West End is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the South with a history that predates the history of Atlanta. The neighborhood started as a cross-road tavern, While Hill Tavern, in 1835. Charles Humphries, a slave owner, started the tavern. The enslaved people who lived in the area made major contributions to the original West End.
The West End was originally an area not a part of the city of Atlanta. With the establishment of Terminus (now Atlanta) led to the eventual decline of the West End as the major center of business. After the Civil War, the West End developed as a sanctuary for Blacks. This was partially due to the establishment of Atlanta University, which was located nearby and became one of the main centers of higher learning for the emerging Black middle class. By 1868, half of the population of the neighborhood was Black.
In 1893, the West End officially became a part of Atlanta. After the annexation, the West End grew in popularity and prosperity. There was an increase in the building of residences and commercial buildings. Growth and prosperity continued in the area through the 1930s. By the 1970s, the West End had experienced a large amount of “white flight” that resulted in the neighborhood becoming over 80% African American. The area experienced decline and blight that continued until the 2000s. Investment in the neighborhood and attempts at urban renewal led to renewed interest and prosperity in the community and area. New residential and commercial buildings are appearing in the neighborhood and are bringing an influx of new residents.