Atlanta (Peachtree Streets)

What the hell is up with all the Peachtree streets in Atlanta? I have a hotel on W Peachtree street (actually, W Peachtree St NW, although the hotel doesn’t advertise the “NW” part, and neither do some of the street signs. I get off the MARTA at the Arts Center stop ($6 roundtrip from the airport vs. probably a $40 one-way cab ride) and it’s a lively part of town with the arts center, restaurants, businesses and hotels. Lots of tourists and business travelers around, unfamiliar with the area. So why do they name every street going in every direction some version of Peachtree?

After a few wrong guesses, I start asking random people where W Peachtree St is, and it turns out that the natives don’t know either. The point me in the direction I had just come from, including one to W Peachtree St NE (?) I wondered “What’s next, EW Peachtree St?” “No, dude, you want Upside Down Peachtree Street.” I finally accosted a UPS driver who knew my hotel and guided me in the right direction, which was 200 yards from the MARTA stop.

Also, what is up with the guys just hanging out? They’re everywhere - on street corners, on the steps of buildings, and especially at the train stop. I expected to be hit up for spare change, but no, they just king of nod politely at you as you walk by.

Strange place.

My guess – they are there to collect all the falling peaches.

Holt Park, England
Pearl City, HI

I’m reading this in my office on West Peachtree St. If you look at a map of Atlanta, you’ll see that West Peachtree St. is, well, west of Peachtree St. As for the naming convention, no one here knows either.

By the way, this part of town closes up around 6 pm when everyone goes home. A few restaurants and bars remain open. If you’re looking for some night life, head north to the Buckhead and Virginia Highlands areas.

Yeah, around that area there are just two Peachtrees - Peachtree and West Peachtree. That’s not terribly difficult.

Wait, what? I mean I realize that Arts Center area is North Midtown, but Midtown has quite a lively night life - probably more so than Buckhead.

Oh, and in addition, the Highlands would be east from Arts Center, not north.

Peaches come
From a can
They were put there
By a man
In a factory downtown

On Peachtree St., perhaps.

Uh, no. There’s W Peachtree St NW, W Peachtree St NE (about two blocks away!), regular Peachtree Street, Peachtree St NE, Peachtree Cir.

There are probably more.

The idea was to name things after our biggest agricultural export, but it turns out nobody really liked “Peanut Street”.

Peachtree Street turns into Peachtree Road. Just so you know.

It’s a black people thing. White people hang out inside. But black people like to be outside.

OK, seriously…

  1. No, there is not a street called “W Peachtree St NW”. It’s just West Peachtree street. The NW/NE thing is a called a directional suffix. Many cities use this scheme because street numbers can be repeated. I don’t know why this is the case; I guess in hindsight somebody felt like 5-digits would be too long for a street address, so they’d just reuse numbers in a completely different part of town.
  2. Yes, the address directionals are not on the street signs. In Atlanta, consider yourself lucky if you see a street sign at all. For some reason we seem to hate them.
  3. Sorry you got bad directions. It’s probably because you were specifying the directional and confused all parties concerned.
  4. Yes, the metropolitan area has an absurd number of streets with Peachtree in the name. It’s repetitive and a little confusing, but mostly they’re so broadly dispersed that people don’t get confused.
  5. The people waiting around at the train station and street corners were most likely waiting for buses, as these are generally agreed to be ideal places to locate bus stops.

Atlanta native here, I can answer this one.

It’s all one street, or was. When the original road contractor in Atlanta built the first road it was to be called Peachtree Street, to honor the famous GA crop. There really was no city, folk decided to it made sense to build a road first on the theory of “If you build it, they will come” (if you stroke it, they will come also - but that’s another story). These fine folk made the mistake of paying the contractor by the hour, and at a pretty good rate. Being no dummy, he made the job last as long as possible. When he was done Peachtree Street was one mighty fine 10 mile long road. The problem was that, in order to milk the job as long as possible, the contractor also built it 10 miles wide. By the time the pride wore off among the natives, Mr. Contactor had retired to LA, CA. Now a 10 square mile road is a thing of beauty, indeed, but does create a problem with where the buildings would go. Every proper city needs buildings, and preferably close together. The locals got together, noodled on the issue and determined that the best way to go would be to dig up the beautiful road wherever they needed a building. They did not, however, have the heart to change the name of the resulting asphalt between the buildings any more than necessary. Hence, a big city and many variations on Peachtree.

TL/DR - Peachtree is to Atlanta thorougfares as Pangaea is to continents. I hope that helps.

ETA: Those guys standing around are the Atlanta Falcons defense. They couldn’t stop anyone.

Way back, when my wife and I lived in Atlanta (off Peachtree-Dunwoody Rd), we used to joke that in Atlanta there were 23,000 different roads, all named Peachtree.

Now here’s a rant I can get behind. Peachtree-Dunwoody Road, Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, and Chamblee-Tucker road. The hell?

Well, “Chamblee-Dunwoody Road” is the road between Chamblee and Dunwoody, and “Chamblee-Tucker Road” is the road between Chamblee and Tucker. Once upon a time, Atlanta and Decatur and Chamblee and so forth were all separate little towns, separated by farms and countryside, instead of various random bits of the generalized urban blob that is 21st century Greater Atlanta, and I suppose that sort of name made more sense back then.

I do strongly suspect that a lot of things about the streets and roads around these parts (odd non-right-angle intersections, roads where the numbering system re-starts once the street has reached some different town, roads that just up and change their names, streets where the street name veers off to the left or right even as the actual piece of road continues on straight, and of course all the “Peachtrees”) are all secretly part of a deep-laid plot to baffle and confuse the Yankees in the event that The War ever breaks out again and the Union Army is coming back down to burn the place to the ground again.

I’m with OP, all the Peach streets as well as curved and crooked streets made it confusing to get around on my sole visit to Atlanta.

I just stay in my Decatur enclave and don’t tax my brain with the Peachtrees or the Dunwoodys.

Several years ago my family and I spent an unplanned day in Atlanta en route to Brazil, thanks to Delta…delaying us for our connecting flight.

While trying to figure out the MARTA ticketing system in a station on Peachtree, of all things, one of those fellows came up and helped us, explaining how the machine worked and even hitting the buttons for us.
That’s it. He didn’t ask for money, and smiled as he said for us to have a nice day.

It blew me away. I’m from New Jersey, and to me such a scene in a desolate subway station is always prelude to a mugging or at least being hit up for a few bucks. I feel bad I didn’t think to hand the guy a fiver.

I swear one day I got lost at the crossroads of Peachtree and Peachtree.

In my defense, only one of the roads had a sign.

Every tenth visitor gets knifed and entombed in the drywall ceiling of a Vine City crackhouse. You just beat the odds.