ANSLEY PARK

One of Atlanta’s tony neighborhoods, Ansley Park is steeped in history, grand dames and tree lined streets.  It is located between Midtown Atlanta and Buckhead, yet off the beaten path. Ansley Park remains green and quiet, an oasis of an in-town residential neighborhood, surrounded by the concrete and steel confines of growing Atlanta. Ansley Park is the first residential neighborhood bordering Peachtree Street when heading north from downtown Atlanta. It is bounded on the south by Fourteenth Street's hotels and apartment buildings. On its eastside, Piedmont Park's 150 acres and the Atlanta Botanical Garden are its neighbors. Sherwood Forest, a neatly planned residential community of 1950s ranch-style dwellings, lies to the north.

Just east of Peachtree Street, with its towering office buildings and bustling Arts Center, Ansley Park provides a refuge of winding streets, verdant parks and islands, and an eclectic collection of homes ranging from modest bungalows to gracious mansions. Varied architectural styles, as well as the established trees and gardens, add to Ansley Park's visual charm. Some of the more imposing structures are acknowledged copies of European dwellings Italian villas and English country houses-that struck the fancies of those well-traveled Atlantans "who commissioned skilled architects to design their dream houses.

Other Ansley Park homes that are smaller in scale, from Craftsman-style bungalows to utilitarian duplexes, help to keep the neighborhood's feet solidly on the ground. A few dramatically contemporary homes demonstrate Ansley Park's dynamic nature. Even the names of the streets reflect this variety: a few numbered streets intertwine among those with designations that are characteristically Atlantan, such as Inman and Peachtree Circles, and those that are European in lineage, such as Lafayette Drive, Westminster, and The Prado. The latter three were among the winning entries in Edwin P. Ansley's .1904 contest to name the streets of his new real estate development, which he originally named Peachtree Garden.

Edwin P. Ansley would be proud of how his ambitious project has survived and flourished. Ansley Park has matured from a treeless suburb in its early years, to its fashionable heyday in the 1920s, through the hard times and housing crunch of World War II when many fine homes were transformed into rooming houses. The neighborhood began a resurgence in the 1960s and now it stands steadfast as a vital residential neighborhood listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Much of the credit for the fact that the neighborhood has retained its single-family residential character is due to the efforts of the Ansley Park Civic Association, whose roots extend back to the Ansley Park Civic Club established in the early years of the suburb. It was revived as an active organization in the early 1360s.

Over the years, the Ansley Park Civic Association has endeavored to fight commercial intrusion, to maintain the parks and traffic islands so important to enhancing the beauty of the neighborhood, and to nourish the very special sense of community that makes Ansley Park a unique entity within Atlanta.

Crucial to the neighborhood's cohesiveness is its network of communication. The Ansley Park Civic Association publishes a quarterly newsletter, The Parkside, and other flyers which are distributed through a network of volunteers. These publications promote the many activities of the Civic Association: the Spring Fling, the Fall Barbecue, a Halloween party for children, caroling at Christmas, the Garden Club's annual Easter Egg Hunt and more. There's a delightful anachronism to many of these old, "small-town" activities taking place in the center of a large, modern city a remembrance of neighborhoods past that secures contemporary Ansley Park in the hearts of its residents.

Early Ansley Park residents joked about how visiting friends lost their way among the winding streets that meander through the area. In 1980, the Civic Association sponsored a contest for a neighborhood slogan and long time resident Caroline Bethea won with her entry "Lose Yourself in Ansley Park." Now the Civic Association sells T-shirts printed with the slogan, which has come to express a special sense of pride that the residents feel for their neighborhood. We invite you to do just that. Lose yourself in Ansley Park, as you follow the pages of this book and learn about our neighborhood's past, walk or ride through our streets, study our homes and buildings, and meet our friends and neighbors. Long-time Ansley Park residents, recent arrivals, and casual visitors to the neighborhood all have something in common: at some point we encountered Ansley Park for the first time and discovered its uniqueness. Each of us is tempted to think that Ansley Park began when we first arrived-that we invented it. But discovering Ansley Park for the first time is like discovering America: both were already here. Looking back through its history, the land of Ansley Park has been:
 

  • The territory of the Creek Indian Nation
  • Frontier land in the North Georgia woods 
  • The forested property of a rural landowner 
  • The site of Civil War troop movements in the battles around Atlanta 
  • A turn-of-the-century treeless sub-division of lots for sale 
  • Atlanta's first northside suburb, ushering in the new century with the 
    building of new homes-some of them mansions 
  • An established suburb in its 1920's prime 
  • A mid-century neighborhood both enduring and wilting under early decay-with some single-family homes converted to apartments and boarding houses 
  • A renewed and thriving neighborhood whose residents had reversed the decline of previous decades
     

Today, Ansley Park residents enjoy a spirited neighborhood of restored and well-maintained homes near the center of metropolitan Atlanta. And, just as beautiful gardens are not planted fully bloomed, Ansley Park did not become the prime residential neighborhood it is today overnight. Rather, the Ansley Park of today is built on the accumulated contributions of many individuals and groups over three or four generations. All of us, new and old to Ansley Park, owe a debt to those came before us. George Washington Collier, who was the owner of the undeveloped woods of Land Lot 105. He cherished the land that was to become Ansley Park. Those who have a similar affinity are Copier's spiritual descendants.

Edwin P. Ansley, who had the vision to develop Collier's land into a fine residential neighborhood, the fortitude not to deviate from his original plan, and the wisdom to work with those who had the ability to help him accomplish his goals. Solon Zachery Ruff, the civil engineer who was responsible for laying out Ansley Park. He took an ordinary engineering task and created a work of art-taking best advantage of the rolling topography of Collier's land and designing a harmonious plan of streets, parks, and building lots.

The residents of Ansley Park who comprised the Boards of the Ansley Park Civic Association: the officers, committee chairs, and members who gave their time and talents to provide leadership over the years, including the early combative boards-combative of necessity to defend Ansley Park-and later boards that defended when defense was needed and also provided neighborhood improvement, social activity, and the sense of community that make Ansley Park unique. The residents of Ansley Park who took the risk to buy and improve homes when it was not fashion- able to do so-when many of their friends were moving out to the suburbs. The residents of Ansley Park who have attended City Hall zoning hearings over the years. The residents of Ansley Park who have contributed to the neighborhood's beautification-both those who have contributed time, effort, and know-how to plant and weed the parks and islands and those who have contributed financial support to the Ansley Park Beautification Foundation. The residents of Ansley Park who have helped secure the neighborhood, by participating in the Neighborhood Watch and joining the Ansley Park Security Co-op. The residents of Ansley Park who over the years have contributed to the profusion of other projects and activities that imbue Ansley Park with its delightful "small town" quality: our newsletter The Parkside, the Tour of Homes, the Pall Barbecue, the Christmas Tree sale, the Garden Club's Easter Egg Hunt, the Spring Fling, the neighborhood socials. The residents of Ansley Park who, over the years, saw something that needed to be done and did it.

Ansley Park today not only survives as an in-town neighborhood, it thrives and blooms radiantly. It does so because of careful nurturing by people past and present who worked to make Ansley Park special. Information provided by Some Information provided by http://www.ansleypark.org/.

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