Just Off the Highway: Brookhaven

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.

In 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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Ad from the early 1900’s

The city of North Atlanta was incorporated out of the 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 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. You can’t miss it… and you won’t want to.

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.