Published on May 28th, 2014 |2
Heritage Society developing history storytelling sites for throughout Buckhead
In interviews with BuckheadView, Heritage Society Executive Director Erica Danylchak said the project started last October and a steering
committee of 28 members has worked since then on developing the scope and focus of the project and reviewing visual concepts for presenting the history of the Buckhead community.
One of the key members of the committee is Buckhead historian Susan Barnard, who has written books on the history of the community, Danylchak said.
Next week, Danylchak told BuckheadView, the committee and society board will see the latest updates of the presentation concepts and hopefully approve them so the project can move forward. Buckhead Heritage engaged Signature Design to complete the master plan.
Actually, the Interpretative Master Plan is part of collaborative effort between the Heritage Society and Livable Buckhead called The Buckhead Collection, which proposes connecting the community’s cultural and historical sites to the community’s greenspace system where possible and interpreting Buckhead’s significant stories through signage, exhibits, and digital media.
Buckhead Heritage realized that the goals of the Buckhead Collection align with its mission to enhance the quality of life in Buckhead by identifying, preserving, and promoting its historic resources. So, Buckhead Heritage has committed to being a long-term partner with Livable Buckhead.
Danylchak told BuckheadView that the first course of business was for the committee to decide what were the most significant historic events in Buckhead, what are the misconceptions, which are the most serious historic sites and what sights are more challenging but should be on the radar.
The committee decided it was important to hone in on five storylines, each with a title, Danychak said.
First was “At The Bucs Head”, the early founding of the community. “What is Buckhead and what has changed it” Danylchak explained. It was
all called the Buckhead District in the 1850 census. What were the early enterprises that seemingly were all tied to waterways, such as Moores Mill, Defoors Ferry, Paces Ferry, etc.
Second was “Crossroads of History.” Transportation has played an important part in the development of Buckhead, such as Peachtree Road, which is the spine of the community, and Roswell Road. Danylchak pointed to Fort Peachtree, the trolley that once ran up Peachtree Road, the Battle of Peachtree Creek during the Civil War of how waterways and roads played an important role in how it came about.
The third storyline is “Buckhead in Black and White”, a discussion about the African American history in the community. “In 1920, about 20 percent of the population was African Americans,” Danylchak said. “They are a scattered resource that people have forgotten. We have to deal with how the county ran them out.”
“Page Turners” is the fourth storyline and deals with subjects such as murders, kidnappings, “unsavory stories.” Danylchak said it will deal with Buckhead and moonshiners, Roswell Road being named Thunder Road, because it was the route moonshiners used to bring the liquor in from the Georgia hill country.
The fifth storyline is “Buckhead Re-Imagined”, the transitions from farmhouses, to suburban retreats, to mansions and to today. It deals with
the commercial shift north to Lenox and architecture, becoming the largest shopping center south of New York City.
Danylchak said both the Memorial Park and Chastain Park conservancies are participating in the program about their own visions for inclusion in the interpretative presentations.
She said the committee and Heritage Society board “have seen some initial inspirational renderings.” She said some are very sculptural and “capture the imagination and attention. They are looking outside the box.”
But next week, the committee will see updated presentations and Danylchak hopes those will be well on the way toward what can be presented to the public in September.
Livable Buckhead Executive Director Denise Starling, who is a key member of the 28-member committee, told BuckheadView: “As a self-professed ‘hater of history,’ I have been the litmus test on this committee and I have to admit that I am incredibly excited about the ideas coming out of the effort. Who knew that history could be this engaging?”
Starling said that, “Under Erica’s direction, the project is tackling the issues, telling the stories and doing it all in a way that makes it fun to experience. I think the community is really going to be excited about it.”
The Heritage Society took a first step toward illustrating the history of Buckhead during a 150th anniversary celebration of the founding of the community last year, with a photo display during the celebration event at the Buckhead Theatre.
That temporary photo exhibit has now been permanently installed in the first-floor area of the Buckhead Theatre, according to Danylchak, thanks to the support of Charlie Loudermilk, who owns the theater.
It all is coming together at a very opportune time, as the city of Atlanta and Buckhead approaches the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Atlanta
and one of the most significant skirmishes of that Civil War turning point, the Battle of Peachtree Creek, which took place in south Buckhead.
In commemoration of the Civil War’s 150th Anniversary, many Atlanta historical and heritage sites are collaborating on a number of events, lectures and exhibitions which are open to the public. The Buckhead Heritage Society is an organization that issues alerts to such events.
One such event is “An Iliad of Woes: Peachtree Creek and the Battles for Atlanta”, a lecture by Russell S. Bonds, Friday, July 18, 6:30 p.m. for drinks and 7 p.m. lecture at Bobby Jones Golf Course Clubhouse, 384 Woodward Way NW, in south Buckhead, $10/$20. information here.
In an effort to make the history of the war relevant to a new generation of Atlantans by emphasizing the primary outcome of the conflict – the new birth of freedom that was ultimately realized in the civil rights era with the end of segregation – these events will take place throughout the year across the city. Learn more on the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau’s web site.
For more information about the Buckhead Heritage Society, its programs, events and listings of related programs, go to http://www.buckheadheritage.com/