Civic Groups Buckhead 50 Club President Michael Moore during a 2015 monthly meeting of the club.

Published on January 5th, 2016 |

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Buckhead 50 Club to hear Sandy Springs mayor on city’s evolution

Roswell Road, the major connection between the heart of Buckhead and the city of Sandy Springs, was paved largely through the efforts of the Buckhead 50 Club, the oldest civic group in north Atlanta, founded 84 years ago and still meeting every month over important topics.

Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul

Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul

On Jan. 12, the Buckhead 50 Club will hear Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul, who took over the helm of the city following founding Mayor Eva Galambos, discuss the vision of a that city taking shape with the creation of a real downtown and even talk of a monorail system to move residents from one part of the city to another.

Paul will no doubt travel down Roswell Road—first named Constitution Avenue—to address the gentleman organization’s second-Tuesday-of-the-month supper meeting at 6 p.m. at the American Legion Post 140 clubhouse on the south end of Chastain Park.

“We share a border with Sandy Springs on the north,” said club president Michael Moore, and some of the club’s members live in Sandy Springs now. He indicated there is a lot of interest among members in what is taking place today in the city that took decades to create.

In 1932, Buckhead was a crossroads community in the country, north of the city of Atlanta in Fulton County, with a few commercial stores and homes and some estates with wooded acreage. There was little street paving north of Buckhead and services such as trash removal were left to local communities to handle as best they could.

It is unclear from a club history why the name Buckhead 50 was chosen, except to distinguish it from other clubs in the area.

Buckhead 50 Club President Michael Moore during a 2015 monthly meeting of the club.

Buckhead 50 Club President Michael Moore during a 2015 monthly meeting of the club.

The by-laws say “the purpose of the club shall be to develop enduring friendship, to render civic service, to build better community, to cooperate in creating and maintaining that sound public opinion and high ideals that make possible the increase of righteousness, justice, patriotism and goodwill.”

Atlanta Police Chief George Turner addresses a 2015 meeting of the Buckhead 50 Club.

Atlanta Police Chief George Turner addresses a 2015 meeting of the Buckhead 50 Club.

During the 1930s, the club was interested in the paving of various streets in the Buckhead area, proper street lighting, trash and garbage collection and the parking situation, according to a 1979 club history.

“The county did not have services, so the Buckhead 50 did the garbage pickup for the Buckhead area,” explained Vance Rankin III, a Sandy Springs lawyer who lives in Buckhead and was club president in 1996. “When the county started providing services that eliminated the mission of the Buckhead 50 Club.”

But it hasn’t stopped members of the club from getting together for a meal, a speaker on important local or national topics, and just plain camaraderie the first Tuesday of every month (except for July when they take a break).

What members have in common is that they either live or work in Buckhead (or did at one time) and care about the community and their friendship. Today, more than a few members travel from some distance outside of Buckhead, just to attend the monthly meetings.

The American Legion Post 140 clubhouse at the southern end of Chastain Park.

The American Legion Post 140 clubhouse at the southern end of Chastain Park.

The club was formed by John W. Pickelsimer in February, 1932, because of an apparent need for local Buckhead businessmen who could handle the community problems in a spirit of mutual cooperation. Pickelsimer, who became the club’s first president, gathered together 20 of his neighbors in the old Fulton National Bank Building, 3039 Peachtree Road, N.E., and the rest has been history.

Along with Pickelsimer, the other founding members included R. B. Miller, J. Schley Thompson, Matt G. Perkins, R.E. “Red” Dorough, Lon Bridges Sr., E. J. Wood, John Allen, Chief George Mathieson, Oscar Jones, Bub Clark, George Murray Sr., T. Dumas, H.C. Rippy, Gene Minhinnett, Charles Adams, Marvin Roberts Sr., R.H. Johns, D.E. Pinkard, Dr. Bussey and Davis & Courtney Theatre.

In 1936, the Buckhead 50 Club recommended to the Fulton County Commission that the Waldo M. Slaton Post 140 of the American Legion be allowed to purchase a tract of land on Powers Ferry Road in Buckhead to erect a clubhouse, a location at the southern end of Chastain Park. Both the Legion and the Buckhead 50 Club meet there today.

The Buckhead 50 Club was also instrumental in getting the county to develop the Northside park, which is now Chastain Park the largest park in Atlanta. The club also played a role in Buckhead becoming a part of the city of Atlanta and assisted in the formation of the Buckhead Merchants Association, which later became the Buckhead Business Association.

Everybody who wants to get in (the club) is introduced for the “first reading.” Then the next time, they have the “second reading” and members vote on accepting them. The applicant is asked if he would like to tell a little about them self. When he starts to speak, traditionally everyone starts hollering and drowning him out.

The club reportedly has never excluded females from becoming members, but has never had one apply. There is at least one meeting (in September) where the spouses and girlfriends join club members for an indoor/outdoor barbecue picnic.

For more information about the Buckhead 50 Club, contact Michael Moore at 404-667-4762 or email at buckhead50club@gmail.com.

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