West Hancock Avenue Historic District

West Hancock Avenue Historic District

The West Hancock Avenue Historic District is a historic, urban, black neighborhood roughly bounded by Franklin Street on the east, Broad Street to the south, The Plaza on the west, and Hill Street on the north, with Hancock Avenue serving as the main transportation corridor. It is one of only two historically black districts on the National Register in Athens (the other being the Reese Street Historic District), and it is among the most intact black districts in the state.

It is significant in terms of black history, architecture, and community planning and development. The district typifies a land use pattern associated with Georgia communities in which black neighborhoods were relegated to under-utilized land. It was noted in a 1913 Phelps-Stokes Fellowship Study that this area between Milledge Avenue and the city limits had become a little town in itself, with more than 1,100 of the city’s 6,300 black residents living there.

A broad spectrum of Athens’ black citizens—from educators, doctors and lawyers to skilled and unskilled laborers—lived within the district. Among its better known residents was educator Annie Mack Burney (1884-1963), whose father John Mack was also a teacher, and Dr. Donarell R. Green (1908-1980), a physician who operated the Susan Medical Center, a maternity hospital located in a house on the corner of Hancock Avenue and Chase Street.

The West Hancock Avenue Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.