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DeKalb County, Georgia
Stone Mountain Park, DeKalb County, Georgia.jpg
Stone Mountain Park
Seal of DeKalb County, Georgia
Seal
Map of Georgia highlighting DeKalb County
Location in the state of Georgia (U.S. state)
Map of the U.S. highlighting Georgia
Georgia's location in the U.S.
Founded December 9, 1822
Named for Johann de Kalb
Seat Decatur
Largest city Atlanta (mostly in Fulton County)
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

271 sq mi (702 km²)
268 sq mi (694 km²)
3.6 sq mi (9 km²), 1.3%
Population
 -  Density


Congressional districts 4th, 5th, 6th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.co.dekalb.ga.us

DeKalb County ( /dəˈkæb/, /ˌdˈkæb/ -KAB, DEE-KAB) is located in the north central portion of the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2020 census, the population was 764,382,[1] making it Georgia's fourth-most populous county. Its county seat is Decatur.[2]

DeKalb County is included in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area. It contains roughly 10% of the city of Atlanta (the other 90% lies in Fulton County). DeKalb is primarily a suburban county.

In 2009, DeKalb earned the Atlanta Regional Commission's "Green Communities" designation for its efforts in conserving energy, water and fuel, investing in renewable energy, reducing waste, and protecting and restoring natural resources.

In 2021, non-profit American Rivers named DeKalb's South River the 4th most endangered river in the United States, citing "the egregious threat that ongoing sewage pollution poses to clean water and public health."[3]

In recent years, some communities in North DeKalb have incorporated, following a trend in other suburban areas around Metro Atlanta. Dunwoody and Brookhaven are now the largest cities entirely contained within the county.

DeKalb is the second most Democratic-leaning county in Georgia, only behind Clayton County. 83 percent of the votes cast in the 2020 presidential election were for Joe Biden.[4]

History[]

The area of DeKalb county was acquired by the state of Georgia as a result of the 1821 Treaty of Indian Springs with a faction of the Muscogee (Creek). DeKalb County, formed in 1822 from Henry, Gwinnett and Fayette counties, took its name from Baron Johann de Kalb (1721-1780), a Bavarian-born former officer in the French Army, who fought for the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War.[5] The oldest existing house in the county is the 1831 Goodwin House along Peachtree Road in Brookhaven. Much of the area was forested; a section of old-growth forest is preserved at Fernbank Forest.

In 1853, Fulton County formed from the western half of DeKalb, divided along a perfectly straight and due north–south line down the middle (along which Moreland Avenue now runs). Until this time, the growing city of Atlanta had been inside DeKalb. Atlanta grew because the city of Decatur did not want to become the railroad terminus in the 1830s, thus a spot at the Thrasherville encampment in western DeKalb was picked to become Terminus and then Marthasville, before becoming Atlanta a few years after its founding. North and southwest Fulton came from two other counties: Milton and southeast Campbell, respectively. DeKalb once extended slightly further north to the Chattahoochee River, but this strip was later given to Milton, and is now the panhandle of Sandy Springs.

During the Civil War, much of the Battle of Atlanta took place in DeKalb.

Until the 1960s, DeKalb was a mainly agricultural county, but as the sprawl of the metropolitan Atlanta region expanded, DeKalb became increasingly urbanized. Finished in 1969, the eastern half of the Interstate 285 beltway, called "the Perimeter", ringed the northeastern and southern edges of the county, placing most of it "inside the Perimeter" along with nearly all of Atlanta. Interstate 675 and Georgia 400 were originally planned to connect inside the Perimeter, along with the Stone Mountain Freeway (U.S. Highway 78) connecting with the Downtown Connector (a co-signment of I-75/I-85) near Moreland Avenue, destroying many neighborhoods in western DeKalb, but community opposition in the early 1970s spared them this fate of urbanization, although part of the proposed Stone Mountain Tollway later became the Freedom Parkway. Only Interstate 20 and Interstate 85 were successfully built through the county. DeKalb also became one of only two counties to approve MARTA rapid transit in the 1970s; the county now contains the east and northeast heavy rail lines.

