What Local Historic District DOES NOT do: · Does not regulate paint colors · Does not require repairs or renovations to be made · Does not increase taxes beyond normal increases for the City or County · Does not prevent additions · Does not prevent non-contributing homes from being demolished · Does not require use of historic materials or historic building methods · Does not require that you open you home to the public · Does not restrict routine maintenance of properties
What Local Historic District DOES do: · Recognizes that Oakhurst has a distinctive historic character important to the overall character of the City of Decatur · Encourages creative and compatible development with historic areas · Requires that a Certificate of Appropriateness be obtained for exterior changes to contributing properties, demolition of buildings, and new construction. · Applies only to major renovations to the exterior of your home. Interior renovations are not restricted.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Oakhurst Historic District Nomination Form

Decatur Historic District Nomination Form

Short Name of District: Oakhurst Historic District


Describe in general terms the location of the district within the City
The proposed Oakhurst District is located in the southwest quadrant of the City of Decatur. The District is bound by West College Avenue to the north; Winter Avenue, Johnston Place, Park Place, and portion of East Lake to the west; the Oakhurst commercial District to the south; and Mead Road to the east. The boundary streets are College Avenue to the north, Leyden Street to the south, Mead Road to the east, and East Lake Drive to the west.

List streets and features within and around the district.
In addition to West College Avenue, Winter Avenue, Johnston Place, Park Place, East Lake Drive and Mead Road, the proposed district also includes Hood Circle, Third Avenue, Cambridge Avenue, Feld Avenue and Leyden Street. The district includes Oakhurst Elementary, Oakhurst Business District, West College Businesses, Bell South Property, Mead Road Businesses, Oakhurst Baptist Church, Thankful Baptist Church, East Lake Marta property and a cohesive development of bungalow style homes. The district is located between the MAK Local Historic District and the Historic Scottish Rite and the proposed Kirkwood Historic District.

Reasons for requesting historic district designation.
Check all that apply and explain.
___ Recognition
_x_ Protection
The entire Oakhurst neighborhood is under extreme redevelopment pressure. The proposed district is in danger of losing important historic structures and overall character.
___Tax Incentives
___Grant Assistance

Nomination prepared by:
Brendan Breault, Greg Levine, Joy Provost

Title and Organization, if any:
Oakhurst Historic Preservation Group

Mailing Address:
228 Third Avenue, Decatur, GA 30030

Please explain your relationship to or interest in the district:
Citizens of City of Decatur and residents of the Oakhurst neighborhood.

Signature: Date:

Decatur Historic District Nomination Form

I. Name of the District
Oakhurst Historic District includes portions of the Town of Oakhurst developed by the East Lake Land Development Co., in 1910 and 1924, A.R. and L.M. Morris development in 1915, Feld Realty Company development in 1910 and John Ridley development in 1910. It is included in the large annexed area of Decatur between 1914-1916. The very northern section of Mead Road was annexed by the City of Decatur in 1907.

II. Description of District

a. Narrative Description
Oakhurst Historic District’s development was tied to the expansion of the railroad. One of the early stations built was Meade Station, which is thought to have been located at what is now Mead Road. John F. Ridley sold off portions of his property near the station for the development of the town of Oakhurst. Oakhurst was incorporated in 1910. The 1910 residential directory gave addresses in Oakhurst along Park Place, Viola (Madison), College Avenue, Meades Road (Mead Road) and Winter Avenue. Oakhurst was annexed into the City of Decatur in 1915.

Continued development was linked to the addition of trolley lines. The North Decatur line was built in 1892 running north of Candler Park, down to DeKalb Avenue and then following East Lake Drive South. It then crossed the South Decatur line at the intersection of Oakview Road, East Lake Drive and Mead Road.

The development of Oakhurst was developed closely to the expansion of Decatur and enjoys some of the same character as the oldest development of the City. Oakhurst Historic District housing is predominately in the bungalow style with Craftsman details. The majority of the homes are of wood construction, but there are many brick or stone homes. They are further distinguished by the simplicity of detailing and large front porches.

Oakhurst Baptist Church was the first church of any denomination in the City of Oakhurst.

Nestled within the Oakhurst Neighborhood is Oakhurst Elementary School, which recently underwent a nicely crafted and historically sensitive renovation, adding charm to the neighborhood. Having a school within the neighborhood creates a sense of community and enhances the small town feel of the district.

The area borders Oakhurst Park, maintained by Decatur Parks and Recreation Department. It serves as a recreational area for children, pets and various athletic teams and groups.

b. Condition
i. Very Good .05%
ii. Good .25%
iii. Average 64%
iv. Fair .05%
v. Poor .006%
vi. Ruinous .003%
c. Number of Properties
There are 317 properties in the Oakhurst Historic District.

d. Instrusions and Non-Historic Properties
There are several non-historic properties within the Oakhurst Historic District, although the majority of the homes would be considered contributing structures (over 50 years old). Over time, the original structures are being torn down and replaced with larger, more modern homes. However, many homeowners have built additions and managed to keep within the style of the neighborhood.

e. Boundaries of the District
The District is bound by West College Avenue to the north; Winter Avenue, Johnston Place, Park Place, and portion of East Lake to the west; the Oakhurst commercial District to the south; and Mead Road to the east. The boundary streets are College Avenue to the north, Leyden Street to the south, Mead Road to the east, and East Lake Drive to the west. This area comprises the most intact pre-war constructed homes in the City of Decatur. Another demarcation is its proximity to the former Scottish Rite Hospital currently listed in the National Register and the MAK Historic District.

f. Photographs
Photographs are included as an appendix to the application.

g. Maps
Maps of the district are attached.

