Lenox Square, 1968 vs 2020

Photo by Jamison's Photography, courtesy Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center

We recently came across this aerial photo of Lenox Mall and the surrounding area from 1968. Just for fun, we decided to recreate the same height and angle to show how much has changed. Slide the center tab from left to right across the photo below to compare and see for yourself. Note that the 1968 image shows Phipps Plaza under construction in the background:

On August 3, 1959 Lenox Square opened to the public for the first time. Originally composed of 60 retail fronts and anchored by Rich’s and Davison’s department stores as well as the Colonial Stores grocery chain, Lenox Square was an open air shopping center that quickly became a mecca for local families. In this aerial photo captured by Jamison’s Photography in 1968 looking west you can see the colonnade spanning the outdoor walkways that connected the shops. 

The shopping center initially contained 800,000 square feet of retail space over three levels: the mall, plaza, and market. Original tenants included a bowling alley, indoor driving range, and a 5-and-dime store. In the decades that followed Lenox has served as a central meeting point for the community as well as the starting line for the Peachtree Road Race since its inception in 1979. 

Out of four major renovations, one of the most iconic changes to the shopping center came in the late 1970s when the walkways were completely enclosed. Additional floors, a food court, and movie theater were added expanding the center’s appeal even more. Today Lenox Square contains 1,558,678 square feet of retail space with 198 storefronts, anchored by Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, and Macy’s. Visited by more than 35 million people every year, it is one of the most popular and profitable shopping centers in the United States.

While a lot has changed as evidenced by these contrasting photos from 1968 and 2020, there are a few things that have remained the same. We spy the Atlanta Business Chronicle building next to Lenox Towers, “Buckhead’s original address,” in the top left corner along Peachtree, as well as the office building at 3355 Lenox Road tucked behind the JW Marriott Atlanta Buckhead hotel on the right side of the frame. What was once dense forest surrounding the shopping center is now mostly office buildings and high-rises, and the introduction of GA400 along the left side of the frame has drastically changed the landscape of the area. 

What differences or similarities can you see in these two pictures?

Photo by Jamison's Photography, courtesy Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center
Lenox Square 1968. Photo by Jamison's Photography, courtesy Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center
Photo by Brian Parris for Buckhead.com, 2020
Lenox Square 2020. Photo by Brian Parris for Buckhead.com