Although there are only about twenty short streets that make up Poncey-Highland every one of them provides a direct route to one of Atlanta’s most vibrant and historic corridors. And while just a few decades ago Ponce de Leon Avenue’s reputation may have been more than a little wild, the large thoroughfare that makes up Poncey-Highland’s northern edge has found a comfortable medium between its seedy past and an approachable and intriguing present. Couple that with the fact that the narrow neighborhood’s southern edge is the greenspace and trails of Freedom Park and you have a little community with more appeal than ever.
As much of a success story as Poncey-Highland has become, it very nearly faced a drastically different path. In the early 1960s, the entire neighborhood of Copenhill, which was situated on the hill where the Carter Center now sits, was razed to make way for a planned major freeway interchange. However, after an outcry from the surrounding communities, the freeway plan was eventually scrapped and the cleared land was repurposed as the fluidly designed Freedom Parkway. Instead of a massive freeway, Poncey-Highland was left with convenient access to the center of the city on a scale much more appropriate to the area.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Poncey-Highland is that on its quiet, little streets, where the attractive bungalows are heavily shaded by massive old Water Oaks, it’s easy to forget that you’re just steps away from some of Atlanta’s most prominent culture and nightlife, including Manuel’s Tavern, the Plaza Theatre, the classic duo Fellini’s and La Fonda, and the infamous Clermont Lounge.