Betsy Crosby has lived in Buckhead’s historic Brookwood Hills neighborhood for more than 30 years, but writing a book on the neighborhood taught her things she never knew.
“One of the things I had not ever known about much was just how extremely — let’s just say high end — the Brookwood area was,” Crosby said. “It was probably the most beautiful area in all of Atlanta at the turn of the century, with beautiful mansions and by the ‘50s and ‘60s, those were gone.”
Today the neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The neighborhood, consisting of about 350 homes, is featured in a book Crosby co-authored with Elaine Luxemburger: “Images of America: Brookwood Hills.”
Crosby is a writer who has published articles in Atlanta Magazine and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Luxemburger, also a longtime Brookwood Hills resident, is an architectural historian.
The two knew a kid from the neighborhood who had done pretty well for himself and asked him to write the forward. Ed Helms, a TV star best known for his work on “The Office,” grew up in the neighborhood.
“My street was teeming with kids,” Helms writes in the forward. “We played kickball in our yards and even cut our own BMX track into the woods at the end of the street. Come Christmastime, we were often caroling around the neighborhood. Was it a nice place to grow up? Let’s just say Norman Rockwell would’ve had a field day.”
The community was established in 1922, but it had a colorful history prior to that, Crosby said. The Battle of
Peachtree Creek, fought in 1864, started there and Crosby said it proved to be a turning point in the American Civil War.
“I didn’t appreciate until I did this book and how it was one of the triggers of the momentum that allowed Sherman to vanquish Atlanta and how close it came to the tide turning in favor of the confederates,” Crosby said.
Crosby said Luxemburger was instrumental in getting the neighborhood added to the National Register. Some of the book drew upon interviews she’d conducted in the 1980s.
“She had sponsored a project had convinced the neighborhood legacy ladies, women who were over 60, in our neighborhood, in 2005 to do a neighborhood-wide project where they gathered information from residents, asking what they knew about their homes,” Crosby said.
“They passed it along to previous residents. That brought along a lot of information that became the backbone of this book.”