Emory Grove is a historic neighborhood of bungalow-style homes, built in the latter part of 1939 and early 1940’s by L. Neal Smith, a prominent builder of the time. Mr. Smith’s original advertisement read, “Emory Grove, a community of durable and artistic homes owned by conservative, cultured Americans”. Emory Grove consists of 3 streets – Princeton Way, Westminster Way and Edinburgh Terrace, as well as a few homes along North Decatur Road. Three Parks that offer playgrounds, baseball fields, walking areas, tennis courts and picnic areas are located within the neighborhood itself.
Mr. Smith went on to emphasize the convenience to schools from kindergarten through University without crossing a thoroughfare, Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist churches within 4 blocks, paved streets and Park areas in each block. He continued to advertise the area, “…where the investment of a reasonable sum of money plus well made plans will insure to those fortunate and wise enough to investigate, both a comfortable home and an opportunity to grow with one of the most ideally located communities in or around Atlanta”. By the end of the second year, the area was 96% developed and owner occupied, although there were only a few homes on North Decatur Road at the time.
The homes were built during the Depression Years and just prior to World War II, and no-one had much money in those days, and few people owned cars. According to a friend of mine who was one of the early homeowners, the women on the street like to go into Atlanta shopping and would ride the trolley, which ended at Emory Village. In order to reach the Village, you either walked or got a taxi. Mr. Claude Jones had a Ford Sedan that belonged to his father and he ran the taxi service, for which he charged 5 cents, and later raised to 10 cents.
The original owners of this new subdivision were young couples who moved here to raise their families. Arthur Hutchins was an early homeowner, and the first GBI agent in Georgia, the only one for quite some time. The famous Presbyterian Minister, Peter Marshall, and his wife, Catherine, who wrote, “A Man Called Peter”, lived in the Honeymoon Cottage here, until they moved to Washington, D.C.
Except for the increased traffic, the area remains much the same – a vibrant, busy place with close neighbors and family-friendly events in the Parks. Many of the homes have been renovated and updated. Young children play in the streets, neighbors exchange greetings, parents walk to work at nearby Emory, and students walk to schools in the area. On a snow day when you can’t drive your car on the icy streets, you can walk a few blocks to a major grocery store or restaurant.
Emory Grove was listed on the Historic National Register in 2000, which protects the neighborhood from encroachment and maintains the integrity and scale of the homes. Although surrounded by retail ventures, and less than a mile from Emory University, Emory Grove is a charming oasis in the busy metropolitan city of Atlanta.