks Society merged with Olmsted Linear Parks Alliance in 2004.


8.25 linear ft. (15 document cases, one oversize box, and one oversize folder)




This collection is arranged alphabetically by titles supplied by staff.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 1998, with subsequent additions

Related Materials

Visual materials have been separated from the collection. Please contact an archivist for access to these materials.

Bias in Description

As archivists, we acknowledge our role as stewards of information. We choose how individuals and organizations are represented and described in our archives. We are not neutral, and bias is reflected in our descriptions, which may not accurately convey the racist or offensive aspects of collection materials. Archivists make mistakes and might use poor judgment. In working with this collection, we often re-use language used by the former owners of the material. This language provides context but often includes bias and prejudices reflective of the time in which it was created. The Kenan Research Center’s work is ongoing to implement reparative language where Library of Congress subject terms are inaccurate and obsolete.

Kenan Research Center welcomes feedback and questions regarding our archival descriptions. If you encounter harmful, offensive, or insensitive terminology or descriptions, please let us know by emailing Your comments are essential to our work to create inclusive and thoughtful description.

Processing Information

This collection was processed in 2023.

Olmsted Parks Society Presidential Parkway records
Ginny Van Winkle
March 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305