In continuing my series on Historic Neighborhoods You Should Know about, let’s explore Scottdale. If you are a lover of the eastside but find the prices in Decatur a little more than you want to spend, head slightly east to the quirky mill-town of Scottdale. Inside I-285 and just north of Avondale Estates you will find a little enclave.
photo courtesy Michelle Mechem
Scottdale grew up around the Scott Cotton Mill in the late 1800’s. Col. George Washington Scott purchased land after the American Civil War and started a mill. As was the practice at the time, to draw workers to the mill, Col. Scott went north to the Appalachian Mountains. He offered jobs, housing and a weekly food allowance for those who agreed to relocate. As in Cabbagetown, workers were given a house based on the size of their family, and a weekly stipend for groceries. This worked for decades until as part of labor reform laws, the US government ruled this exchange system unfair because workers were not actually paid a paycheck. The mill was forced to switch to a payroll system, but no education was given to the workers on how to manage money. They had to pay rent and buy their own groceries. Many did not handle the conversion well. Between this and the general downturn in the mill’s profitability, the area went into economic chaos. By 1982, the mill had closed it’s doors.
photo courtesy the Dekalb History Center
Philanthropist Tobie Grant stepped in and donated 55 acres in an attempt to keep the entire town from falling into homelessness. Tobie was a prominent member of the Scottdale community. She was known for her ability to give advice and “see” in to the future. She never referred to herself as a psychic. She preferred to call herself a “sense-giver.” Her clientele consisted of mostly white citizens, businessmen, clergy and even the Dekalb County police department, (which she assisted them on missing persons cases.) She herself was a businesswoman and owned the cemetery in Washington Park and several acres of property all over Atlanta. She was a generous woman and several public buildings, including parks and the library bear her name.
logo courtesy YDFM website
In the mid 1980’s, Your Dekalb Farmers Market was looking for land to expand. David Scott, a descendant of Col. Scott had been an early supporter of the market and agreed to sell several acres in Scottdale to Robert Blazer. This World Market has continued to expand and is one of the largest purveyors of fresh food in the Atlanta area. It employs hundreds of people and has more than 100,000 shoppers pass through its doors each week. Scottdale still has an active steel mill and several antique stores including Kudzu antiques.
Current Scottdale housing has historic shotgun shacks and bungalows mixed with new urban farmhouses. Current listings range from $148,000 – $550,000. Let us know if you would like to tour homes in Scottdale. Our team is here to help. 404-978-2273