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History of the Parker H. Petit Science Center Location

Opened in March 2010, the Parker H. Petit Science Center is a high-tech, 350,000-square-foot building that is home to advances in research and learning, attracting educators from a wide array of disciplines, ranging from biology to nursing.

Before construction on the center could begin at the corner of Decatur Street and Piedmont Avenue, officials researched the archaeological significance of the site as part of required impact studies and found that its history over the past century reflects Atlanta’s ever-changing nature.

Before the Civil War, Decatur Avenue was lined with a few homes. Miraculously, some of the houses survived the burning of Atlanta in 1864, though houses and businesses east of there were incinerated.

As Atlanta was rebuilt, the block changed into a commercial and industrial district in the late 19th century, serving as the home for the Atlanta Foundry and the Atlanta Wagon and Timber Company.

The Atlanta Police Department headquarters and the local jail would eventually be located near the site, where the buildings would remain until the 1990s.