Just Off the Highway: Brookhaven


Georgia’s newest city is less than a year old, but it already has some pretty remarkable history.

Brookhaven was officially formed in December 2012 out of an unincorporated section of western DeKalb County just northeast of the City of Atlanta. With a population of 49,000 upon its inception, it became the largest city in the county.

One hundred years ago, Brookhaven wasn’t just unincorporated, it was a sleepy section of Georgia billed as a great place for a country home for wealthy Atlantans.

goodwin house

Goodwin House in 1919

One hundred years before that, John Evans was Brookhaven’s first permanent settler, and 20 years later Harris and Solomon Goodwin settled in the area and built the Goodwin House which still stands today on Peachtree Road.

One mile up the road from the Goodwin House was the settlement of Cross Keys, which officially formed in 1876.


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1910, 150 acres of land was purchased in that area and developed as the nation’s first planned golf course community. Developed in three stages, Brookhaven Estates came first, followed by Country

Club Estates. Shortly thereafter, the Oglethorpe Park neighborhood was established. In 1915, the club changed its name to the Capital City Country Club.


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area in 1924. By 1963, the Atlanta metropolitan area had begun spreading outward, making DeKalb County more populous, and North Atlanta wanted a new charter. Before it could get one, however, the Georgia State Assembly had to approve that the measure could

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be put on the ballot. The assembly agreed, but with one addition: residents must also be able to vote for disincorporation. In 1965, the majority of residents voted to disincorporate, and later that year the city’s charter was dissolved.

Like the rest of the Atlanta metropolitan area, the area now formerly known as North Atlanta continued to grow, especially following the expansion of MARTA rail service. In 1986, the Capital City Club and estates surrounding it were added to the list of the National Register of Historic Places and became known as “Historic Brookhaven.”

Talk of reincorporating the city gained momentum in 2007 but didn’t really gain popular support until 2011. Put on the ballot in 2012, on July 31, 55% of voters chose to incorporate the city of Brookhaven.

One year after the vote, Brookhaven is a thriving city, and Historic Brookhaven is consistently one of the wealthiest regions of Georgia.

Want to visit? Take a journey north on Peachtree Street through Buckhead.

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You can’t miss it… and you won’t want to.

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visited Georgia in 1994 and decided that when she graduated from college she would make Georgia her home. Since 2007 that dream has been a reality. She is the founder and executive director of Occupy My Family.

Georgia Ghost Tours

Lawrenceville Ghost Tours

Lawrenceville Ghost Tours. Photo Credit: Tom McBride

1.) North Georgia Ghost Tours – Tours of Watkinsville and Madison include hauntings, local legends and a heaping helping of local history. Both are walking tours of around a mile and given throughout the year. They also offer carriage and kid-friendly tours.

2.) Lawrenceville Ghost Tour- Run by the Aurora Theatre, this tour features local storytellers telling tales handed down over the decades or from recent paranormal investigations.

3.) The Augusta Ghost Trolley- Different ghost-themed tours are offered throughout the autumn, many at multiple times throughout the evening. Advanced reservations are required.

4.) Blue Orb Ghost Tours – Rated the top ghost tour in Savannah, different tour themes are offered at various dates and times. The Halloween Tour and Zombies

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5.) Milledgeville Haunted Trolley Tour – An annual Halloween event, the

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trolley takes to the streets of Milledgeville toward the end of October with twice nightly tours.

jerry-ghost_albemarle26.) Sea Ghosts: Tales of Haunted Port Columbus – Offered monthly throughout the year, the tour itinerary is based on the work of the Alabama Paranormal Research Team and Effigy Paranormal’s work during multiple investigations.

7.) Capturing the Spirit of Oakland – Expect costumes and great tales of Atlanta legends at the annual Oakland Cemetery tours. For 2013, the tour schedule has been expanded because previous years have sold out well in advance.

8.) Athens Heritage Walks: Haunted History Tour – Want to hear stories of history, haunts, legends, ghostly apparitions, cold spots, tragic lovers, restless Confederate soldiers and unearthed coffins? This tour has it all!

9.) HOWLpharetta Ghost Tour – Get spooked as you hear tales of ghosts that are jokers, eerie and downright scary. The walking tour takes you through the downtown area on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the autumn.

10.) The Fox Theatre Ghost Light Tour – New in 2013, the tours take guests into parts of the theatre usually off limits to the public and follow the footsteps of a Confederate soldier, pay respects to the woman of the house and get better acquainted with the theatre’s eternal fans.

11.) Haunted History Tour of McDonough – Happening annually on weekends in October, the walking tour covers downtown McDonough at a low rate.

