North Buckhead’s past lived anew for area residents Sunday afternoon.
In connection with the North Buckhead Civic Association’s annual Fall Fling, residents congregated in the Blue Heron Nature Preserve’s building to look at historic surveyors’ maps and development plans. Comparing present day homes, businesses and landmarks with what existed long ago proved an exciting detective game.
The “History Day” event at the nature preserve was the kickoff of a Buckhead Heritage Society project to gather oral histories and historic photos and documents of Buckhead neighborhoods for Livable Buckhead’s Buckhead Collection project. The historic information is to be used to provide historic guideposts for trails to be developed in Buckhead’s Council District 7.
Buchead Heritage Society Executive Director Erica Danylchak said Monday that the event was successful, with five oral histories recorded.
She said that displaying the maps and documents on walls and laying them out on a table “was a great way to jog people’s memories. “
Many of the maps' features and resulting stories swapped concerned oilman Wiley Moore, the major developer of the area. His home remains on Emma Lane, named for his wife. The Lakemoore name honors Moore and also refers to a lake Moore developed where employees of his oil company could come out from the cityfor picnics and paddleboat rides. The area didn’t become part of the city of Atlanta until 1950.
Resident Mary Jane Boley, who moved to the area in 1980, said she recalled Moore’s hunting lodge, which stood near his home until the lodge was torn down for the Stephens Mill Development. Other historic homes remain, such as the original Herrington estate home, and an original farmhouse on Whittington.
North Buckhead Civic Association President Gordon Certain pointed out an intriguing reference on a map to a business called the Wieuca Inn. Certain said the Wieuca Inn, which stood where the Roswell-Wieuca shopping center now stands, was torn down in 1955.
The heritage society had requested residents to bring historic photographs and documents, which Danylchak wanted to scan into the heritage society’s files, but no such photos were received.
“That was a little bit of a disappointment on that end of things,” she said. “We did have people asking questions about what our project was and who said ‘we’ll go back home and see what we have.' We have high hopes that we will encounter some things we wouldn’t have otherwise if we hadn’t had the history day.”
The Heritage Society will now reach out to other neighborhood associations to gather oral histories and historic photos and documents.
"District 7 is the focus, but we’re certainly not wedded to it being only District 7," Danylchak said. "The heritage society serves all of Buckhead, and neighborhoods outside of that have so many stories to tell.”
Councilman Howard Shook of District 7 launched the project after reports showed the district is the most underserved area of the city in regard to parks and civic plazas. Managed by Livable Buckhead, the project is seeking to develop greenspace in the area, including trails that will highlight the area’s historic and natural heritage. The Ga. 400 trail segment of the initiative is already in development.