Hidden Gem: Historic Collier Heights

This month my family and I have enjoyed learning new things about our history. We have been able to uncover a good amount of “Hidden figures” that we’ve never heard of before.

Last year while doing at bit of neighborhood research I stumbled across a community called Historic Collier Heights. I loved the mid century architecture and the uniqueness of each home. One thing that I’ve learned in my real estate journey is that each home tells a story of the people that once lived there. You just have to look a little bit deeper to see it.

Historic Collier Heights was constructed in the 1950’s. This is the first neighborhood built, designed, financed, and constructed by African Americans for African Americans. During that time their weren’t many financing options available to obtain a home loan due to  Jim Crow laws and red lining. Often times when Blacks would begin to move into white neighborhoods it would drive the value of the property down which caused whites to flee to the suburbs. 

That’s when Collier Heights was formed! Collier Heights was founded by some of Atlanta’s Black elite including business man Herman J. Russell, Martin Luther King Sr., Ralph David Abernathy, and Civil Rights Attorney Donald Lee Howell just to name a few. Collier Heights consists of black doctors, attorneys, educators, and entrepreneurs. 


Recreation room on Chalmers Dr. Photo Courtesy of Kevin Polite

In addition to the lack of housing options, Atlanta’s entertainment life was limited for African Americans as well. Collier Heights consists of mid century ranch style homes with manicured lawns and large basements. During that time residents referred to their basements as recreation rooms. The recreation rooms were used to entertain and host lavish gatherings and parties. I’ve even heard that there is a home in the neighborhood with a bowling alley inside! During the time when we didn’t have the opportunity to go to our local bowling alley or swimming pool, residents in Collier Heights built and constructed their own.

Herman Russell’s former home located on Shorter Terrance. Photo courtesy of Jena Kennedy

Recently I met a long time neighbor that designed and built her home in the late 50’s and she is so excited to see new young families move into the neighborhood that will keep on the legacy and pride of what Historic Collier Heights has always stood for.

If you’re interested in learning more about Collier Heights, or interested in purchasing a home in this stunning community contact me here.