In April 2018, more than 350 bus drivers for DeKalb County School District went on strike over low pay and poor working conditions, resulting in seven bus drivers being fired.[6]

The DeKalb County seal was created in 1967, by artist Jackson Bailey. The design is based on a passage from Aristotle in which a comparison is made between human progress and the relay race. The background landscape shows planted fields, which is a tribute to DeKalb's heritage as an agrarian community and Stone Mountain, now recognized as Georgia's most popular tourist attraction. The date of the county's founding, 1822, is at the bottom of the seal.[7]

Geography[]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 271 square miles (700 km2), of which 268 square miles (690 km2) is land and 3.6 square miles (9.3 km2) (1.3%) is water.[8] The county is located within the upper Piedmont region of the state.

The county is crossed by the South River and numerous creeks, including Nancy Creek, Snapfinger Creek and two forks of Peachtree Creek. Peachtree Creek and Nancy Creek drain into the Chattahoochee River and eventually to the Gulf of Mexico. South River drains into the Ocmulgee River and ultimately into the Atlantic Ocean.

The southern two-thirds of DeKalb County, in a line from Druid Hills northeast to Tucker, is located in the Upper Ocmulgee River sub-basin of the Altamaha River basin, while the portion of the county north of that line is located in the Upper Chattahoochee River sub-basin of the ACF River Basin (Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin).[9]

Stone Mountain lies near the eastern border of the county. Soapstone Ridge, parallel to the southern border, was heavily quarried between 1400 and 100 B.C. and objects made from the soapstone have been found as far away as the Great Lakes.

Adjacent counties[]

Demographics[]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1830 10,042
1840 10,467 4.2%
1850 14,328 36.9%
1860 7,806 −45.5%
1870 10,014 28.3%
1880 14,497 44.8%
1890 17,189 18.6%
1900 21,112 22.8%
1910 27,881 32.1%
1920 44,051 58.0%
1930 70,278 59.5%
1940 86,942 23.7%
1950 136,395 56.9%
1960 256,782 88.3%
1970 415,387 61.8%
1980 483,024 16.3%
1990 545,837 13.0%
2000 665,865 22.0%
2010 691,893 3.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
1790-1960[11] 1900-1990[12]
1990-2000[13] 2010-2019[1]

2019 ACS Estimates[]

2010 Census[]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 691,893 people, 271,809 households, and 161,453 families residing in the county.[17] The population density was 2,585.7 inhabitants per square mile (998.3 /km2). There were 304,968 housing units at an average density of 1,139.7 per square mile (440.0 /km2).[18] The racial makeup of the county was 54.3% black or African American, 33.26% white, 5.12% Asian, 0.4% American Indian, 4.5% from other races, and 2.39% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 9.8% of the population.[17] In terms of ancestry, 5.9% were English, 5.2% were German, and 3.5% were American.[19]

Of the 271,809 households, 32.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.8% were married couples living together, 18.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 40.6% were non-families, and 31.4% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.18. The median age was 34.3 years.[17]

The median income for a household in the county was $51,349 and the median income for a family was $60,718. Males had a median income of $43,663 versus $40,288 for females. The per capita income for the county was $28,412. About 12.4% of families and 16.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.2% of those under age 18 and 11.2% of those age 65 or over.[20]

Although Fulton County is more populous, DeKalb has the highest population density of any county in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

Economy[]

Major employers in DeKalb County include:

  • AT&T Mobility, headquartered in the Lenox Park neighborhood of Brookhaven
  • Emory Healthcare, located off of Clifton Road[21]
  • Emory University, located off of Clifton Road[21]
  • Kroger, which operates its Atlanta-area offices at 2175 Parklake Drive NE in Northlake[22]
  • DeKalb County School District, headquartered in Stone Mountain

Culture[]

Visitor attractions[]

  • Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve[23]
  • Stone Mountain Park[24]
  • Fernbank Museum of Natural History[25]
  • Fernbank Science Center[26]
  • Michael C. Carlos Museum[27]
  • Callanwolde Fine Arts Center[28]
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in DeKalb County, Georgia

DeKalb County 9/11 Memorial[]

The DeKalb County 9/11 Memorial[29] was dedicated on September 11, 2011.

