We all know the Moores, the Howells and the Colliers, but what of the Tennysons, Wadsworths and Kiplings?
These are all names of roads and streets in Buckhead.
While many are familiar names — names of families many of us know today — there are a few head-scratchers from what I assume were high-minded developers seeking to install culture and history in our verdant neighborhoods.
One of the more prolific names in Buckhead is Collier. It adorns a road, a neighborhood and more than a few cul de sacs and side streets. The Collier entries in Atlanta historian Franklin Garrett’s “Atlanta and Environs” include 13 individuals in the same family and account for more than 70 pages.
It all starts with twin brothers Merrill and Meredith Collier, originally from North Carolina. They came to the Atlanta area in 1823 and purchased a ton of land along Peachtree Creek. Meredith and his wife Elizabeth had 15 children. That brood includes the Colliers we know today through streets.
Collier Hills and Collier Road take their name from son Andrew Jackson Collier, whose estate and land holdings are the grounds on which developers built the neighborhood. Anjaco Road, the street in Ardmore Park connecting Collier Road and 28th Street is named for him as well — An (Andrew) ja (Jackson) co (Collier).
Perhaps less well known is the origin of the street of my childhood home, West Wesley Road, named for Andrew Jackson Collier’s brother, Wesley Gray Collier. When investors purchased his 483-acre estate for $375,000 in 1910, it was the largest real estate deal anyone in the region had seen to that point.
Wesley Collier’s home was on Peachtree Road, south of present-day Muscogee Avenue. Led by Eretus Rivers and Walter P. Andrews, a syndicate of Atlanta businessmen purchased the estate. Rivers’ name is on Rivers Road in his Peachtree Heights neighborhood, while Andrews’ name is on Andrews Drive, East Andrews Drive and West Andrews Drive.
Dating back to 1828, Thomas Moore’s mill burned in 1858 during what a historical marker describes as a “political upheaval.” The mill near where Moores Mill Road spans Peachtree Creek lent its name to the road. The Moores still haunt Atlanta to this day. Most notably for me is David Moore, the Historic Oakland Foundation executive director emeritus.
Pioneer settler Clark Howell built his mills on Peachtree Creek as well, and similarly, many Howells remain in the community to this day. Howell was from North Carolina and came to the Buckhead area around 1852. Also a justice in the inferior court of Fulton County, Howell operated several mills and owned a tremendous amount of real estate.
His mills gave Howell Mill Road its name.
A few streets in Buckhead are more thematic than familial, such as the literary leanings of streets in the Springlake neighborhood off Howell Mill.
Tennyson, I assume, is named for Alfred Tennyson, Britain’s poet laureate under Queen Victoria. Tennyson was a predecessor of Rudyard Kipling, another Brit whose name also adorns a Springlake street. Kipling wrote “The Jungle Book” and the poems “Gunga Din” and “If –.” The adjacent street Wadsworth Drive must be named for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the 19th-century American writer who wrote “The Song of Hiawatha” and “Paul Revere’s Ride.”
Farther north, on land that once belonged to Judge Howell, is a series of streets in Argonne Forest bearing the names of significant World War I battles, including the Meuse-Argonne offensive on the Western Front, the largest offensive in U.S. history with 1.2 million soldiers — Argonne Drive.
There is also Verdun Drive, named, I assume, for the Battle of Verdun also along the Western Front in France, a battle that lasted 302 days is one of the longest and deadliest in human history with about 900,000 causalities. Verdun meets Marne Drive, so named for the Battle of Marne, a major Allied victory fought from Sept. 6 through 12, 1914.
Verdun connects to Château Drive to the north, which, again, I assume is so named for the Battle of Chateau-Thierry, one of the first battles fought by the American Expeditionary Forces under Gen. John Pershing in the summer of 1918.
There is a story to just about every street, some local, some further afield.
Let me know if I missed one. It would be a worthy endeavor to solve the origins of these unique names.