|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2009)|
Cascade Heights is an affluent neighborhood in southwest Atlanta. Along with Sandtown and other portions of unincorporated South Fulton County, the area has a good reputation as the first place for Atlanta's early settlers and still where the key leaders live.
It is the oldest settled area of Atlanta 2 1/2 miles east of former the Indian Village of Utoy, visited by Ponce De Leon in 1521 and the first US Post Office was established in 1822 after the Creek "Muscogian" Indians were moved to Oklahoma. The area was settled by the first Physicians in Dekalb, now fulton county, Dr. William Gilbert and Dr Joshua Gilbert. The First Church established in Dekalb County in 1822 was the Utoy Primitive baptist Church in 1822. The area became important during the American Civil War as the site of the Battle of Utoy Creek an attempt to break the defenses of Atlanta protecting the railroads. The Key battles of the siege of Atlanta were fought in the Cascade heights area. Today thousands of visiters come to visit the Utoy Creek Battelfield site at the Cascade Nature preserve where 800 US Soldiers were killed during the battle of Utoy Creek and 1200 wounded.
Cascade Heights, or simply Cascade, can refer to a large area that is bound by I-20, on the north, I-285 on the west, South Utoy Creek on the south, and the Adams Park and Beecher Hills neighborhoods to the east. By this definition, this area also includes neighborhoods such as Peyton Forest, West Manor, and Mangum Manor to name a few. This situation can be paralleled to Midtown's role in Northeast Atlanta; each neighborhood is separate and distinct but the area is still known by one generic name.
1521: area visited by Spanish Explorer Ponce de Leon who traveled the indian trail later named Sandtown, and now Cascade up to atlanta to the road than bear his name.
1821: Area vacated by Creek indians
1821: First US Post office (In Atlanta Area) established near her at Utoy Post Office
1822: First Church in Dekalb County, (Now Fulton County) established at Utoy Primitive Baptist Church
1864: August 1-7, Site of the Battle of Utoy Creek along Cascade Road August 1864 during the American Civil War.
1864: August 7-26, Siege of Atlanta fought along Delowe Drive in Adams park and along Willis Mill Road
1888: Establishment of Watering Sites along the Sandtown (Now Cascade Road) as rest sites for travelers with good spring water for man or beast.
1960: Civil Rights: Blockbusting and the Peyton Road barricades. In the early 1960s the area was a predominantly white neighborhood. After an African American physician bought a home in Peyton Forest, white residents in the area feared that their neighborhood would become a victim of blockbusting, a business practice in which real estate agents would profit from the racial fears of white residents while changing the racial makeup of a white residential area. When African-Americans moved into a neighborhood, their presence resulted in lower residential property values because many whites considered an integrated neighborhood to be undesirable. Real estate agents stirred up racial tension and benefited from the commissions they earned when fearful homeowners sold their properties, often at a loss, in order to escape the area.
In a 1962–1963 episode that came to be called "the Peyton Road affair", Atlanta mayor Ivan Allen responded to residents' fears of blockbusting by directing city staff to erect barricades on Peyton Road and Harlan Road to restrict access to Cascade Heights, thus preventing African American homeseekers from getting to the neighborhood from Gordon Road (now MLK Drive). He took the action at the urging of white residents of southwest Atlanta (in particular, one of his high-level employees who lived a short distance from Peyton Road). After the barricades went up, December 18, 1962, the incident quickly drew national attention. The barrier was compared to the Berlin wall and nicknamed the "Atlanta wall". Some newspapers in other parts of the country questioned Atlanta's motto "the City Too Busy to Hate." The walls were torn down when, on March 1, 1963, a court ruled them to be unconstitutional. This event is considered[by whom?] to have helped spur the growth and prominence of Collier Heights, the first affluent community in the nation built by and for African-Americans.
Affluent African American neighborhood
White homeowners fled the neighborhood after the barricades were removed. By the end of July 1963, only 15 white homeowners remained in Peyton Forest.
By the late 1960s the Cascade Heights neighborhood was predominantly African-American and it remained relatively affluent.
In recent decades[when?], the larger Cascade area has been expanding westward with new subdivisions and shopping centers. It resembles any other upper-middle-class suburb, with the exception being that nearly all of its residents are African-American. Notable celebrities are residents of the Cascade Heights, has several exclusive gated communities. The home of notables and celebrities.
Notable residents of Cascade Heights include: former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin, baseball legend Hank Aaron, former UN Ambassador and mayor of Atlanta Andrew Young, and past national president of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and founding member of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Ozell Sutton, Dr. Howard W. Grant, current Executive Director/Administrator of the Atlanta Board of Education, and Kandi Burruss, singer/songwriter, record producer, and cast member of The Real Housewives of Atlanta., Harry R. "Bob" Kerr, president of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.
- Ernie Suggs and Tom Benett, "Former Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. dead at age 92; Mayor helped city bridge racial divide", Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Legacy.com), retrieved January 10, 2012
- Paul Crater (December 2011), "49 Years Ago This Month: Atlanta's "Berlin Wall"; December 1962", Atlanta Magazine
- Tammy H. Galloway (2010), "Ivan Allen Jr. (1911–2003)", The New Georgia Encyclopedia
- "Remaining Walls", Ebony, June 1963: 24–25
- "The South: Divided City", Time Magazine, January 18, 1963
- Sacred places: a guide to the civil rights sites in Atlanta, Georgia. p. 159.
- White flight: Atlanta and the making of modern conservatism. p. 5.