In the early 1950s, Atlanta, the most populous city in
the U.S. Georgia, was growing at an incredible rate spilling its borders into the surrounding areas. Within a short period of time, it had tripled its area by annexing vast regions to the northwest, southwest and south of the city. Not all of these regions were keen on becoming a part of Atlanta. There were concerns about the effectiveness of a government that big. Some people were also worried about the way the African-American population was growing in the city and gaining political mileage.
As the 1950s gave way to the 1960s, the civil rights movement picked up steam and many white families of Atlanta sold their homes and moved across the Chattahoochee River and into Cobb County, that lies to the northwest of the city. But when it became apparent that Atlanta planned to annex this region as well, Cobb County decided to take action.
Gary McKee, a resident of the area, poses next to a sign marking the boundaries of the former city of Chattahoochee Plantation. Photo credit: Stephannie Stokes / WABE
What they did was incorporate a brand new city called Chattahoochee Plantation that ran along the Chattahoochee River spanning Cobb County's entire border with Atlanta. The city was thirty miles long, but only ten feet wide. It had no residents and no mayor, but that wasn’t necessary.
Chattahoochee Plantation’s job was to sit between Cobb County and Atlanta and prevent the city of Atlanta from expanding its limits into Cobb County, because according to state laws, no city could cross another city in an annexation move.
Atlanta’s mayor got the message and decided to stay out of Cobb County. In fact, Atlanta pretty much stopped expanding altogether.
Chattahoochee Plantation continued to remain a city until its status was revoked in 1995. Today, it exist as a small community, as a neighborhood in the city of Marietta.
In order to rekindle this little known tale of history, recently, a community activist erected a couple of road signs marking the boundaries of the former city of Chattahoochee Plantation. The signs has been baffling and intriguing drivers for the past few months. Thanks to Mr. Joe Gavalis, the man responsible for the signs, the story of Chattahoochee Plantation is now getting told.
City of Atlanta’s annexation plans in 1952. Photo credit: www.city-data.com
The city of Chattahoochee Plantation with its original boundaries shown on an old map from 1968. Photo credit: Atlanta Regional Commission
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