U.S. Marine and sculptor Curtis James Miller designed a memorial that is located in front of the Dekalb County Fire and Police Headquarters. The memorial pays homage to the 343 New York Firefighters, 60 New York and Port Authority Police Officers and the more than 2800 civilian victims of the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001.

A piece of steel from one of the World Trade Center Towers in New York City is the centerpiece of this monument.

Government and politics[]

In recent years, along with many other counties in the Atlanta area, DeKalb County has voted strongly Democratic in presidential elections, while in the past it was more of a swing county, voting Democratic and Republican an equal number of times from 1960 until 1988. Following the 2020 United States election, there are no elected Republicans in the county.

United States presidential election results for DeKalb County, Georgia[30]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 58,377 15.74% 308,162 83.09% 4,338 1.17%
2016 51,468 16.19% 251,370 79.08% 15,011 4.72%
2012 64,392 20.98% 238,224 77.63% 4,242 1.38%
2008 65,581 20.31% 254,594 78.86% 2,671 0.83%
2004 73,570 26.61% 200,787 72.61% 2,152 0.78%
2000 58,807 26.73% 154,509 70.24% 6,664 3.03%
1996 60,255 29.08% 137,903 66.55% 9,071 4.38%
1992 70,282 32.62% 124,559 57.82% 20,594 9.56%
1988 90,179 48.94% 92,521 50.21% 1,550 0.84%
1984 104,697 57.52% 77,329 42.48% 0 0.00%
1980 74,904 44.74% 82,743 49.43% 9,758 5.83%
1976 67,160 43.60% 86,872 56.40% 0 0.00%
1972 104,750 77.35% 30,671 22.65% 0 0.00%
1968 52,485 50.35% 27,796 26.67% 23,956 22.98%
1964 49,448 57.09% 37,154 42.90% 11 0.01%
1960 24,046 49.93% 24,116 50.07% 0 0.00%
1956 15,718 34.44% 29,915 65.56% 0 0.00%
1952 15,588 42.76% 20,865 57.24% 0 0.00%
1948 5,758 29.50% 10,826 55.46% 2,937 15.05%
1944 2,555 17.47% 12,069 82.52% 1 0.01%
1940 2,081 18.94% 8,862 80.65% 45 0.41%
1936 1,137 13.28% 7,391 86.34% 32 0.37%
1932 633 10.48% 5,323 88.14% 83 1.37%
1928 2,378 50.91% 2,293 49.09% 0 0.00%
1924 590 18.20% 2,277 70.26% 374 11.54%
1920 803 30.30% 1,847 69.70% 0 0.00%
1916 197 10.37% 1,690 88.99% 12 0.63%
1912 431 18.21% 1,888 79.76% 48 2.03%
1908 356 26.16% 740 54.37% 265 19.47%
1904 213 16.08% 759 57.28% 353 26.64%
1900 216 20.67% 756 72.34% 73 6.99%
1896 439 32.45% 815 60.24% 99 7.32%
1892 496 20.68% 1,370 57.13% 532 22.19%
1888 313 23.24% 1,021 75.80% 13 0.97%
1884 450 30.51% 1,025 69.49% 0 0.00%
1880 330 27.36% 876 72.64% 0 0.00%



The current Chief Executive Officer of DeKalb County is Michael Thurmond. He took office on January 1, 2017.

Current County Commissioners as of January 2021:

Name District Political Party
Robert Patrick 1 Democratic
Jeff Rader 2 Democratic
Larry Johnson 3 Democratic
Steve Bradshaw 4 Democratic
Mereda Davis- Johnson 5 Democratic
Edward Terry 6 Democratic
Lorraine Cochran- Johnson 7 Democratic

Public safety[]

DeKalb County fire truck in Brookhaven

Unincorporated DeKalb County is policed by the DeKalb County Police Department; the DeKalb Sheriff's Office,[31] which is responsible for serving criminal warrants and securing the courts and county jail; and the DeKalb Marshal's Office, which serves civil processes issued through state court, such as evictions.

