Ponce de Leon Avenue was a destination for scenic picnics to its springs (located under the present City Hall East, the old Sears Building), which were thought to have healing powers. An amusement park was located across from the springs during the 1880s. Residential development then proceeded along Ponce de Leon Avenue. The fire of 1917 which devastated approximately 2000 homes south of Ponce was arrested in its path when Mayor Asa Candler created a fire trench line by dynamiting homes between North Avenue and Ponce de Leon.
Due to a housing shortage during World War II, many of these large homes were subdivided and rented out as rooms. The post-war period led to a general decline of the neighborhood through the early 1970s. The bottom was hit during the mid-1970s with the end of the Strip, with its “Tight Squeeze” area at Peachtree and Tenth Streets, which had become a gathering place during the 1960s for drug users and prostitution.