How Many People Remember Central DeKalb Pre-285?

Lots of people have made comments about what this area was like, and the relationships among the area's people historically. But exactly who are we talking about?

I-285 was designed in 1957, mostly avoiding areas where people lived. When the northeast section was built – 1960-1961, there were only 250,000 people in the entire County (a third of the current population).

Think of the area along La Vista from Tucker to Oak Grove, how many people are here who remember the “historical” area definitions pre-285.

  1. You’d have to have been born before say 1952. (How many 7 year olds do you know who are deeply aware of their community surroundings?)
  1. You’d have to have been born here and still live here. Or perhaps you could have moved here before 1960, and still live here.

What do you think?  100 people?  500?


I’m not one of those few hundred special people.  My parents moved here in the mid 60’s. 285 was a divider when I got here. And probably at least 80% of the current residents of DeKalb County came after me. And 95% of the people from Oak Grove to Tucker.

 So what exactly does that determine about the current reality of central DeKalb?  Nothing!


Central DeKalb is what it is today. Areas and borders should relate to today and the future. Not 1880. Not even 1950.


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Keith Hanks January 07, 2014 at 01:51 PM
I'm 32 and like many of my generation I don't remember what the Olympics were like here in 1996. I wasn't here then, but I could be here if the Olympics return to Atlanta 50 years from now. For alot of us not native to the area, or living here in 1996, the Olympics put Atlanta on the map even more than it already was. My draw to the area was seeing Atlanta as a place with great jobs and a great quality of life. Where I'm from I am used to seeing signs when you cross from one city/town to another on all roads where a border exists. They read "CITY - Est in ####." It is hard to have community pride when you don't know where you area or what community you're part of. Atlanta seems to do this at the sub division level (for those in one), or at the elementary school / high school (for those with kids). While I like the small community feel, when there's local businesses in walking distance, I also like the idea of a city able to have a Memorial Day parade, 4th of July parade, etc. I remember being a cub scout walking in those parades. I remember watching the "big kids" in the high school marching band readying for the parades as well. It's missing here and generations of kids are getting shortchanged on not experiencing or participating.
Bob January 07, 2014 at 02:14 PM
I grew up in the area. My family moved to the area in 1960. I have lived in Gwinnett for the last 23 years. I follow the Tucker Patch and goings on because it was my "stomping ground" back in the 70's and 80's. I remember 285 being built at Chamblee-Tucker Road when I was a little boy attending Warren Elementary school. I grew up with Tucker being a town. Eating at Matthews Cafeteria after church on Sunday. Knowing very well then, and now, where downtown Doraville and Chamblee are located. The current debate over city-hood is interesting to me. I understand the current day reasons and am old enough and seasoned enough to know political scrambling when I see it. When I heard of the discussion of a Lakeside, Briarcliff efforts, I was interested in how it progressed. I lived part of my adult life in Brookhaven attending Oglethorpe Univ in my college years so the recent city formation there originally got my attention. All this to say - when Tucker came into the picture - I naturally thought of it as THE east DeKalb city...because I have always thought of it as such. If there's to be any historical preservation/acknowledgement as well as leveraging of previous municipalities in the area - Tucker is it. To me Lakeside was/is a high school and residential community (I went to Henderson High). Briarcliff, to me, is a road, was a high school and was further south and west in the county. My areas growing up of Embry Hills, Northcrest and Henderson Mill Road were - at that time a combination of Doraville, Chamblee and Tucker. We noticed, even back in the 60's and 70's, how the Doraville and Chamblee areas in the NE quadrant formed by Spaghetti Junction were detached from those towns. If it makes sense to include them in a city effort in 2014 - it should be Tucker.
Herman Lorenz January 07, 2014 at 02:33 PM