Fire services are provided throughout the county by DeKalb County Fire and Rescue.[32] Previously, DeKalb County Fire and Rescue also provided emergency medical services throughout the county; however, in 2013, DeKalb County signed a contract with American Medical Response to provide emergency medical services to the county.[33]

Federal representation[]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in the Druid Hills CDP as seen from Emory University

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is based in the Druid Hills CDP in an unincorporated area in the county.[34][35] The Federal Bureau of Investigation Atlanta Field Office is located in Chamblee.[36][37]

State representation[]

The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice has its headquarters in Avondale Estates, near Decatur.[38][39] The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has its headquarters near Decatur, in an unincorporated area.[40]

The Metro State Prison of the Georgia Department of Corrections was formerly located in an unincorporated area in DeKalb County.[41] Female death row inmates (UDS, "under death sentence") resided in the Metro State Prison.[42] The prison was closed in 2011.[43]

United States Congress[]

Senators Name Party Assumed Office Level
  Senate Class 2 Jon Ossoff Democratic 2021 Senior Senator
  Senate Class 3 Raphael Warnock Democratic 2021 Junior Senator
Representatives Name Party Assumed Office
  District 4 Hank Johnson Democratic 2007
  District 5 Nikema Williams Democratic 2021
  District 6 Lucy McBath Democratic 2019

Georgia General Assembly[]

Georgia State Senate[]

District Name Party Assumed Office
  10 Emanuel Jones Democratic 2005
  40 Sally Harrell Democratic 2019
  41 Steve Henson Democratic 2003
  42 Elena Parent Democratic 2015
  43 Tonya Anderson Democratic 2017
  44 Gail Davenport Democratic 2011
  55 Gloria Butler Democratic 1999

Georgia House of Representatives[]

District Name Party Assumed Office
  79 Mike Wilensky Democratic 2019
  80 Matthew Wilson Democratic 2019
  81 Scott Holcomb Democratic 2011
  82 Mary Margaret Oliver Democratic 2002
  83 Becky Evans Democratic 2019
  84 Renitta Shannon Democratic 2017
  85 Karla Drenner Democratic 2001
  86 Zulma Lopez Democratic 1991
  87 Viola Davis Democratic 2019
  88 Billy Mitchell Democratic 2003
  89 Bee Nguyen Democratic 2017
  90 Pam Stephenson Democratic 2003
  91 Rhonda Taylor Democratic 2021
  92 Doreen Carter Democratic 2015
  93 Dar'shun Kendrick Democratic 2011
  94 Karen Bennett Democratic 2013

Diplomatic missions[]

The Consulate-General of Mexico in Atlanta is located in the North Druid Hills CDP.[44][45] The Consulate-General of Guatemala in Atlanta is located in the North Atlanta CDP.[46][47] The Consulate-General of Peru in Atlanta is located in an unincorporated section of DeKalb County.[48]

Transportation[]

Major roads and expressways[]