12.) A Tour of Southern Ghosts – Featuring storytellers, the annual tradition is back for 2013 at Stone Mountain Park. Each night

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“Scary-etta” Haunted Trolley Tour

“Scary-etta” Haunted Trolley Tour

13.) Scary-etta Trolley and Walking Tours – Departing most nights from downtown Marietta Square, enthusiasts can choose either a walking or riding tour of Marietta’s most haunted homes and businesses.

14.) Roswell Ghost Tour – This 2 ½ hour tour in downtown Historic Roswell tells tales of spirits who reside behind the walls of the antebellum mansions and in the ruins of mills.

15.) Self-Guided Hauntings in Dahlonega Tour – The Dahlonega Convention & Visitors Bureau has put together a map and list of stories about 10 historic and legendarily haunted spots in the town that you can visit at your leisure, at anytime during the year.

16.) Tara’s Tours in Savannah: Tara’s Haunted Tours are sure to keep goosebumps on your arms as you explore dimly-lit streets and hear horrific ghost stories of scary encounters that took place in the very areas you stand.

This post is part of the “Haunted Georgia” series. Keep checking back during the days leading up to Halloween for more! Click here to view our “Haunted Georgia” Pinterest board.

eileenEileen Falkenberg-Hull is a digital marketing professional based in Atlanta who first visited Georgia in 1994 and decided that when she graduated from college she would make Georgia her home. Since 2007 that dream has been a reality. She is the founder and executive director of Occupy My Family and the editor of the Southern Beauty Blog.

Georgia’s State Capitals (1868- present)

Atlanta in 1887

Atlanta in 1887

Everyone is familiar with Atlanta as Georgia’s state capital, but did you know it is the 17th location of the capital? While some cities have had the honor as many as four times, other locations were temporary and some cities no longer exist.

For the first 43 years of Georgia’s existence, the cities that had been known as the capital were in the southeastern part of the state: Frederica and Savannah. When Savannah fell to the British forces at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the capital moved to Augusta and then shuffled around to various sites in Wilkes County, Ebenezer and possibly even South Carolina before settling once again in Savannah in 1782.

After a 14-year shuffle between Savannah and Augusta, in 1786 the legislature established a commission to

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find a permanent location for Georgia’s capital. Ten years later, the capital was established in the new city of Louisville, but it wasn’t long until lawmakers were looking for a new capital site.

In 1807, the state capital of Georgia officially moved from Louisville to Milledgeville,

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and despite its seemingly perfect location, it was only to remain the capital for 60 years.

Milledgeville’s rapid decline in favor as the capital of Georgia is directly linked to Reconstruction and the end of the Confederacy. As described by Edwin L. Jackson in “The Story of Georgia’s Capitals and Capital Cities:”

“The end of Milledgeville’s era as state capital came in 1867. Briefly in 1867, Congress assumed control of Reconstruction in the South, with Georgia and other Southern states placed again under military authority. Major General John Pope was placed in command of Georgia on April 1, 1867, and shortly afterwards took up his duties in Atlanta. A new constitutional convention was called for the state, and General Pope ordered the convention to assemble in Atlanta, reportedly because of reports that Milledgeville innkeepers had proclaimed that black delegates to the convention would not be welcome in their inns. That convention met in Atlanta from January to March, 1868.”

It was during the convention that Atlanta officials decided to put forth an offer to become the new capital city of Georgia. The offer included the use of buildings for the legislature, the governor, other state officials, and the Georgia Supreme Court for 10 years free of charge. To sweeten the deal, city representatives offered the state the city’s 25-acre fairground or the choice of any unoccupied 10 acres in the city for a state capitol.

Following a vote in 1868, Georgia, once again, had a new state capital: Atlanta. Today, Atlanta serves as the county seat of Fulton County and the Georgia capital. It is the state’s largest city and the 9th largest metropolitan area in the United States.

Visit History:

capitolGeorgia Capitol – Visit the Capitol in Atlanta

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and take a tour three ways: guided, self-guided or via the Capitol app. In addition to exploring the building itself, there is also the Capitol Museum. Bringing children with you? There is a fun scavenger hunt, puzzle and art search that you can print out and bring with you to maximize your family’s fun.

eileenEileen Falkenberg-Hull is a digital marketing professional based in Atlanta who first visited Georgia in 1994 and decided that when she graduated from college she would make Georgia her home. Since 2007 that dream has been a reality. She is the founder and executive director of Occupy My Family.

10 Historic Atlanta Homes and Their Original Owners


Rhodes Hall, courtesy of Saporta Report

Rhodes Hall, courtesy of Saporta Report

With the incorporation of the City of Brookhaven in 2012, the Tullie Smith House (built c. 1840) at the Atlanta History Center has become the oldest house within the Atlanta city limits. Below are 10 other historic homes that showcase Atlanta’s history from pioneer town to the capitol of the New South.

