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Column: Plaster’s Bridge last vestige of pioneer family
by Thornton Kennedy
Columnist
July 30, 2014 06:18 PM | 2351 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Thornton Kennedy
Thornton Kennedy
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Imagine standing on top of the Darlington Apartments — the ones with the Atlanta’s Population Now sign out front on Peachtree Road — and looking in every direction but west and seeing the property of but one man as far as the eye could see.

That is how noted Atlanta historian Franklin Garrett describes the land holdings of pioneer settler Benjamin Plaster in his all-encompassing history books, “Atlanta and Environs.” When Plaster died in 1836 he left his heirs more than 1,300 acres of what is today Peachtree Heights, Peachtree Hills, part of Brookwood Hills and much more.

Until 1915 or so Piedmont Road was known as Plaster’s Bridge Road, named for a bridge Plaster erected over Peachtree Creek. It was about 300 feet downstream from the current bridge spanning the creek on Piedmont, just south of Lindbergh Drive.

Born in North Carolina in 1780, Plaster moved to the area shortly after the War of 1812, in which he served as a private in the Georgia militia. He earned the land in what was then a young DeKalb County as a result of his military service.

The Plaster home was located on Lindbergh near the Southern Railway line just south of the Lindbergh MARTA station today. He lived and died long before the railroad came through, though. Plaster led an industrious life as a successful planter, but could not have known a major city was about to emerge just south of his homestead.

His will is the oldest on record in DeKalb, according to Garrett. In it he divided his 1,316 acres between his wife Sally, his children, Edwin, Benjamin and Piety Plaster, and left his home and a feather bed upon the death of his wife to his granddaughter, Sally Williamson.

Benjamin Plaster is buried in a family cemetery near his home on the crest of a hill overlooking Peachtree Creek. Soon the railroad rumbled by within 100 feet of his final resting place, Garrett wrote. Also buried there were his wife, his son Benjamin and a grandson. Joining the Plasters in the cemetery was another familiar Atlanta pioneer, Capt. Hezekiah Cheshire, for whom Cheshire Bridge and its eponymous road is named.

According to the Lindridge/Martin Manor neighborhood’s website, that cemetery can’t be found today. It is thought to be in the vicinity of the building off Garrison Road that is now Passion City Church, formerly a Home Depot Expo design center.

Why Cheshire Bridge Road survived and Plaster’s Bridge Road didn’t we’ll never know. There is a remnant of it in an industrial area off Piedmont Circle parallel to Interstate 85. There is also a Plaster Avenue, a short residential street, in Peachtree Hills. They are perhaps the last vestiges of one of the area’s founding families.

Buckhead resident Thornton Kennedy is a former news editor of this paper and can be reached at thorntonkennedy@me.com.
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