  • Template:Jct/plate/GA/1 I-20
  • Template:Jct/plate/GA/1 I-85
  • Template:Jct/plate/GA/1 I-285
  • Template:Jct/plate/GA/1 I-675
  • Template:Jct/plate/GA/1 US 23
  • Template:Jct/plate/GA/1 US 29
  • Template:Jct/plate/GA/1 US 78
  • Template:Jct/plate/GA/1 US 278
  • Template:Jct/plate/GA/1 [[Template:Infobox road/GA/link SR|Template:Infobox road/GA/abbrev SR]]
  • Template:Jct/plate/GA/1 [[Template:Infobox road/GA/link SR|Template:Infobox road/GA/abbrev SR]]
  • Template:Jct/plate/GA/1 [[Template:Infobox road/GA/link SR|Template:Infobox road/GA/abbrev SR]]
  • Template:Jct/plate/GA/1 [[Template:Infobox road/GA/link SR|Template:Infobox road/GA/abbrev SR]]
  • Template:Jct/plate/GA/1 [[Template:Infobox road/GA/link SR-Conn|Template:Infobox road/GA/abbrev SR-Conn]]
  • Template:Jct/plate/GA/1 [[Template:Infobox road/GA/link SR|Template:Infobox road/GA/abbrev SR]]
  • Template:Jct/plate/GA/1 [[Template:Infobox road/GA/link SR|Template:Infobox road/GA/abbrev SR]]
  • Template:Jct/plate/GA/1 [[Template:Infobox road/GA/link SR|Template:Infobox road/GA/abbrev SR]]
  • Template:Jct/plate/GA/1 [[Template:Infobox road/GA/link SR|Template:Infobox road/GA/abbrev SR]]
  • Template:Jct/plate/GA/1 [[Template:Infobox road/GA/link SR|Template:Infobox road/GA/abbrev SR]]
  • Template:Jct/plate/GA/1 [[Template:Infobox road/GA/link SR|Template:Infobox road/GA/abbrev SR]]
  • Template:Jct/plate/GA/1 [[Template:Infobox road/GA/link SR|Template:Infobox road/GA/abbrev SR]]
  • Template:Jct/plate/GA/1 [[Template:Infobox road/GA/link SR|Template:Infobox road/GA/abbrev SR]]
  • Template:Jct/plate/GA/1 [[Template:Infobox road/GA/link SR|Template:Infobox road/GA/abbrev SR]]
  • Template:Jct/plate/GA/1 [[Template:Infobox road/GA/link SR|Template:Infobox road/GA/abbrev SR]]

Mass transit[]

Xpress GA / RTA commuter buses and MARTA heavy rail subway and buses serve the county.

Pedestrians and cycling[]

Currently, there are plans for the construction of a multi-use trail, known as the Peachtree Creek Greenway. The goal of the greenway is to provide residents with close-to-home and close-to-work access to bicycle and pedestrian trails, serve transportation and recreation needs, and help encourage quality of life and sustainable economic growth. The trail will connect the cities of Atlanta, Brookhaven, Chamblee and Doraville.

  • Arabia Mountain Path
  • Chamblee Rail Trail
  • Hill Loop Trail
  • Nancy Creek Trail
  • Peachtree Creek Greenway (Under construction)
  • South Peachtree Creek Trail
  • Stone Mountain Trail (Under construction)

Education[]

Primary and secondary education[]

Public schools[]

The portion of DeKalb County not within the city of Atlanta or the city of Decatur is served by DeKalb County School District (formerly DeKalb County School System). The Atlanta portion is served by Atlanta Public Schools. The Decatur portion is served by Decatur City School District.

On December 17, 2012, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools announced that it had downgraded the DeKalb County Schools System's status from "on advisement" to "on probation" and warned the school system that the loss of their accreditation was "imminent."[49]

Private schools[]

Private schools in DeKalb County include:

  • Atlanta Jewish Academy Upper School (former Yeshiva Atlanta) in Doraville[50][51]
  • Benjamin Franklin Academy (unincorporated area)
  • Howard Scholars Academy (Decatur)
  • Marist School (Brookhaven)
  • Mohammed Schools (unincorporated area)[52]
  • Paideia School (Atlanta)
  • Saint Thomas More Catholic Elementary & Middle School (Decatur)
  • St. Pius X Catholic High School (Chamblee)
  • Friends School of Atlanta (Decatur)
  • Waldorf School of Atlanta (Decatur)
  • Academe of the Oaks (Decatur)

From its opening in 1990 until 2003,[53] the Seigakuin Atlanta International School was located on the property of Oglethorpe University in Brookhaven, an unincorporated area.[54]

Higher education[]

Emory University

Agnes Scott College is a private, all female, undergraduate liberal arts college in Decatur.