Bob: I graduated from Oglethorpe too. And I agree with part of your assessment of the 60's attitudes. I used to run into people in Gwinnett who call their area "Tucker". I didn't run into people who lived near Northlake who said they lived in Tucker. The real issue here is not what someone in one area thinks they should have as part of their city, but what makes sense as borders between cities. We think that ITP/OTP is such an obvious line that it makes sense to use it. Even if there's somebody in the historical Tucker who thinks they "own" Northlake.
Bob January 07, 2014 at 02:40 PM
One thing I didn't mention from the article. I currently live in Duluth. We have parades, festivals, etc. I remember some of these sorts of things in old town Tucker. Would love to see that continued/reinstituted.
newsydon January 07, 2014 at 03:40 PM
i remember tucker too. i went to cofer brothers many times. people gave directions to cofer as "over there, in tucker".
Wayne Kelley January 08, 2014 at 09:18 AM
Bob: We do currently have the parades and festivals you mentioned, as well as many other community-centric events and institutions, in Tucker. We have Tucker Day, a Christmas Celebration, a Tucker Barbecue competition, a Taste of Tucker festival, at least two Farmers' Markets, a couple of Community Gardens, a Tucker Nature Preserve - the list goes on and on. Tucker is a strong community, and will soon be a city. Watch the Patch - you should see plenty of notice of all of these things.
Linda Harlan Trotter January 08, 2014 at 09:25 AM
Moving to "TUCKER" in 1955 was a great experience for me and still is. I considered "Tucker" as country but I am proud of the way it has improved and grown. I went to kindergarten at Stephens, Tucker Elementary, Brockett and graduated from "TUCKER High" and I am still friends with most of my graduates from that time. My son went on to Stephens, Midvale Elementary and graduated from THS. There was No I-285 and the WSB Tower area was and still is considered by many as TUCKER. I have lived in the same house for 42 years with family all around in this wonderful community. I have worked in the area most of my adult life and hope to be here for a long time to come. I want to say with pride as I have and do now when asked where I am from I respond "TUCKER, GA outside of Atlanta. Surprisingly so many of those say... "I know where TUCKER is" and would never know it by another name or area. There are a lot of native TUCKER people in TUCKER, you can look and find us among the ones that have not been a part of the "Growth of TUCKER" and we are proud of our town.
doddave January 08, 2014 at 10:52 AM
I've been to activities at Tucker too. They're always on Main Street; not Northlake.
doddave January 08, 2014 at 10:53 AM
Linda I hate to mention this, but in fact everyone does realize where Tucker is. It's that area over by Main Street and around that area.
kudzuqueen March 08, 2014 at 12:19 PM
my parents moved to the Briarcliff Heights/Toco Hill area in 1953. No, I don't really remember what the area looked like at that time. There have been discussions on FB--others remember more. Lots of dairy farms --for one thing. Tuggle Dairies, where Loehman's Plaza is now located, I think someone said the the Tully Smith family also owned a dairy--where Executive Park now stands. Dairies on La Vista from around Whole Foods to Toco Hills. And I guess lots of trees--Victoria Estates area, Sagamore Hills, Leafmore Hills area. Nurseries and businesess related to farming. Driving to Tucker--usually on Briarcliff--land, grass and trees---no Northlake Mall and few homes. My cousins lived there but we didn't go often. Few memories. Certainly, the focus should be on the present and the future. I support the COBI plan--resigned that I am likely once again in a minority. I guess time will tell--have yet to discover why LCA is the better plan.
kudzuqueen March 08, 2014 at 12:27 PM
I taught in the Tucker area for many years in the 70's. Great food at Matthews cafeteria, the Cofer brothers, many local businesses--supported the schools. A good community and I wish it well. There is a part of Tucker that is in Gwinnett county. ?Old Norcross-Tucker Rd--I think the boundaries are somewhere on that road. I don't have a dog in that fight. 'Unincorporated' DeKalb--closer to Atlanta --we have other priorities I suppose. Emory is still considering annexation into the City of Atlanta--how will that affect DeKalb? Then there are other issues.


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