Buckhead Heritage June 2020 Newsletter
Update on Buckhead Heritage
by John Beach, President
Our preservation work and programs are continuing while our in person meetings have been moved online where possible. We’ve had good attendance at our online book club and our Spalding Nix lecture, and some have asked us to consider continuing online access even after we go back to live events. Our partners like Atlanta Preservation Center and St Philips are still not holding in person events, which impacted our June Peachtree Heights Tour and so far our July Speaker Series with Thornton Kennedy. We plan to host safe outdoor events again starting in July, and have tentative plans for a fun September event, working on ways to plan and keep a larger event safe.
To date 43 supporters have donated over $18,000 towards our No Tour campaign to help minimize the budget deficit of our cancelled Spring History Tour. This popular spring fundraiser contributed over $32,000 to our budget last year, and takes months of planning. Buckhead Heritage greatly appreciate these gifts, ranging from $25 to $1000. We are continuing this campaign through June (use button to right or call the office), and will thank all of these donors in the July newsletter.
We are also planning to make July Buckhead Heritage Membership Month. We’ll be focusing on new and lapsed members, with some great drawings and offers for those joining or rejoining in July. Several generous supporters are contributing to a matching fund to help encourage existing members to upgrade their memberships. This match will double your donations in July; if you’d like to help with this please contact John or Richard. And we need everyone’s help in July promoting Buckhead Heritage Membership Month by telling your friends, forwarding our newsletter and posting on social media. Thank You!
Speaker Series: Thornton Kennedy, Comparing the 1918 Pandemic to Today
July 9 – 7 pm Live Zoom Event with Thornton Kennedy
Free registration below
Atlanta went through a similar pandemic event just over 100 years ago in 1918-1919.
The sealed door to the 1888 receiving vault at Westview Cemetery reads, in part, “Great service to the community was rendered by this vault during the winter of 1917-1918 when Atlanta’s Influenza epidemic claimed hundreds of lives. Victims were brought here awaiting burial.” This prompted Northside Neighbor columnist Thornton Kennedy to research the Spanish Flu pandemic in Atlanta. He will discuss some of his findings, which include his great-great grandmother’s journal from the period.
This will be a free lecture, live on zoom, with a question and answer session afterwards. You may join this meeting on a cell phone, tablet or computer.
Piney Grove Cemetery Volunteer Spotlight
by Richard Waterhouse, Executive Director
Buckhead Heritage became aware of Piney Grove Cemetery in the summer of 2011, when Erica Danylchak, Executive Director at the time, took a driving tour of African-American sites in Buckhead. Her guide was Pastor Samuel Sawyer, who grew up in the Piney Grove neighborhood before WWII. By that time, Piney Grove Cemetery, located off Lenox Road near Canterbury Road, was in need of serious attention. Family members of those buried there worked tirelessly to solve the multitude of problems that existed due to commercial development in the area, but ultimately, the problems seemed insurmountable. In 2016, Buckhead Heritage had several meetings with family members to see how it could help them with their efforts to reclaim, maintain, and restore Piney Grove Cemetery. It was going to be a big job!
Enter Adam Staudacher, a committed volunteer, who became interested in Piney Grove Cemetery because of press coverage in 2016! Adam had always had a passion for history, in particular the history of peoples’ movements during times of great change. Adam feels the history of Buckhead cannot be fully understood without learning about the history of African-American communities in our area and why most of these either moved elsewhere or dissipated entirely. More specifically, he is interested in the stories of the people who otherwise would be forgotten. Piney Grove Cemetery is an example of how, when one looks closely, the human threads of these lost communities are still with us. When maintained and preserved, they are can be living and vibrant places of family and community.
In 2018, Adam met with Tamara Bazzle, Chair of the Historic Cemeteries Committee, and became an active participant of that committee. In early 2020, he and members of A.N.S.W.E.R., a social action group, orchestrated a major clean-up effort at Piney Grove Cemetery, coordinating the efforts of a spiritual group led by Monica Renae Brown, family members, and ultimately condominium neighbors. Collaboration at its best! A highlight for Adam was meeting family members and learning more about the cemetery’s history.
Currently, the biggest challenge for Adam is dealing with the COVID -19 restrictions that have halted his plans for monthly cleanups at the site. People have continued to volunteer through firstname.lastname@example.org, and Adam is looking forward to organizing the next cleanup day as soon as it is safe. Fundraising has also been a challenge. Recently, the GoFundMe page, www.gofundme.com/save-piney-grove-cemetery, has reached 50% of its goal to rent goats to finish eating the remaining vegetation.
For those who are interested in adopting or working on a historic cemetery, Adam recommends in-depth reasearch, including reaching out to any elders familiar with the cemetery or the history of its community.
Buckhead Heritage appreciates Adam Staucacher, as well as the many other participants who have worked to clean and preserve Piney Grove Cemetery. If you are interested in working on this or other projects, please go to www.buckheadheritage.com or contact Richard Waterhouse, Executive Director at email@example.com or 404-467-9447.
Popular Peachtree Heights East Walking Tour
Event will be Repeated July 18
10 – 12, Registrants will meet at Duck Pond, Covid-19 Allowing
Buckhead Heritage’s partner for this tour is the Atlanta Preservation Center, and they have postponed the June 6 tour. Plans are now to hold this event on July 18 at 10am, with Buckhead Heritage Executive Director Richard Waterhouse leading the tour. Preregistration is required, and may fill up.
July Book Club: Did the Twenties Roar?: The Roaring 20s and Great Depression, by Sandi Ludwa
July 22, 2020 7 pm – Live Zoom Event led by Richard Waterhouse
Free registration below
This is a fascinating look at how American society went from the Spanish Flu Epidemic to the Roaring Twenties with bathtub gin, speakeasies, gangsters, flappers, and a booming economy then, we catapulted into the thirties with unemployment, the Dust Bowl, strikes and, rioting. It examines lifestyles throughout the twenties and thirties and asks if this might happen again. This light-hearted book presents both the good, rolling times and rougher events that followed.
We will review the possibility of having this event live at our Buckhead office. If you haven’t attended one of our book club meetings before, this is a perfect opportunity to drop in online remotely.
Buckhead Heritage is a volunteer run group and can always utilize a variety of skills, including folks to help at events, cemetery cleanups, and on several preservation projects that could use research, committee and leadership help. If you’ve like to have some fun, learn something while helping the community, and meet some neighbors then we’d love to talk to you. Please contact Richard at the office.
2020 Board & Staff
John Beach – President
Fay Pearce, Jr. – Vice President
Michael D. Armstrong – Treasurer
Howard C. Benson – Secretary
Board of Directors
Ivan Allen IV
Elizabeth Morgan Spiegel
Rick Woodward III
Tamara A. Bazzle
Robert F. Helget
Edward L. Daugherty, FASLA
Frances H. Westbrook
Buckhead Heritage Society
3180 Mathieson Drive, Suite 200
Atlanta, GA 30305