The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site contains
many buildings significant to the life of Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr. HABS has documented seven sites within the National
Historic Site, including the home where he was born in 1929 at 501 Auburn Avenue.
Built in 1895,
this frame two-story Queen Anne house is where Martin Luther
King, Jr. spent the first 12 years of his life. The house is
now a museum and daily ranger-guided tours are available.
In 1985 HABS documented the modified Gothic Ebenezer Baptist Church
, built 1914-1922. The church was the spiritual
home of Dr. King and was the location of many Civil Rights meetings.
Martin Luther King, Sr. became the church's pastor in 1932. Martin
Luther King, Jr. was baptized in the church and served as co-pastor
from 1960 until his assassination in 1968. As a final farewell
to this visionary leader of the modern Civil Rights movement,
King's funeral was held in the church and King is buried nearby.
In 2001, thanks to a Save America's Treasures Grant combined
with private funding, the National Park Service began restoration
on the church. Phase I of the restoration project included design and installation of major systems including, electrical, heating and air conditioning, and fire suppression. Structural repairs were made to the roof system and the historic exterior Ebenezer sign was repaired and lit for the first time since 1990. Phase II of the project, which is not yet finisehd, will restore the appearance of the sanctuary and fellowship hall to the 1960-68 period when Dr. King served as co-pastor with his father.
The surrounding neighborhood contains a variety of houses ranging
from Victorian style homes built by Alexander Hamilton, an African
American who owned his own construction company, to shot gun
houses, and two family row houses built in the 1920s. HABS documented
several houses along 400 and
500 blocks of Auburn Avenue
in 1985. The restrained Queen
Anne style home at 514
is an integral part of the National Historic Site and a good
example of the residential architecture present in the district.
Built ca. 1893, its most prominent occupants were the Shaw and
Saunders families. In 1985 the house was renovated by the National
Park Service and much of the original wood molding and fireplace
The Auburn Avenue area became the center of Atlanta's black community and contained
a number of businesses and commercial establishments in addition to residential facilites. HABS documented the Brown-Hayes
Department Store in 1985. The store stands in the once commercially
active Edgewood Avenue area, second only to Auburn Avenue as
the center of black business and social activities in the Martin
Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site.