Cabbagetown, is a little neighborhood on the east side of Atlanta between DeKalb Avenue and Moreland Drive, near and dear to my heart. In all, I have been a resident for more than twenty years and have seen so much change and growth in that time span. It is a very special place, with rich history and incredible fortitude, where people simply gravitate. Cabbagetown is an area not easily replicated. Through more than a century of change and perseverance, it has always maintained its charisma and character.
In 1881, Jacob Elsas, a German-Jewish immigrant, opened the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill and built up the small surrounding community of shotgun houses for his 2,500 mill workers. Originally known as Factory Town, the residents were largely poor whites from rural North Georgia. There are a few stories floating around explaining how the neighborhood received its unique current name. The one most repeated is that the transplanted Appalachian residents kept cabbages cooking while away at work at the mill all day. In an era with no central cooling, (and hence windows-open much of the year!), that recognizable, and well, distinct odor permeated the small streets. For almost one hundred years Cabbagetown remained home to a tight-knit community of people whose lives were more or less “anchored” by the mill. Its closing in 1977 is when the surrounding neighborhood deteriorated.
In the 1990s, Cabbagetown underwent revitalization efforts. Beginning in 1996, the mill was renovated into the nation’s largest residential loft community: the Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts. Never a stranger to adversity, Cabbagetown has had several close calls. In 1999, a five-alarm fire swept through the east building and destroyed several nearby homes. And a tornado in March 2008 damaged parts of the loft and many of the historic homes in Cabbagetown. Despite these challenges, Cabbagetown residents have always rallied and rebuilt, perhaps channeling some of the resiliency of their early Appalachian counterparts.
What To Do
Cabbagetown is adjacent to another hallmark of Atlanta history: Oakland Cemetery. Year-round Oakland Cemetery offers tours and events as one of our city’s true treasures. There are two parks in Cabbagetown. One 3 ½ acres and is simply known as Cabbagetown and is located in the heart of Cabbgetown on Kirkwood Avenue. The other, E. P. Lefevre Park, is a tiny treasured park with views of the city and a dog drinking fountain. Also, annually, the beloved Chomp and Stomp is held every year in early November. It is the neighborhood’s most lively event, with live bluegrass bands, local vendors, a chili cook-off and a 5K run. The festival has grown exponentially as people city-wide flock to enjoy all the charm and friendly spirit Cabbagetown has to offer.
What To Eat
Cabbagetown has several really exceptional spots for eating out:
Agave – southwestern-inspired dishes and carries nearly one hundred tequilas!
Carroll Street Café – popular from sunup for breakfast to sundown for dinner and drinks in a casual, friendly environment.
Cabbage Pie – some of the tastiest pizza around
Little’s Food Store – a popular grocery and grill since 1929
Sweet Cheats – delicious cupcakes, baked items, and coffee
Milltown Arms Tavern – where people come together to enjoy, tasty food, beer, conversation, and sports.
97 Estoria – eclectic vibe with traditional bar food as well as vegetarian friendly items