III. History
a. Summary of Historic Facts
· The area is comprised of four subdivision built in the residential construction boom that preceded the expansion of rail stops and trolley lines. The developers include East Lake Land Development, AR & LM Morris, Feld Realty Company and John Ridley. Development occurred between 1910-1915 with additional development in 1924.
· The intersection of present day Mead Road with the railroad was the location of one of three Southern Railroad line tops in Decatur called Meade Station.
· Includes Hood Circle, one of the few streets with what appear to be World War II era houses: frame minimal Cape Cod “workers” houses.
· East Lake Drive was one of three automobile routes from Decatur to Atlanta by the mid-1920s.
· Original platted history.

b. Historical Narrative

In 1892 the Atlanta City Street Railway Company built the North Decatur line. Called “north” because it ran north of the South Decatur line, the second tram route ran through Candler Park down to DeKalb Avenue and then turned, following East Lake Drive south, east and south again into East Lake. This line crossed the South Decatur line at the intersection of Oakview, East Lake and Mead Road at what is now the “commercial “center in western South Decatur.

John F. Ridley purchased the Eugenius N. Meade property in 1907 and worked a small farm on the site when he first moved there. Ridley’s economic prosperity, however, was based in merchandise and real estate, not crops. In 1910, most of his sizeable estate was absorbed into the Town of Oakhurst, and he eventually sold off portions of his property. Some became the site for the Oakhurst School, more of it the basis for a subdivision along Mead Road.

In 1910 the Georgia Legislature approved the incorporation of the Town of Oakhurst, from all appearances the smallest of the settlement in the area of East Atlanta. The population for Oakhurst was a mere 100 people. The original residential directory gave addresses in Oakhurst along Park Place, Viola (Madison), College Avenue, Meades Road (Mead Road), and Winter Avenue, all located south of the railroad tracts in the original Oakhurst Subdivion.

Very little is known about the origins of Oakhurst or its brief life as a separate municipality, since the City Hall/Schoolhouse burned (and the records with it) a few weeks after the annexation to Decatur in 1915.

Most of Oakhurst was settled after it was annexed to Decatur, but he setting was already in place as far as relationship of lots to the street, lots to other lots and the lot size of the overall neighborhood. It is a pattern of down-scaled houses, overwhelmingly pre-World War II, overwhelmingly bungalow and sizable number are brick.

IV. Significance
a. Geography
Oakhurst is a neighborhood that many consider within walking distance to the downtown business and shopping district in the City of Decatur. It has a very popular commercial district with several restaurants, art galleries and other retail business. It contains a well used dog park, recreation park, and Boys and Girls Club. The Oakhurst area attracts many visitors from other parts of Decatur, Atlanta, and metro-Atlanta locations.

Oakhurst has many hardwood trees that pre-date back the origins of the neighborhood. There is a neighborhood arboretum within the Oakhurst community and many of the trees in the arboretum are located within the boundaries of the proposed district.

Oakhurst is an excellent example of the rapid suburban expansion that the electric streetcar service permitted.

b. Architecture
The predominant architectural style of Oakhurst is the distinctive bungalow with varying amounts of Craftsman detailing. Excellent examples of Queen Annes, Pyrmidal Cottages, Gabled Ells, Georgia Revival, Minimal Traditional, American Foursquare and Temple Forms exist.

V. Sources of Information
City of Decatur (decaturga.com)- zoning and land use maps
Dekalb County web site (dklbweb.dekalbga.org/TaxAssessor/)- property information
Atlanta History Center (Dorrie)
Dekalb Historical Society
Decatur Library
Decatur Preservation Alliance (decaturpreservationalliance.org and and Decatur Historic Preservation Resource Manual and Design Supplement to the Decatur Historic Preservation Resource Manual)
McAlester, Virginia & Lee. A Field Guide to American Houses, Alfred A Knopf, 1986
The Story of Decatur, 1823-99, by Caroline McKinney Clarke
Architectural History of Decatur Neighborhoods
City of Decatur Historic Resources Survey prepared by Catherine Wilson-Martin and Dr. Darlene R. Roth

Next Steps:
Community Education

A meeting was held in October of 2005 to discuss the nature of a local historic district. An invitation to the meeting was delivered via handbill to all residents of the Oakhurst Community one week before the meeting.

Discussion regarding a local historic district continued via in-fill meetings held by various member of the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association.

There was strong support of a local historic district within the district described here. Members of the community began the research to pursue a local historic district.