Lavista Park Neighborhood history

Real Estate Agent with Wilson Parker Homes 247959

The Lindridge-Martin Manor neighborhood is located in Postal Zip Code 30324, Police Zone 6 (modified from Zone 2 in late 2005) and Council District 6. All of which places us in the Neighborhood Planning Unit F. The NPU is our direct contact with the City of Atlanta. NPU-F is located northeast of the Central Business District and includes: Piedmont Heights, Morningside, Lenox Park, Virginia-Highlands and Lindridge-Martin Manor. We have been called the link between "intown and uptown"; East Buckhead and Lower Buckhead.

We are bounded on the North by I-85; the East by Cheshire Bridge Road; the West by Peachtree Creek/I-85 and the South by the Seaboard Coast Railway Line/Peachtree Creek South Fork.

How we got here:
If our neighborhood had an official beginning, it probably started in 1838 when Captain Hezekiah Cheshire and his bride, Sarah, settled in the Blackhall District of then DeKalb County, now Fulton County. Sarah was the youngest daughter of Solomon Goodwin who owned a large chunk of Fulton County in the area now known as Brookhaven, his original house still stands at 3967 Peachtree Road about 200 yards south of the Brookhaven Marta station.

Captain Cheshire was born in St Mary's County, Maryland in 1786, and, at the age of 26 raised a cavalry company, which served as part of Colonel Milton's South Carolina regiment in the war of 1812. It is not known how or when Hezekiah Cheshire arrived in Georgia but we do know that he was a widower with no children until 1836. At the tender age of 50, he married the 22-year-old Sarah and commenced to have nine children.

In 1838, Captain Cheshire built his home on a hilltop overlooking Peachtree Creek on the site that was the Service Merchandise Catalog store and is now a self-storage facility. From his hilltop home, he could oversee Peachtree Creek to the North and his vast farm/estate stretching to the West. The bridge over Peachtree Creek (South Fork) was Cheshire's Bridge and, hence, the name of the road that crossed it.

In the early 1800's, Captain Cheshire owned the large farm estate that stretched from his home, along Peachtree Creek towards Piedmont Road. Benjamin Plaster owned the adjoining land to the West that stretched to what is now Peachtree Road and Cheshire's father-in-law owned all of the land to the North. The Plaster holdings were the largest of the three gentlemen. The Plaster family home was located on the site that is now the vacant Spool Cotton Company building on Lindbergh Road at the Southern Railroad bridge (just south of the Marta station). What is now Lindbergh Road was only a dirt trail that connected the Cheshire Farm and the Plaster Farm between Cheshire Bridge Road and Peachtree Road.

By the mid 1800's, the Cheshire and Plaster estates generated sufficient commercial activity so that mills and processing plants developed along the two railroad lines that formed the outlying boundaries of the two farms. Today, we have inherited the ring of commercial/industrial activity around our residential neighborhood that began nearly 200 years ago.

At the age of 69, Hezekiah decided to move "in town" and built the house at 1186 North Highland Avenue and moved his wife and the younger children there. His decedents continued to live on and run the old home place.

Both Captain Cheshire and Benjamin Plaster were buried in the Plaster family cemetery that was located on the crest of a hill several hundred feet south of the house and overlooking Peachtree Creek in a right angle formed by the creek and the main line of the Southern Railroad tracks. (We've looked for the Plaster family graveyard but it no longer exists. It would have been south of Sam's Warehouse. In the early 1900's, the Plaster and Cheshire members were removed from the family graveyard and interred at the Rock Spring Church and other Churches in DeKalb County).

Each of these pioneers had a road named after them...Cheshire Bridge Road and Plasters Bridge Road which originally was a service road on the Plaster estate but was moved 200 yards to the east and renamed Piedmont Road.

Captain Cheshire's son, Napoleon, lived in the hilltop house on Cheshire Bridge Road after he fought in the Confederate War and he and his family continued to run the farm late into the 1800's. Napoleon's two daughters continued to live in the house into the 1930's. It is unknown how many children Napoleon had or how exactly the Cheshire family evolved into the 20th century. However, Mason Cheshire celebrated his 90th birthday last year and his side of the Cheshire family lived on the family farm that is now the site of the Colonnade Restaurant. We do know that the Cheshire family continued to have a presence in the area well into the 1980's and are still around today.

In the late 1800's, Cheshire Bridge Road was a residential road with many of Atlanta's oldest families living along the road. Many of them are buried in the churchyard of the Rock Springs Presbyterian Church at Piedmont and Montgomery Ferry Roads. In fact, many descendants of the Cheshire's and Plasters are also buried there. Lindbergh Drive was just a farm road that connected Cheshire Bridge Road to Peachtree Road and the "towns" people would come out to our area to hunt and fish in Peachtree Creek.

