Monday, January 17, 2011

Emory Grove - Historic Atlanta Neighborhood

Emory Grove is a historic neighborhood of bungalow-style homes, built in the latter part of 1939 and early 1940's by L. Neal Smith, a prominent builder of the time.  Mr. Smith's original advertisement read, "Emory Grove, a community of durable and artistic homes owned by conservative cultured Americans".  Emory Grove consists of 3 streets, Princeton Way, Westminster Way, and Edinburgh Terrace, as well as a few homes along North Decatur Road.  Three Parks with baseball fields, walking areas, playgrounds, tennis courts and picnic areas are located within the neighborhood itself.

Mr. Smith then  emphasized the convenience to schools from kindergarten through University without crossing a thoroughfare, the location of Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist Churches within 4 blocks, paved streets and Park areas in each block, "where the investment of a reasonable sum of money plus well made plans will insure to those fortunate and wise enough to investigate, both a comfortable home and an opportunity to grow with one of the most ideally located communities in or around Atlanta".  By the end of the second year, the area was 96% developed and owner occupied, although there were only a few homes on North Decatur Road at the time.

As the subdivision was built during the Depression/World War II years, most families had litle money and very few owned automobiles.  The women on the street liked to go to into Atlanta shopping and would ride the trolley, which ended at Emory Village.  During inclement weather, it was necessary to get a taxi to reach the Village.  Claude Jones had a Ford Sedan that belonged to his father and he ran the taxi service, charging 5 cents.

The original owners of this new subdivision were young couples who moved here to raise their families.  Arthur Hutchins was one of the early homeowners and was the first GBI agent in Georgia - the only one for some time.  The famous Presbyterian Minister, Peter Marshall, and his wife, Catherine, who wroter, "A Man Called Peter", lived in the Honeymoon Cottage, until they moved to Washington, D.C.

Except for the traffic, the area remains much the same today. It's  a vibrant, busy community with close neighbors and family-friendly Park events. Many of the homes have been renovated and updated, and new homeowners are enjoying the convenience to schools, shopping, and close-by restaurants.

In 2000, Emory Grove was listed on the Historic National Register, which protects the neighborhood from encroachment and maintains the integrity and scale of the homes.  Although surrounded by retail ventures and less than a mile from Emory University, Emory Grove is a charming oasis in the bustling City of Atlanta.

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