One of the most eagerly anticipated events of the holiday season in Atlanta, Historic Grant Park’s Candlelight Tour of Homes first began in 1980 as a benefit for a pioneering community daycare center. Over the years, the tour has grown and evolved into a fundraiser for three cherished community organizations: St. Paul United Methodist Church, the Grant Park Cooperative Preschool, and the Grant Park Parent’s Network.
The Candlelight Tour traditionally takes place on the second weekend in December and provides an intimate and charming way to experience both the past and present of the historic Grant Park neighborhood. And you’ll soon realize that “Candlelight Tour” isn’t just a slogan, as you’ll be enchanted by the warm glow of candles and holiday lights at every stop. There is hardly a more delightful way to experience the Grant Park neighborhood, which was founded by Col. Lemuel P.Grant in 1885, and consists largely of original Victorian, Queen Anne and Craftsman homes that were constructed between 1885–1910.
The Grant Park story is one of urban decay and renewal, as the neighborhood suffered catastrophic decline after the construction of I-20 in the early 1960s, which required the demolition of over 300 homes and businesses and divided the neighborhood North and South. A restoration trend began in the 1970s and gathered momentum in the 80s. In 1979, a portion of the neighborhood south of I-20 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, which was then expanded north of I-20 in 1986. As the neighborhood rebounded into the 1990s, demolition of older homes was largely halted, and many large homes that were once subdivided into apartments were restored to single-family use.
In 2000, the Grant Park neighborhood became Atlanta’s largest Historic District, bringing additional zoning protections, incentives for historically sensitive renovations, and the requirement that new construction conforms to the character of the old neighborhood. Grant Park today is a vibrant and diverse neighborhood with a mixture of long-time and new residents of every background. Come join us as we celebrate the holidays in Grant Park style!