The Parkwood Garden Club began almost 60 years ago, in February of 1952, when the cost of a first-class stamp was a mere three cents. The year of 1952 was one of tremendous growth. Atlanta grew from the 32nd to the 23rd most populous city in the U.S. The DeKalb County population nearly doubled in size over the previous ten years. In 1952, Georgia Tech won the NCAA National Championship, DeKalb voters approved funding to build a new hospital on North Decatur Road (now DeKalb Medical Center), and the cost of pay phones in Atlanta rose from five cents to ten cents.
During this time of change, 54 women decided to form a club with the purpose of beautification of the Parkwood area (comprised today of East and West Parkwood Roads, Parkwood Lane, Upland Road, and Wimberly Court). The Parkwood Garden Club was officially “born” at the home of Lois Powell, first president of the Club. At the first meeting, the Club decided their primary goals would be the growing and arranging of flowers for neighborhood homes and the maintenance of the ravine (located between East and West Parkwood Roads). Initially, the Garden Club met on the fourth Monday of every month. With over 50 charter members, each meeting required the hostess to borrow cups, saucers, and chairs (some things don’t change).
The Parkwood area and the Garden Club are both rich with history. In the early 1940s, Emory began selling lots to homeowners, but remained owner of the three acre ravine. The Garden Club started upkeep of the ravine in 1952 but did not obtain official ownership of the acreage until March 30, 1971. It was at this time that the Garden Club acquired a quick claim deed for the ravine from Emory for the price of one dollar. The sale occurred at a Garden Club meeting when Myree Maas, former civic chairwoman for the Club, offered one dollar to buy the ravine — funny thing though — Myree did not have a dollar with her at the meeting; the Emory representative loaned her the simple fee. In 1971, the ravine was listed as a DeKalb County Park and the land was valued at $100, allowing the Garden Club to pay less than $5 a year in taxes. One of the Garden Club’s most memorable projects was the building of the decorative wall in the ravine on the Ponce de Leon side in 1962.
The Parkwood Garden Club not only maintains the ravine and assists in beautifying our community, but it also creates opportunities for enriching friendships in our neighborhood. The Club now includes both men and women with members from nearly 100 neighborhood homes. The Parkwood Garden Club has meetings with guest speakers several times a year and hosts a Fall picnic and street party, a December holiday party, and a Spring party. In the late winter the Club sponsors a Cleanup Day for the ravine. All neighbors are invited to join the Club by paying an annual membership fee which supports these programs and events.
Written by: Sarah Frances Locke, granddaughter of Garden Club founding member and former Parkwood neighbor Sarah W. Manning
Special thanks to Myree Maas for her editorial contributions.
For a more detailed account of the Parkwood neighborhood’s history, please read historian Dr. David S. Rotenstein’s article here.