In the early 1870's, the Atlanta to Charlotte Railroad Line was completed (now the Southern Railway line) which began the commercial development of the area from Rock Springs north along Peachtree Creek, which included the Piedmont Road area, and the Cheshire Bridge Road area. The intersection of Piedmont Road and Rock Springs was originally called the community of Rock Springs because of the train station located near that intersection. The triangle of Piedmont/Cheshire Bridge/ Lindbergh Road was turning from large farms into smaller residential lots with a large chunk of commercial activity on all boundaries. We were becoming residential and the farmland was being pushed to the north of us. Cheshire Bridge Road became the path out of town into the farm country.

In the 1930's life began to change even more dramatically for our neighborhood when the Buford Highway was developed. This new artery opened Cheshire Bridge Road to the north and accelerated the commercial and industrial development all along the road. In 1938, final construction was completed that widened Cheshire Bridge from two lanes to four lanes to connect with the Buford Highway. After the Buford Highway was built, Cheshire Bridge Road became a through street to the north and changed from fashionably residential to commercial.

Martin Manor Developed
So, commerce and industry rocked along in the first half of the 1900's. With the paving and widening of the roads, the development of the railroads and the expansion of the city to the north, came the breakup of the large estates. Sometime in the late 1940's, B.A. Martin, an Army Air Corp veteran of World War 1, came on the scene. B.A. was a native of Franklin, Kentucky with a Masters Degree from the University of Kentucky and an Engineering Degree from Georgia Tech. B.A. Martin died on Friday, the 13th of June 1980 at the age of 87.

B.A. Martin began the development of our neighborhood with a goal to provide well-built, affordable housing suitable for young families. In the late 1940's, the land along Lindbergh was over-farmed pasture land.... very few trees were present in these rolling hills when the first houses were built. In 1946, B.A. laid out the streets in a large rectangle.... Armand Road to Cardova; Cardova to Melante and Melante to Lindbergh and back to Armand. The streets were tar and gravel but the utility systems were all in place. John Cherry was the architect who designed our homes, which had a variety of facades but with one or two basic floor plans. This was a very efficient way to build quality homes that gave the appearance of wide variety in home styles.

The first houses in Martin Manor were built along Lindbergh Road in the late 1940's, and then, gradually, Melante and Strathmore were built. Northrope, Pembroke and Cardova followed quickly. Armand Road was the last side of the rectangle to develop with homes built starting in 1951. This first phase of construction featured one-story houses with two and three bedrooms with one bath. These were mainly brick or frame bungalows. In the early 50's, flat roofed houses gained popularity and were added to the neighborhood. There are eleven flat roofed homes in the neighborhood.... mostly near the intersection of Cardova and Melante.

At the same time that B.A. was developing the south side of Lindbergh into Martin Manor, William Hallman was building similar homes on the north side of Lindbergh Road in the area known as Lindridge. We were all in Fulton County and not part of the City of Atlanta until the 1960's.

However, the very first home built in what is now Martin Manor (excluding the early farm houses that no longer exist) was built in 1936 and was part of a large estate with a private driveway directly from Cheshire Bridge Road. The house is now part of our neighborhood at 2274 Melante Drive and has a distinctive look...genuine English Tudor construction.... in contrast to the more modern one story homes built by B.A. Martin and William Hallman.

B.A. was very particular about who he sold his houses to and had a special affinity for veterans returning from World War II. Martin Manor appealed to the returning veterans as well as the upwardly mobile young families who wanted to live "in the country" but be able to commute to work in Atlanta. It was a wonderful place to raise children with the large yards and newly planted trees. Garden Clubs were very popular and two clubs, the Pinelands and the Evergreens, had a friendly competition to enhance the neighborhood with greenery. The Martin Manor Garden Clubs were very aggressive in landscaping the entire neighborhood and many of the pine trees, dogwoods and shrubs that exist today are a product of their efforts. Neighborhood house parties were a very popular social activity. The kids walked to school at the Rock Springs Elementary School on Lindbergh (immediately West of I-85). B.A. took a lot of interest in the new Development and would award prizes to the best-decorated houses during Christmas, best costumes at Halloween and would stop and admire the landscaping efforts of the Garden Club. However, B.A. Martin never lived in Martin Manor but chose to live in the 1100 block of Highland Avenue in the Virginia-Highlands area. Is it possible that B.A. Martin actually lived at 1186 North Highland Avenue...the very house built by Hezekiiah Cheshire in 1855????? B.A.s sales manager, John Phelps, did live at 2264 Armand Road and used his own home as the "model" home.

