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It was a clear, warm day as English Avenue residents came together on Friday to honor a longtime member of the neighborhood. A red ribbon draped across the porch of a little home with purple pillars and a yellow door.
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The Mattie Freeland Community House was officially open.
Mattie Freeland, or “Miss Mattie” as some people called her, lived on the corner of Dalvigney and Echo Street for more than 50 years. And although she passed away several years ago, community members still remember how kind she was.
“She helped me feel at home in a place where I didn’t have any family, where I had to get to know people fresh,” Stephen Causby said. He attended New Life Covenant Church with Freeland when he first moved to Atlanta. “She was kind of like a grandmother to me for those four years.”
Mironda Williams, Freeland’s granddaughter, said the building is new but it sits on the footprint of “Miss Mattie’s” old home.
“I wanted to make sure that it was rebuilt so it looked like it did all the years that she lived in it,” Williams said. “It was always just a cinder block house on the corner.”
The home will host meetings and workshops for the community. The first meetings are expected to begin later this month.
As for what’s next? A park also honoring the memory of Miss Mattie is slated to be built adjacent to the home.