History of Kirkwood
Kirkwood is located just East of downtown Atlanta and was once served by streetcars that provided express service to Atlanta three times a day.
Designed by architect, Will Saunders, Kirkwood was described as an upscale suburb of Atlanta in the early part of the 20th Century. Wealthy citizens flocked to the area as early as the 1870’s, building substantial Victorian and Craftsman-style homes in the area. Kirkwood was incorporated as an independent municipality in 1899, and was later annexed into the City of Atlanta.
By 1923, the community was still thriving and boasted a number of pharmacies, feed and grain stores, a theater, variety stores, grocery stores, a gas station, luncheonette and two laundries.
According to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, written by Leslie Everton Brice, the area began to change in the late 1950’s when white residents fled the city for the suburbs and the neighborhood experienced a gradual decline over the next several decades. Many of the gracious homes fell into disrepair and decay and the area became a place to avoid as crime and corruption increased.
In the 1980’s and 1990’s, a few urban pioneers began to re-discover the community and to appreciate the elegant, decaying homes. In Kirkwood, you could purchase a home for a reasonable price, live in a convenient area, and renovate the property over time. Slowly, Kirkwood began to recover as residents began moving in-town and salvaging the once-grand old homes and building new ones. Consequently, property values have increased dramatically and the area has become more desirable.
The village of downtown Kirkwood has taken longer to recover, but a vibrant shopping district is now evident with a host of shopping and dining choices, including gift shops, coffee shops and public buildings like the post office and the public library. One of the most charming is Le Petit Marche, a lunch and breakfast destination, located along Hosea Williams Drive, and featuring an eclectic menu and an interesting interior.
Three public parks are located in the neighborhood, Gilliam Park, Coan Park, and Bessie Branham Park.
The Park was named after one of the leading citizens of Kirkwood, Bessie Branham, and given to the City of Atlanta in the 1920’s to be developed into a public park. It was renovated in 1998 with new tennis courts, basketball courts, a ball field, and a magnificent playground. The Park serves as a focus for neighborhood families enjoying the vast open space and utilizing the playground.
Atlanta Decatur Homes is a local Atlanta real estate company, serving Atlanta, Decatur, Druid Hills, Emory University, Kirkwood and Tucker neighborhoods for over 25 years!