When I began selling homes in the Emory and Decatur neighborhoods back in the early 1980’s, it was a rather settled and somewhat stodgy environment.
1930’s – 1940’s
Families had moved to the area in the late 1930’s or 1940’s when much of the area was developed. Smaller bungalow style homes were created in neighborhoods like Emory Grove, Great Lakes, and Glendale Estates.
The original owners bought what they could afford in a new area where many of the streets were still unpaved. In a few years, the area was full of young children, who played together and grew up together on the same streets. Everyone knew their neighbors, their children and their pets. Garden Clubs were formed and play areas were established.
It’s hard to image what North Decatur Road and Scott Boulevard might have been like in the 1940’s and 1950’s, but several owners reminisced about walking to the Drugstore in Emory Village or catching the streetcar to downtown Atlanta. The area was nearly country then, slow-paced and sleepy with dusty streets.
It was a safe haven for everyone and a great place to live.
1950’s – 1960’s
In the 1950’s and 1960’s, developers began building new brick ranch homes in the area. Neighborhoods like Clairmont Heights, Leafmore Estates, Sagamore Hills, and Medlock Park area were formed.
1980’s – 2000
By the 1980’s, the children in these neighborhoods had grown up and mostly moved away from the area. It was still a tight knit community, but the original owners were growing older and beginning to make changes. Their homes needed repairs and their yards needed to be maintained, but often there was no-one around to do the work. There were a number of widows now on each street, and there were few children.
At that time not many homes came on the market in these neighborhoods because no-one ever moved. Then, slowly, one or two homes on a street would become available as owners passed away or made a decision to move closer to family.
During the mid-1980’s, the composition of the area began to change from older inhabitants to younger families. Now younger couples began to purchase homes as they became available. Within 5-10 years, the streets around Emory and in Decatur were teeming with young children again and the cycle had come full circle. Now, another generation are raising their families and growing old in the area.
Homes did change ownership more frequently during this period than in the past when owners worked at the same company for 30-40 years and then retired. Individuals no longer worked for one company, but changed jobs from time to time and often locations.
Today, many owners in Decatur and near Emory work at Emory University or Emory Hospital, which is the largest employer in DeKalb County. Others work at the Center for Disease Control or the American Red Cross. Decatur is the judicial center for DeKalb County and many work in the Court System there. The area is close to downtown Atlanta, major shopping centers and handy to Atlanta Hartsfield Airport.
Now Emory Village is sleek and modern, featuring a well-designed roundabout, inviting restaurants and shops.
Downtown Decatur is updated and vibrant with new condo complexes, upscale restaurants and shops. Decatur has been named one of the most “walkable” cities in the country and one of the top places to live in the Nation.
There have been so many changes in the area during this period – mostly good constructive ones – some more restrictive, like the increased traffic along North Decatur Road and Scott Boulevard!
Perhaps I’m biased in my opinion, but I believe there is still no better location in Metropolitan Atlanta to live than near Emory University or Decatur!