Home History Grant Park’s Long Lost Lake

Grant Park’s Long Lost Lake


In the summer, Atlantans flock to the nearest body of water to take refuge from the heat. Back in the day, that place was Lake Abana.

Beginning in the 1880s, Grant Park was home to a popular lake comprised of several mineral springs expanding over six acres of land. In 1886, a crowd of over 10,000 people came to watch performer Professor Leon tightrope-walk across Lake Abana, while his wife performed a sewing exhibition on a 50-foot-high platform.

In the 1960s, the lake was drained to build a parking lot for the neighboring Grant Park zoo.

Haley Haas, SPR Atlanta

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Alton Ford Chance March 19, 2017 - 12:46 pm

This is not totally true about the lake. And I don’t think much, if any, of the lake was covered by the parking lot. parts of it remained in the children’s area of the zoo after it was drained. i have a couple of photos somewhere of us with our son there in the 70’s. you can also see remnants of it just after you enter zoo atlanta, which is approximately where the north edge was in the 60’s. And, I also think the low watery area where turtles and other water creatures are in zoo atlanta is part of the old lake. in fact, i am not sure if any of it was paved. the parking lot existed between the cyclorama and roundhouse before that, and it appears to have been built south only in the area that the roundhouse occupied. i have read that very long ago the lake extend to the north past the cyclorama, and there is a pic at the AHC of that. some of that area would have been paved when they built the parking lot originally, long before 1960, and also, the lower part of the original lake, was turned into the big concrete swimming pool built around 1915, i think

Cynthia Bohannon-Brown July 12, 2023 - 12:01 pm

Thanks Alton Ford Chance for that information. I’m heading to the Atlanta History Center soon. I will ask about it❣️

Gayle Kilpatrick Smith September 11, 2023 - 11:17 pm

There was a very large concrete pool there by the pond and where the bears were housed in the bank at Cherokee Ave. The pool was shut down and closed after the 1958 summer ended.


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