Jan 3, 2023 - Things to Do

Cracking the mystery of Atlanta's staircases to nowhere

Three photos of stone staircases that lead to vacant lots

Photos: Courtesy of Atlanta Staircases to Nowhere

When demolition crews have bulldozed historic or blighted buildings in Atlanta, they've often left behind a crumb of the past.

  • They're stone steps leading to vacant properties, or staircases to nowhere. And once you see them around town, you can't unsee them.

Driving the news: Thomas here. A few months back during a bike ride, I started noticing stone steps at the edge of vacant properties in neighborhoods like Collier Heights and West End and near the Carter Center on North Highland Avenue.

The intrigue: I'm not the only one who's fascinated. A local Instagram account called Staircases to Nowhere documents the oddities.

  • The account owner, who requested anonymity, says she moved to Atlanta in 2018 from California.
  • During dog walks she noticed the forgotten staircases in Inman Park, like the set along North Highland Avenue stepping up to Freedom Park and the Carter Center.
  • "Then the pandemic hit and my son and I… would pick different neighborhoods to explore and look for staircases," she says.

Internet sleuths helped her determine steps to a grassy lot along Beverly Road in northeast Atlanta that once led to a Baptist church. Other mysteries are harder to solve, thanks to gaps in property records or confusing addresses.

Why it matters: The stone steps are an unexpected link to the city's history — and a fun project to research.

Worth your time: You can start researching parcels you notice while walking, biking or driving around town at the Fulton property records online database.


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