By Mark S. Kuhar
This photo is courtesy of Atlanta Beltline Inc., Atlanta Rail Corridor Archive, accessed Aug. 18, 2016, http://atlrailcorridorarchive.org/items/show/430.
In 2006, the city of Atlanta purchased the quarry that had been in operation for more than 100 years. In December of that year, the Trust for Public Land preserved a 10-acre property located at the quarry entrance as an addition to the site. The entire property will be converted into a new 300-acre park along Atlanta’s Beltline, a 22-mile corridor of parks, trails and transit encircling downtown. The new park will be the largest in the city and the quarry itself will become a sparkling 1.9-billion-gal. water reservoir.
Surrounded by the neighborhoods of Grove Park, Howell Station and Knights Park, Bellwood originally had a dual purpose. In addition to using the granite from the quarry, Fulton County also used the quarry as a camp for prison labor.
After the prison labor system was removed in the South, the Bellwood Quarry began to operate under the hands of private corporations.
In more recent history, the quarry has begun a new phase of use. As Atlanta’s industrial past has waned, the city has turned to new sources of economic growth. Atlanta has begun to market itself as a city friendly to the production of television and movies. This in turn has made the Bellwood Quarry a popular spot for shooting both television and movie scenes.
The quarry is a favorite of Hollywood and the entertainment industry as a site location for filming. It has been featured in The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries, Game of Silence, The Divergent Series, The Hunger Games, the Fast and the Furious movies, The Fundamentals of Caring, Vacation and most recently, Stranger Things.
Finally, the city of Atlanta hopes that through the beltline revitalization project that people will be enticed to move back into the city. Bellwood Quarry, or West Side Reservoir Park as it will be called in the near future, will be integral to this process. The quarry has played an important role in the city’s past, and looks to play just as important a role in the city’s future.