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Column: Buckhead could have been Terminus
by Thornton Kennedy
Northside Neighbor Columnist
July 02, 2012 02:57 PM | 1371 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Thornton Kennedy
Thornton Kennedy
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The founding of Atlanta can be traced back to two settlements, one right here in Buckhead and the other in the center of downtown.

But for a late decision by Georgia leaders, they may well have been one in the same.

Off Ridgewood Road near Moores Mill Road is an Atlanta Department of Watershed Management office in the driveway of what is a small replica of Standing Fort Peachtree. It is here Peachtree Creek joins the Chattahoochee River. A few thousand years ago, the area was a Creek Indian village.

During the War of 1812, a military conflict between the U.S. and Great Britain, the Creek fought along side the British. In 1814, the U.S. built a fort in the vicinity of the Creek Indian village, as the area had become a popular trading post and attracted early settlers. That fort was Standing Fort Peachtree.

Not too far down Marietta Street from this early development was a deeply forested area crisscrossed by stage coach routes. People lived in this area. There was an early resort and some brave pioneers but the people were few and far between.

In the 1830s, the Georgia General Assembly approved a new rail line that would serve the northern part of the state. The elected officials first choose Standing Fort Peachtree as the end point of the new Western & Atlantic Railroad of the state. It was argued, however, that with the two waterways it would be too complicated and too confusing. The decision was made to move the terminus a few miles away.

Sitting in an office a few stories above Peachtree Street is Philip Hauserman. He is a native of Decatur, a graduate of Presbyterian College and a direct link to Atlanta’s founding. He is a member of the Thrasher family. Before Atlanta was Marthasville, named so for Gov. Wilson Lumpkin’s daughter, or the literal Terminus, it was Thrasherville. Hauserman’s ancestors founded that first settlement that grew up around the end of the rail line.

A historic marker in front of the Atlanta Bar Association on Marietta Street reads in part that in 1839, “Cousin John” Thrasher founded a settlement near the peg marking the end of the Western & Atlantic Railroad. Thrasher won a contract to build an embankment there for the future railroad. He purchased land nearby and hired the requisite workers to complete the task. A small village complete with stores and saloons cropped up almost overnight.

Thrasherville was the name given to all of this activity. That name would be changed several times over until Atlanta was settled upon in 1845. As the railroads brought commerce and progress to the former Thrasherville, the area around Standing Fort Peachtree became farmland.

If the original terminus had been agreed upon, Atlanta would be a different place.

Thornton Kennedy is a fifth-generation Buckhead resident and can be reached at thorntonkennedy@me.com.
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