As a local heritage group continues its project documenting the community’s historic sites as part of a plan to increase the community’s green spaces, it has noticed a deficit of identified historic sites in north Buckhead.
Erica Danylchak, executive director of the Buckhead Heritage Society, told the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods on May 10 her group is working with the North Buckhead Civic Association to better understand the community’s historic resources.
She showed the BCN a map of the sites her group has identified.
“There are large swaths of District 7 where it appears we have no history,” she said.
Danylchak said north Buckhead remains a “question mark” for the group. “We decided to fill in those gaps and we decided the best way to do that was neighborhood outreach,” Danylchak said. “We want to collect oral histories, and document photographs and sites of importance.”
The project already has an enthusiastic partner in Gordon Certain, president of the North Buckhead Civic Association. Certain said the biggest issue in documenting the historic sites in his neighborhood where some of the community’s most lavish homes now stand is that much of north Buckhead was agricultural and sparsely populated in the 1800s.
Over the last 15 years, Certain has collected emails and anecdotes about suspected historic sites and has turned his research over to Danylchak.
He’s poured through a reference book compiled by historian Franklin Garrett. Slowly, the history of the area is coming into focus, he says.
Certain said Garrett believed Little Nancy Creek got its name from the Evins family who lived in the area in 1818. John and Nancy Evins owned substantial amounts of property around north Buckhead, and the creek is suspected to be Nancy’s namesake. There’s also a cemetery on Loridans Drive with graves dating back to the 1850s, he said.
According to the NBCA’s website, the Creek (Muscogee) Indians called the area home until they were uprooted by the federal government in 1821. So did the Creek Indians who fought for the British in the war of 1812.
These gems already known to the group could easily be outnumbered by the ones awaiting discovery, Certain said. But the clock is ticking.
“The window is closing rapidly on what we can learn about this neighborhood’s history because there are just a few people that are old enough to remember,” Certain said.
The research already has jogged the memories of north Buckhead residents, Danylchak said. During public events like the civic association’s fall festival, Buckhead Heritage has presented maps and other research. That got attendees talking and gave the historians new clues to follow.
Danylchak said they need more allies and that means people in the neighborhood who remember and can come forward to tell their stories.
“Unfortunately, Buckhead Heritage doesn’t quite have the resources to put together all the histories,” she said.