1.) Edward C. Peters House – Located in Midtown at 179 Ponce de Leon Avenue, the National Park Service (NPS) calls the home, which sits on a full acre wooded lot, “the best and earliest surviving example of residential architecture from Atlanta’s post-Civil War era.” Having first visited Atlanta when it was still Marthasville, Peters moved to the city in 1846 and spent the rest of his life deeply entrenched in the railway and railcar business, owning the Atlanta Street Railway Company. In addition to his home, Peters owned 400 acres immediately north of downtown Atlanta. The home, also known as Ivy Hall, was fully restored by Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) experts and is currently owned by SCAD.

Shellmont/Judge William Wilson Home, couresty of the Atlanta Preservation Center

Shellmont/Judge William Wilson Home, couresty of the Atlanta Preservation Center

2.) Dr. William P. Nicholson Home – Prominent Atlanta surgeon William P. Nicholson had this eclectic Piedmont Avenue home built for him in 1892 and is now operated as the Shellmont Inn, a B&B just blocks from The Fox Theatre and Piedmont Park. In addition to Nicholson’s surgery work, he was also dean and teacher at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Atlanta, and President of the Georgia Medical Association.

3.) Herndon HomeAlonzo Herdon, a freed slave, owned and managed several barbershops in downtown Atlanta after the Civil War and invested his money in real estate, becoming the largest black property owner in Atlanta by 1900. He went on to become Atlanta’s first black millionaire after founding the Atlanta Life Insurance Company. Wanting a home reflecting his wealth, Herndon’s first wife, Adrienne designed the 15-room Beaux Arts mansion at 587 University Place NW, which was completed in 1908.

Joel Chandler Harris Home/The Wren’s Nest, courtesy of Eileen Falkenberg-Hull.

Joel Chandler Harris Home/The Wren’s Nest, courtesy of Eileen Falkenberg-Hull.

4.) Joel Chandler Harris Home (The Wren’s Nest) – Now an attraction for school groups and tourists, construction on what was originally

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a simple farmhouse started in 1870. It was remodeled to its current Queen Anne style in 1884. Located at 1050 Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard, Joel Chandler Harris’s bedroom has remained unchanged since the day he died in 1908, and most of the original furniture is on display.

5.) L.P. Grant Mansion – Purchased by the Atlanta Preservation Center (APC) in December 2001, the antebellum Lemuel P. Grant Mansion in the Grant Park Historic District has been restored. According to the APC website, “The three-story, Italianate mansion was built in 1856 by Lemuel Pratt Grant (1817-1893), a city pioneer, railroad magnate and philanthropist who donated 100 acres to the city for Grant Park. Surviving the Civil War, the house was the 1902 birthplace of golf legend Robert Tyre “Bobby” Jones and was at one time a passion of Margaret Mitchell, the author of Gone with the Wind.” You can visit the L.P. Grant mansion during tour hours at 327 St. Paul Avenue SE.

6.) Rhodes Hall – Prominently located on Peachtree Street between the High Museum of Art and SCAD- Atlanta, Rhodes Hall was built in 1904 for Amos Rhodes, the founder of Rhodes Furniture (which would become Haverty’s) and Atlanta’s first furniture magnate. Now known as the “Castle on Peachtree” at 1516 Peachtree Street NW, Rhodes Hall serves as a museum and is the headquarters for The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.

Villa Lamar, courtesy of the Buckhead Heritage Society

Villa Lamar, courtesy of the Buckhead Heritage Society

7.) Villa Lamar – Located in Buckhead at 801 West Paces Ferry Road, this Italian Renaissance–style private residence was built in 1911 by former Florida Congressman William Bailey Lamar and his wife Ethel. Originally located on 200 acres of

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land, the site was previously home to Hardy Pace, who owned and operated a ferry named Pace’s Ferry. Throughout its existence, the home also has been known as Hollywood, Newcastle and the Reuben Garland House.

8.) Meadow Nook- Built in 1856, this East Lake home is the second oldest in Atlanta and one of the few private residences to survive the Civil War. The Greek Revival home was built for Col. Robert Alston as a wedding gift for his bride. In 1879, Col. Alston was assassinated at the Georgia State Capitol in a dispute over the lease of convicts for labor. His sensational death was covered by the New York Times. The neighborhood of East Lake is located entirely on land once owned by Alston.

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To find Meadow Nook, visit 2420 Alston Dr SE.

9.) Judge William Wilson House – Currently recorded on the Atlanta Preservation Center’s Most Endangered Properties list, the two-story Greek Revival building pre-dates the Civil War and was built from 1856 to 1859 on 1,200 acres of land in what is now Fairburn Heights. According to the NPS, “While Wilson was serving with the Georgia Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War, his house was used by Union General William T. Sherman as temporary headquarters during the Battle of Atlanta. After the war, Judge Wilson served as a justice of the inferior court in Fulton County, a representative in the Georgia General Assembly, and as the sheriff of Fulton County.” The current structure is barely visible from the road, and the property is in extremely dilapidated condition but can be found at 501 Fairburn Road SW.

