Mid-Week History: The Parkwood Neighborhood

The Historian For Hire blog has put up a nice short history of the Parkwood neighborhood, which sits partially in unincorporated DeKalb and partially inside the Decatur city limits.  Learn about its Druid Hills roots (similar to Ponce de Leon Heights), its acquisition by Emory University, the evolution of the neighborhood’s housing stock, and the development of the Parkwood Community.

Great stuff!  We look forward to H4H’s next post on the neighborhood, entitled “Preserving Parkwood”!

(1948 plat map courtesy of Historian for Hire)

14 thoughts on “Mid-Week History: The Parkwood Neighborhood”


  1. I’ve always wondered how it happened that one side of East Parkwood is in City of Decatur and the children attend CSD but the other side is not in COD and the children must attend Fernbank. I imagine that it makes sense on a map to use a road as the dividing line but not to the families living in a neighborhood. You’d ideally like your children to attend the same public school as the children in the house across the street. It would have made more sense to have the dividing line located down the middle of the island of land between East and West Parkwood. Then, both sides of West Parkwood would attend Fernbank and both sides of East Parkwood would attend CSD.

      1. Ok. Plus, now that I have looked at the maps more carefully, I see that my understanding of the CSD/Fernbank split was faulty. E. Parkwood really isn’t the dividing line. Someone had once told me that the “the kids across the street from us go to another school” but that doesn’t look to be strictly true unless you happened to live in Plot #25 where your mailbox would be in Decatur but that of the folks across the street would be just outside the City. There’s only one piece of E. Parkwood that curves into City of Decatur and it looks like both sides of most of that piece would attend CSD. All the rest of E. Parkwood, all of W. Parkwood, most of Parkwood Lane, and a piece of Upland are Fernbank territory.

    1. Half of North Parkwood is in Decatur and the other half is in unincorporated DeKalb. What’s interesting is that it’s not “one side of the street in Decatur and the other in DeKalb”, but rather half the street in Decatur (the half towards Coventry) and the other half in the county (the half towards Ponce).

  2. What is the “similar to Ponce de Leon Heights” history you reference? We just moved to Pinetree and it says Druid Hills Subdivision on our deed but I don’t know the story.

    1. All the roads in Ponce Heights – and Parkwood it seems – were part of the eastern end of Olmstead’s Druid Hills development and installed in the 1920s. However, most lots along the streets sat empty until the 1930s due to over-speculation. I’ve always been a bit stumped about Pinetree – since most of its housing stock is from the 1950s and later – but it makes sense that it was also part of the Olmstead plan since it lies between Ponce Heights and Parkwood.

      1. This street stumps me a bit too. I didn’t even realize there were ranches in CoD until our house hunt led us here. Thanks.

        1. Actually, when I first arrived in Decatur, lots of modest brick ranch and asbestos siding homes were still around. In fact, they dominated most everywhere but the older historic areas like Great Lakes proper, MAK, Oakhurst Village, Ponce/Sycamore, and Winnona Park proper. And even those areas had a few plopped down as latecomer infills. But as the area grew more and more attractive, lots of folks who couldn’t afford a huge Victorian, Tudor, or quaint craftsman cottage bought the much less attractive small ranches and other plain homes from the post-WWII through 1970s period and renovated them. Some were made larger and more attractive, some were surrounded by McMansion construction so it’s hard to recognize the original structure (in fact, one way to handle asbestos siding is to just encase it with safe materials rather than risk aerosolizing the asbestos fibers during removal), and other homes were just removed entirely and replaced with something of much higher value.

          1. “Much less attractive” to whom? Are you dissing my classic, authentic mid-century ranch, Karass? Harumph.

          2. Dang, Karass! Tell us how you really feel about older modestly designed houses! You’ve managed to diss just about my entire neighborhood!

            (For the record: We’re not all pining away to upgrade, add on, or reclad our houses. Some of us chose exactly the kind of house that you find so flawed because we like the informal vibe. To us, it’s already “Home Sweet Home.” )

          3. Did not mean to diss anyone’s homes or neighborhood. My home came with asbestos siding and the insurance company actually liked that feature! We probably never would have renovated and buried that siding (and I’m sorry, it WAS unattractive) except that the rolled roof on the home-grown 1960s-ish addition leaked no matter what we did and replaced so we had to redo that addition which led to finding other problems which led to…..etc., etc., etc. It’s my impression that brick ranches and asbestos classics like mine are less popular than earlier styles like Victorian, Craftsman, Tudor, etc. or modern attempts to replicate those styles. Thus they are frequent targets of renovation or replacement in Decatur. But I should not have called them less attractive, just less popular!

  3. The house that sits half in unincorporated Dekalb and half in Decatur (can’t see the plot numbers well enough to tell, but I’m suspecting it’s #25)? Yup, that’s us. We get three tax bills: unincorporated Dekalb portion, Dekalb/Decatur portion and City of Decatur. Fun stuff, good times.

    Nevertheless, we love, love, LOVE our little hood – as boundary confused as it may be.

    1. Wow. You don’t have to pay all three do you? So what school zone are you in? And what determines it–your mailbox location? Driveway? House? Kitchen?

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