On Wednesday, June 21, 2017, The Buckhead Heritage Society celebrated their new window into the past with a ribbon cutting ceremony for the first sign in Buckhead StoryLines, a series of visual historic interpretations of Buckhead sites. The sign stands across the street from the Buckhead Theatre and displays a photo from what this Buckhead Village landmark looked like many years ago.
We sat down with The Buckhead Heritage Society’s Director Carmie McDonald to learn more about the project and to get the scoop on any future plans the group might have for installations.
Q: What has been the response since the first sign appeared?
A: We’ve had a great response from community partners and neighborhood passersby stopping to check out the signs when we’ve been around to see it at the park.
Though there’s no way to quantify visitorship, we’ve had good press coverage from the event and inspiring local feedback. We’re looking forward to future projects and locating them in areas where we have high foot traffic and can hope to have as many visitors as possible.
Q: How can you implement more signs throughout Buckhead?
A: It is our goal to implement as many signs as we can, this project has defined our work for the last several years and is a matter of bringing the right partners to the table to continue Buckhead Storylines. This plan grew out of a greenspace masterplan for Buckhead, we put together an inventory of particular sites and the history that those sites represent. The plan has between 75-100 potential sites in Buckhead, and really that spans the history of the community from the Civil War to Civil Rights. There are a variety of historical themes represented and a great span of time, as well. As the project progresses, we’re actively looking for opportunities to collaborate with other groups interested that may represent other organizations where there are historical sites.
Q: What are some of the things you’ve noticed about Buckhead then vs. now while putting this plan together? Any interesting facts about the community you garnered along the way?
A: It’s been eye-opening for me to see the breadth of history in Buckhead. People have a perception of our history – that what began as a community crossroads became a cradle for classical architecture in the Southeast. People perceive that it was a sleepy town turned booming historic neighborhood with entertainment and shopping, but there are so many more themes represented here. Native Americans were here before the crossroads were established.. Of course, Buckhead was the site of many battles during the Civil War.
In the years following the period of reconstruction, Buckhead grew tremendously because of the roads, and highways that connected the city beyond the South. Buckhead is a microcosm of the history of Atlanta, because what we experienced didn’t happen in a vacuum—Buckhead’s history was demonstrative of what was happening as cities across our country grew.
It’s interesting to see all the periods and themes in this research. This project and [Wednesday’s] ribbon cutting is exciting because it’s the first stake in the ground to visually remind residents and visitors of Buckhead’s rich history.
Q: What does it mean to you to see this project come to life?
A: It’s gratifying to me to be able to help advance the mission of The Buckhead Heritage Society through this program. Last year, BH celebrated the tenth anniversary of its founding, and this symbolizes a turning point for the organization as we’ve done so much work collecting information and building this plan. The fact that so many people care enough about their local history to make this program possible is encouraging as we think about the future of the community and the role Buckhead plays in it as we continue to grow as a city.