The Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic District, an area bounded roughly by Irwin, Randolph, Edgewood, Jackson, and Auburn avenues, was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on May 2, 1974. The district included Ebenezer Baptist Church, the MLK grave site and memorial, the MLK birthplace, shotgun row houses, Victorian houses, the Alexander Hamilton House, the Atlanta Baptist Preparatory Institute site, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Colored Mission, Fire Station No. 6, and the Triangle Building at the intersection of Old Wheat Street and Auburn Avenue.
Much of the area was designated as a national historic landmark district on May 5, 1977.
By U.S. Congressional legislation, the site with associated buildings and gardens was authorized as a national historic site on October 10, 1980; it is administered by the National Park Service (NPS). A 22.4-acre (91,000 m2) area including 35 contributing properties was covered, including 22 previously included in the NRHP historic district. The area covered in the NRHP designation was enlarged on June 12, 2001.