10.) G. W. Collier House – Built c. 1868 on the site of a house that was originally built in 1820 but destroyed in 1864, the current Ansley Park home is one of Atlanta’s oldest. From tomitronics.com, “George Washington Collier was Atlanta’s first postmaster and one of the city’s best-known citizens in the nineteenth century. He and his brothers owned hundreds of acres of land along Peachtree Road, and the family’s use and disposition of that land, beginning around 1890, had a profound influence on the development of the Peachtree Street corridor from Fourteenth Street to W. Wesley Drive, which was named for Collier’s brother Wesley.” The home can be found at 1649 Lady Marian Lane.

eileenEileen Falkenberg-Hull is a digital marketing professional based in Atlanta who first visited Georgia in 1994 and decided that when she graduated from college she would make Georgia her home. Since 2007 that dream has been a reality. She is the founder and executive director of Occupy My Family.

Georgia’s State Capitals (1804- 1868)

Georgia's Old Capital Museum in Milledgeville

Georgia’s Old Capital Museum in Milledgeville

Everyone is familiar with Atlanta as Georgia’s state capital, but did you know it is the 17th location of the capital? While some cities have had the honor as many as four times, other locations were temporary and some cities no longer exist.

For the first 43 years of Georgia’s existence, the cities that had been known as the capital were in the southeastern part of the state: Frederica and Savannah. When Savannah fell to the British forces at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the capital moved to Augusta and then shuffled around to various sites in Wilkes County, Ebenezer and possibly even South Carolina before settling once again in Savannah in 1782.

John Milledge

John Milledge

After a 14-year shuffle between Savannah and Augusta, in 1786 the legislature established a commission to find a permanent location for Georgia’s capital. Ten years later, the capital was established in the new city of Louisville, but

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it wasn’t long until lawmakers were looking for a new capital site. In 1804, they passed an act to build a new capital in Baldwin County on wilderness land. The new town would be called Milledgeville after then-Governor John Milledge.


The 500-acre town would be divided into 84 four-acre squares and four 20-acre public squares. The town’s design was to be modeled after previous Georgia capital Savannah and current United States capital Washington, D.C.

Construction of the new state capital took only two years, and in 1807, following a procession from Louisville, the

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government took its place in the new (yet still unfinished) statehouse. Known as America’s first Gothic revival style public building, the new statehouse would soon outgrow its tenants as the size and population of the state of Georgia rapidly expanded. The building required major additions in 1828 and 1837.

In 1825, Revolutionary War soldier the Marquis de Lafayette visited Milledgeville, marking what many view as its coming-of-age moment. Also marking the occasion were receptions, a barbecue, a formal dinner and a grand ball in the Marquis’s honor.

The town was booming with Oglethorpe College opening its doors, the Georgia Penitentiary being built, major churches commissioning large places of worship to be built and the encouragement of community staples like newspapers, banks and schools.

In 1839, work on what is now known as the Old Governor’s Mansion was completed. It would serve as home to 10 governors and their families, including Governor George R. Gilmer, Howell Cobb (1851-53), Joseph E. Brown (1857-65), Charles McDonald (1839-43), George W. Crawford (1843-47), George W. Towns (1847-51), Herschel Johnson (1853-57), Provisional Governor James Johnson (June-November 1865), Charles Jones Jenkins (1865-68), and Provisional Governor General Thomas Ruger (January-July 1868).

During Sherman’s march through Georgia to Savannah, he took up residence in the house while his 30,000 soldiers lived in Milledgeville.

Old Governor's Mansion in Milledgeville

Old Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville

Governor Brown resided in the mansion for longer than any other governor, serving four terms. His period of governing lasted from before the Civil War, through the battles and into the Reconstruction period. He and his family are now interred at Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta.


Following the incorporation of what had been Indian

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Territory into the State of Georgia, and as the railroad companies gained influence in the government, calls started to come from within the legislature to move the capital once again.

Visit History:

Old Governors Mansion – Now

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on the grounds of Georgia College and State University, the Old Governor’s Mansion is open for tours

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Tuesday through Sunday. Don’t want to make the trip? You can also go online here and visit the National Historic Landmark via a virtual tour.

Georgia’s Old State Capitol Museum – Located on what is now the Georgia Military College, the Old State Capitol Museum takes up the first floor of the building and covers regional history, including that of Milledgeville, Baldwin County and Middle Georgia.

eileenEileen Falkenberg-Hull is a digital marketing professional based in Atlanta who first visited Georgia in 1994 and decided that when she graduated from college she would make Georgia her home. Since 2007 that dream has been a reality. She is the founder and executive director of Occupy My Family.