The wooded ridge above Peachtree Creek (now Armand Road) was a popular place for the kids to hunt for Civil War relics left from the Battle of Peachtree Creek. Perhaps Napoleon Cheshire actually defended his farm in this battle. Until 1956, the bottomland on Peachtree Creek was farmland with one farmer still living on and farming the land. This land is now Melante Circle/Armand Circle/Armand Court/Cedar Chase Condos and was not part of the original Martin Manor development. This bottomland was a popular area for kids, young and old, to fish, play in the creek and enjoy the woods. Mr. Mansfield, the farmer, still farmed the land and would sell his corn and other vegetables to the residents of Martin Manor from the back of his truck. His house was on the land that is now Cedar Chase Condos.

In the early 1950's, as Lindridge-Martin Manor was taking shape, so too was the area surrounding our neighborhood. 1951 was the year that I-85 construction began to impact our neighborhood. Homes along Armand Road and Lindridge Drive suffered cracks in the concrete foundations/driveways and window glass from the dynamite blasts used to build the highway. In 1952, Mrs Lynn Forrester Dupree and her husband began Forrester's Flowers on farmland just across the South Fork of Peachtree Creek. Forrester's Flowers continues to prosper today.... The Hellenic Center was also built on some of the same farmland in 1956.

The early 50's also saw Hastings Nursery, LaVista Hardware (now ACE Hardware) and Happy Herman's open in our neighborhood. All of these continue to serve us today. And we have one other fascinating establishment in the neighborhood.... In 1948, James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, owned and performed in his first rhythm & blues bar in what is now the 24K Club off of Alco. After James Brown moved on, the bar became even more famous in the late 1960's and early 1970's as the "Sweet Gumhead"; one of the first Drag Show bars in the South.

In the early 1950's. Happy Herman's was one of three liquor stores at the intersection of Lindbergh Road and Cheshire Bridge Road. At the time, much of North Georgia was "Dry" and these three stores were the first available liquor for people living to the north in Gainesville and Athens. The opening of the Buford Highway and the widening of Cheshire Bridge Road provided easy access to downtown with a stop in the neighborhood for refreshments.

In 1957, the Cates brothers purchased the bottomland at the end of Armand Road and began building homes that fit in with B.A. Martin's vision of the neighborhood. The original protective covenants were signed on January 13, 1959 that officially established the "Armand Heights Subdivision" which covered Armand Circle and Armand Court. These homes were designed to be affordable but well made and with room to expand. Initially, no home was allowed to be sold for less than $14,000 and no fewer than 1,200 square feet for a one-story dwelling. In fact, the Covenants that were signed in 1959 continue to control construction in this section of the Lindridge-Martin Manor neighborhood today. Cates Construction Company continues to this day to be an important developer in our area.... currently completing construction on Lenox Pointe office condo's and hotel at Lenox Road and Buford Highway.

Today, we have 298 homes in the neighborhood, not including the 75 or so condos at Cedar Chase. Cedar Chase was the last part of Lindridge-Martin Manor to be developed. The land that is now Cedar Chase was the last vestige of farmland left in the neighborhood into the late 1970's. The Mansfield farmhouse stood on the property until construction of the Cedar Chase Condo's began. Part of the property was a flood plain that had to be re-enforced in order for construction to continue. There was some consternation within the neighborhood when the condo plans were announced and many of our neighbors attempted to stop the construction but to no avail.

Over the years, we've had our fair share of "famous and infamous" residents. A young Democrat and his bride lived in the neighborhood and commuted downtown to their screen-printing business. They lived at the corner of Armand and Cardova at 839 Cardova for years before he got into politics...Zell Miller is now our Governor. We also had a state legislator who owned a house on Cardova that he used as his "party house" when the legislature was in session...but he shall remain nameless. Jack Loersch, a popular restaurateur around Atlanta, lived on Melante Circle until he decided to give it all up, sell his motorcycle and move to warmer climes. Jack was the well-known manager of Harrison's on Peachtree in "South Buckhead" in the 1970's and 1980's when local celebrities such as Harmon Wages, Lewis Grizzard, Ron Hudspeth and Alex Hawkins were hanging out at the restaurant. However, Jack will probably go down in the history books as the first restaurant manager in Atlanta to place a television set in the bar area.... a trend that is wildly popular today but very radical in the early seventies. The day was August 8, 1974 and the occasion was...the resignation of Richard Nixon. Jack is currently the co-owner of Shipwreck Kelly's in San Jose, Costa Rica.

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