The City of Dunwoody is a picturesque community featuring many of the
metro-areas top dining, shopping, schools and recreation. While a
youngster among cities, officially incorporating on December 1, 2008,
Dunwoody retains a long and rich history dating back hundreds of years
with the first settlers arriving in the early 1800’s.
The City of Dunwoody is nestled at the most northern tip of DeKalb
County, bordered by Fulton County on the north and west, Interstate 285
to the south, and Gwinnett County on the northeast. Officially, the City
limit extends only to the DeKalb County line in the north.
CLICK HERE for Historical Driving Tour of Dunwoody
A Brief History
historical area of Dunwoody officially became a city at midnight on
December 1, 2008 following a community led movement to incorporate the
City. Although not formally recognized as a City prior to 2008, the
residents in this area have always identified themselves as living in
“Dunwoody”, with a unique history separate from other areas and cities
in DeKalb County.
The Cherokee Indian tribe of the Creek Confederation originally
inhabited the City of Dunwoody. The Chattahoochee River made the area
an ideal place to live and was the largest and busiest trading center in
the vicinity. The area was identified by the indigenous population as
the “standing peach tree” or “pitch tree” and was marked by a peach tree
planted here before 1813. By 1820, Cherokee farms dotted the area
around the Chattahoochee. It was at this time that white settlers began
to arrive, creating homesteads, expanding the populations and
cultivating their own small piece of the American dream.
Charles Alexander Dunwoody (Dunwoody namesake, 1828-1905) was
the son of John Dunwoody (also spelled Dunwody) who was one of the
founders of the mills in Roswell. The Dunwoody family moved to Roswell
in 1839. Charles owned a company that manufactured shoes in Roswell. In
1853, the Roswell Manufacturing Company had two cotton mills and
employed about 300 people. It was the largest cotton factory complex in
North Georgia. Barrington King authorized a committee to investigate
building a railroad to transport mill products to Atlanta, 18 miles
away. Because of the need for mill products for the Civil War, a charter
was secured by the State of Georgia in 1863 to build the railroad. Both
Charles Dunwoody and James King (son of Barrington) were members of the
Roswell Guards and Roswell Battalion, respectively.
After returning to Roswell and surveying the destruction left behind,
Major Charles Dunwoody decided to build a new home near
Chamblee-Dunwoody Road and Spalding Drive. The railroad construction
resumed and was in business September 1, 1881. The line would run
between the Air-Line Railroad and the Chattahoochee River and would be
9.8 miles long. The Roswell railroad tied into the Air-Line at Roswell
Junction, which is now Chamblee. After leaving the junction, the next
stop was five miles away at Dunwoody Station, across the street from the
present day Burger King. The railroad carried produce from Dunwoody and
fabric from the mills in Roswell. In 1903, the narrow gauge track was
replaced with modern tracks with the engines inheriting the nicknames
“The Dinkey” and “Old Buck”.
Dunwoody soon developed as a crossroads community (Chamblee-Dunwoody,
Mt. Vernon and Nandina Road) and continued to grow and prosper even
after the railroad shut down in 1921. In 1971, the Spruill family sold a
large portion of their property for the construction of Perimeter Mall
(1971) and surrounding commercial property. Since then, many well known
shopping and mixed used developments have opened along with many of the
Atlanta metro area’s top restaurants.