Last summer, my parents made the trip to Atlanta to visit me for the first time since I’d moved here in the midst of the pandemic. In an effort to avoid either sitting at home the entire time or going out and exposing ourselves to COVID, we spent a lot of time driving around the city and looking at things from the car window. As is probably completely common for anyone not from around here, my dad almost immediately remarked upon the repetition of the word “peach” in the names of streets, businesses and nearly everything else across the city’s landscape. Putting my geographer hat on (the real question is whether I ever take it off!), I wondered whether this phenomena was universal, or whether there was something unique about the distribution of these peach names?
In an effort to answer this question authoritatively, I used the USGS National Transportation Dataset for the state of Georgia to identify all streets, roads and highways across the state that included the word “peach” in their name. These are what I call Georgia’s “Peach Streets”. After accounting for divided highways or parkways that duplicate the mileage for a given road, I calculate that the state of Georgia is home to approximately 217.5 total miles of Peach Streets.
But, as I suspected might be the case, these Peach Streets aren’t evenly distributed across all 159 of Georgia’s counties. While most of the state’s counties have at least one Peach Street, they are usually extremely short and less than a mile in length. Meanwhile, just the top five counties listed below are home to over half of the state’s total Peach Street mileage. Metro Atlanta counties like Gwinnett, Fulton and DeKalb, which rank #1, #2 and #4 statewide in total mileage of Peach Streets, are home not only to numerous Peach Streets each – the 20 county Atlanta region famously has 71 different streets with some variation of the name Peachtree – but also individual Peach Streets that stretch a dozen or more miles on their own.
|#1. Gwinnett||39.13 miles|
|#2. Fulton||29.32 miles|
|#3. Richmond||16.47 miles|
|#4. DeKalb||15.45 miles|
|#5. Forsyth||14.60 miles|
Conspicuously absent from the Top 5 Counties is Peach County in central Georgia, which has just the 6th most miles of Peach Streets in the state, despite being named after peaches itself! As is true for many counties across the state, nearly all of Peach County’s 11 miles of Peach Streets are concentrated on a single road, in this case the roughly 9.5 miles of Peach Parkway that run across the county. Third-ranked Richmond and fifth-ranked Forsyth counties have a similar dynamic, with almost all of their total mileage being made up by Peach Orchard Road and Peachtree Parkway, respectively.
Despite Fulton County ranking second in total mileage of Peach Streets across the state, it’s really the City of Atlanta pulling most of the weight for the county. Nearly 22 of the 29 total miles of Peach Streets in Fulton County actually lie within Atlanta’s city limits. If we were to separate out the city from the surrounding county, Atlanta proper would rank second statewide behind only Gwinnett County, which sits far out in the lead thanks to the 23.5 miles of Peachtree Industrial Boulevard that run diagonally across the length of the county.
All that being said, it’s important to note that for all the concentration of Peach Street mileage in a handful counties, a number of Georgia counties have no Peach Streets whatsoever! Indeed, of the Peach State’s 159 counties, 45 (or nearly 30%) have no streets named after peaches at all. So while we can’t be entirely sure the reason why so many places have a dearth of Peach Streets, their absence casts some doubt on just how peachy things are across the Peach State.