Northwoods, one of the city’s oldest and largest neighborhoods, has been nominated for placement on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Register.
Residents, fueled by the noteworthy nod, have unveiled the first of several mid-century inspired signs to be constructed and placed at neighborhood entrances.
“I haven’t talked to anybody here who doesn’t understand the importance of this honor,” said longtime Northwoods resident Cindy Bradford.
Bradford, who has called the neighborhood home for 12 years, is credited with spearheading its sign campaign.
“It’s a quiet neighborhood with just a great sense of community,” said the Atlanta native. “I probably know more people here than in any neighborhood I’ve ever lived.”
She pointed out that funding for the flagship sign — designed by neighbor Michael Halbert — was made possible by resident donations. A grassroots campaign to raise funds for the remaining signage is already underway.
Northwoods, built in the early 1950s, is one of only three mid-century planned unit developments left in Georgia, said neighborhood resident and lay historian Bob Kelley.
The planned community featured homes designed by Earnest Mastin and John Summer as well as a pair of parks, churches, the first shopping center in Doraville and other landmarks.
The neighborhood, located just inside the perimeter, has since grown to around 750 homes. About 75 percent of them were built in the mid-century architectural style, Bradford noted.
That design — marked by a semi-flat roof and exposed beams inside — appears to be at the center of a mid-century inspired renaissance of sorts. The new signage is but one example. Homeowners there are also actively renovating, bringing their homes back to the dwellings’ original look.
Some are even going so far as to install new mailboxes with clean lines reminiscent of mid-century aesthetics.
For Kelley, the sense of pride buzzing around Northwoods these days is palpable.
“This neighborhood has been here for 60 years; so many don’t even survive anymore … they’ve been built over and things like that,” said Kelley. “It really speaks to the vision of the builder and architects — to build something that has maintained and survived all these years.”
Some original owners, those who purchased houses there back in the 1950s, remain.
“We’re losing them slowly [to death],” Kelley said. “But, their families are holding on to the homes.”