Emory University is a private, coeducational, liberal arts university. It is a member of the Association of American Universities, an association of leading research universities in the US and Canada. The university consists of the following divisions: Emory College of Arts and Science, the Laney Graduate School, Candler School of Theology, Goizueta Business School, Emory University School of Law, Rollins School of Public Health, and the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.

Mercer University is a private, coeducational, faith-based university with a Baptist heritage. Its main campus is in Macon. The Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus is in DeKalb County; it houses the College of Nursing, the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology along with programs of the Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics, the School of Medicine, and the Tift College of Education.

Oglethorpe University is a private, coeducational, liberal arts school in Brookhaven and is named after James Oglethorpe, founder of the Georgia Colony.

Georgia Perimeter College (formerly DeKalb College) has three campuses within the county and offers two-year associate degrees.

Georgia Military College (GMC) has a satellite campus in Stone Mountain Village.

Georgia Piedmont Technical College[55] (formerly DeKalb Technical College) is the largest vocational institution in Georgia. Georgia Piedmont Technical College trains students in business, engineering, technologies, health, human services, industrial arts, information systems, and transportation.

DeVry University offers bachelor's and master's degrees in healthcare, accounting, business, and management technology.

Columbia Theological Seminary is a theological institution of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in Decatur. More than 640 students are enrolled at Columbia in one of five degree programs: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Theological Studies, Master of Theology, Doctor of Ministry, and Doctor of Theology.

Luther Rice College and Seminary is a private Christian college and seminary in Lithonia. It offers bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs in ministry and ministry-related programs.

Public libraries[]

The DeKalb County Public Library has 22 branches throughout the county.

Communities[]

Cities[]

  • Atlanta (part)
  • Avondale Estates
  • Brookhaven
  • Chamblee
  • Clarkston
  • Decatur
  • Doraville
  • Dunwoody
  • Lithonia
  • Pine Lake
  • Stonecrest
  • Stone Mountain
  • Tucker

Census-designated places[]

  • Belvedere Park
  • Candler-McAfee
  • Druid Hills
  • Gresham Park
  • North Decatur
  • North Druid Hills (also known as Briarcliff or Toco Hills)
  • Panthersville
  • Redan
  • Scottdale

Unincorporated communities[]

  • Buford Highway
  • Collinsville
  • Conley (partly)
  • Ellenwood
  • Embry Hills
  • Flair Forest
  • Lenox Park (neighborhood in Brookhaven)
  • Mountain View
  • Northlake
  • Pittsburg
  • Smoke Rise
  • Snapfinger

Ghost town[]

  • Constitution

See also[]

  • National Register of Historic Places listings in DeKalb County, Georgia
  • Dekalb County District Attorney's Office
  • DeKalb County School District
  • Sidney Dorsey, Former sheriff & murderer

Bibliography[]

  • DeKalb Historical Society. Vanishing DeKalb: A Pictoral History. Decatur, Ga.: DeKalb Historical Society, 1985. ISBN 0-9615459-0-9
  • Mason, Herman. "Skip" Jr. African-American Life in DeKalb County, 1821–1970. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing, 1998. ISBN 0-7385-0034-8
  • Owens, Sue Ellen, and Megan Milford. DeKalb County in Vintage Postcards. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing, 2001. ISBN 0-7385-1401-2
  • Price, Vivian. The History of DeKalb County, Georgia, 1822–1900. Fernandina Beach, Fla.: Wolfe Publishing Company, 1997. ISBN 1-883793-27-0

References[]

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  5. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off.. pp. 103. https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_9V1IAAAAMAAJ. 
  6. ^ Wilson, Lori (April 20, 2018). "At least 7 bus drivers fired over DeKalb schools 'sick out'". Cox Media Group. https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/dekalb-county/dekalb-schools-say-major-drop-off-delays-after-42-of-drivers-call-in-sick/734777024. 
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Coordinates: 33°46′N 84°14′W / 33.77, -84.23

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