Halloween and a Family Birthday in Grant Park, Atlanta

250px-Grant_Park_signWhere has the time gone?! We arrived home October 30, after 9 weeks on the road. We had a date with our son and his family on Halloween night. Our son Johnny and his wife Kim live in the intown neighborhood of Grant Park, which surrounds Atlanta’s fourth-largest city park. They live in a Craftsman style cross-gabled bungalow, built in 1926, which Johnny has renovated extensively. They love living in this neighborhood and decided to add a second story to their home last year, before their third child arrived, rather than move to a larger home.

Johnny & Kim's home - photo 09/08

Johnny & Kim’s home – photo 09/08


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Grant Park has two major attractions besides the park itself: IMG_1006
Zoo Atlanta, established in 1889 and originally known as the Grant Park Zoo;
and the Atlanta Cyclorama, a cyclorama featuring the 1864 Battle of Atlanta from the American Civil War. Atlanta_Cyclorama

Grant Park also includes the Atlanta Stockade, Fort Walker, and the 1858 mansion of Lemuel P. Grant, second-oldest house still standing on its original location in Atlanta, and for whose owner the park and neighborhood were named.
The park serves over two million visitors per year. Grant Park includes the park, 48 acres of Oakland Cemetery (established 1850), where Margaret Mitchell, Bobby Jones, 25 former mayors of Atlanta, six former governors of Georgia, and many Civil War dead are buried. (photos are from a tour of the cemetery we took in 2008)

Together with Inman Park, Grant Park contains the largest remaining area of Victorian architecture in Atlanta. Most buildings were built between the neighborhood’s founding in 1882 and the first decades of the 20th century. The neighborhood of Grant Park is characterized by Victorian era mansions and small cottages, and early 20th century bungalows. Large two-story mansions face the park, more modest two-story, modified Queen Anne houses were built on surrounding streets, and one-story Victorian era cottages and Craftsman bungalows were built to the east of the park.

restored Victorian Mansion in Grant Park

restored Victorian Mansion in Grant Park

Craftsman home

Craftsman home


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The Olmsted Brothers (sons of Frederick Law Olmsted) designed the city park and its distinctive landscape which includes rollings hills and scenic vistas, and many mature trees.
Grant Park, an Olmsted Brothers design

Grant Park, an Olmsted Brothers design


The majority of the buildings are residential but the district also includes school buildings, churches, neighborhood commercial clusters and recreational buildings.

We (John and I) have lived in the Atlanta metro area since June 1980, and while we live in a neighborhood beyond the “perimeter”, Lawrenceville is still considered part of Metro Atlanta. Interstate 285 (aka the “perimeter), is the highway that encircles the city of Atlanta, separating intown neighborhoods from those outside the perimeter.
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Enough background… John and I don’t get many trick-or-treaters at our home but we enjoy all the activity and excitement in Grant Park. Johnny and Kim have hundreds of trick-or-treaters. Grant Park is alive with kids and parents and excitement on Halloween… Lots of costumed kids and parents going door to door. Takes me right back to my childhood…

Kim made us all yummy chili for dinner, and they got the kids’ costumes on. Hank (5yrs old) was a Ninja Turtle (I forget which one); Lucy (2 yrs, 8 mos.) was a purple cat (Lucy is in favor of all things purple); and little June (14 mos.) was a pumpkin. They made a cute group, heading down the driveway.
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The kids herded the grandkids out the door, and headed out to the neighbors to trick-or-treat. We stayed home to man the candy bowl, and we settled in some beach chairs and enjoyed the evening… being outside, sitting around the campfire, and seeing a great variety of costumes and excited kids.
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About three years ago, Johnny started keeping track of the number of trick-or-treaters they get. The final tally for this evening was 405 trick or treaters, a 42% increase from the year before (which Johnny attributed to the addition of lights in the front yard).

Two days later, we were back at their home to celebrate Hank’s fifth birthday. We had a fine time enjoying the unseasonably warm weather for November, spending time outside with Kim’s parents, and watching the kids running around, beating the pinata, and having a fun time in the bounce house. And, the birthday cake was delicious. : )

Next up: a visit from my sister Nancy for Thanksgiving. : ) And, it won’t be long before we head to the west coast to see our daughter Susie and family for Christmas. Until then…

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