It isn't on maps, any more, but another chunk of the Dixie Highway was long known locally as Stewart Avenue. It apparently earned a fairly notorious reputation in recent decades, culminating in the early 1990s when a group of suburban guys went down there for a bachelor party. After heading to a strip club, they ... well, accounts vary:
a) they picked up some hookers, went to a motel, found out the hookers were transvestites, and refused to pay;
b) they went to the motel in full knowledge that some of the hookers were transvestites, but there was still a dispute about payment, or;
c) the pimp tried to rob them.
Either way, when all was said and done, the groom and best man were dead, and a predictable uproar followed (though finding details on it is tough now: there's a surprising dearth of material on such a sordid story, though admittedly it's not the type of thing Atlanta would put in a tourism brochure). The city vowed to clean up the drugs/prostitution/murder smorgasbord that was Stewart Avenue, and in true Atlanta fashion, step one was renaming the street. It's now Metropolitan Parkway.
This all happened years before I even thought of moving down here. Articles now praise the transformation of Metropolitan Parkway, and all I can say is that if it's an improvement now, good God, it must have been really bad back in the early '90s.
To be fair, I've been down there about once a year over the past few years to shoot some photos, and there are signs of improvement -- and I've never felt threatened. There are some new and more upscale businesses down there, the ever-present Atlanta townhomes going in, and I guess many of the strip joints are gone, though the Gold Rush -- the one the ill-fated bachelor party went to before the motel -- is still there. (Drop by and say hi!) The Alamo Plaza Motor Court, the site of the shootings, is now an apartment complex so boring that I couldn't be bothered to take a picture.
But in general, it ain't pretty. There's a lot of boarded-up businesses, including the arson-hit FJ's Tavern building, the site of a triple murder about five years back.
There's a lot of signs for businesses that are not just gone, but otherwise completely eradicated; there's no trace of the buildings that once held the Greenwood Motel or the West Texas Music Club.
Undoubtedly, though, things will continue to improve -- Hapeville, nearby, seems to be quiet and suburban now, which I gather wasn't always the case. The townhomes will take over, at the expense of the current residents, most likely. But for now it's a chance to get past the gloss that Atlanta tries to put on things. It's not always pretty, but it's just as much a part of the city's history and personality as Buckhead or Five Points or Virginia-Highland.