Tucker, Georgia

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Tucker, Georgia
Census-designated place
The historic Brownings Courthouse in December 2012
The historic Brownings Courthouse in December 2012
Location in DeKalb County and the state of Georgia
Location in DeKalb County and the state of Georgia
Coordinates: 33°51′6″N 84°13′17″W / 33.85167°N 84.22139°W / 33.85167; -84.22139Coordinates: 33°51′6″N 84°13′17″W / 33.85167°N 84.22139°W / 33.85167; -84.22139
Country United States
State Georgia
County DeKalb
 • Total 12.1 sq mi (31.3 km2)
 • Land 12.0 sq mi (31.0 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation 1,122 ft (342 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 27,581
 • Density 2,302/sq mi (888.9/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 30084-30085
Area code(s) 404, 770, 678
FIPS code 13-77652[1]
GNIS feature ID 0333270[2]

Tucker is a census-designated place located in unincorporated DeKalb County, Georgia, United States. It was originally settled in the 1820s, and later developed as a railroad community in 1892. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 27,581.[3] After a referendum in the November 2015 general election approved it by a 3:1 margin, Tucker will incorporate as a city after a special election selects a new mayor and city council in spring 2016.



The 1821 Georgia Land Lottery opened portions of state land for settlement between the Flint and Ocmulgee rivers, including present-day DeKalb County. The Muscogee (Creek) Nation ceded the land to the United States in January of that year, and drawings for lots measuring 202.5 acres (81.9 ha) each began in May in Milledgeville, the state capital until 1868. The land grant fee was $19.00.[4]

In 1821, the area that would become Tucker was in Militia District 572 in Henry County. The state created DeKalb County on December 9, 1822, and District 572 became DeKalb's 18th District, or the Brownings District, reportedly named for Andrew Browning.[5][6]

Among the thirty cemeteries within a 4-mile (6 km) radius of Main Street, approximately 30 graves belong to individuals born in the 18th century, four of whom are Revolutionary War soldiers. Twelve graves belong to Confederate soldiers.[7]

American Civil War[edit]

In spite of DeKalb County delegates voting against secession from the United States, Georgia joined the Confederacy and seceded from the union in 1861. The full reality of that decision marched into Tucker in July 1864. Union soldiers camped at Henderson's Mill, used the Brownings Court, one of the few buildings in the area they did not burn, dismantled the railroad to Stone Mountain, and formed the left wing of Sherman's advance to Atlanta.

Map of Tucker area during the U.S. Civil War


19th century geological survey showing railroad in Tucker

In 1886 the Georgia, Carolina and Northern Railway received a charter to build a new rail line between Monroe, North Carolina, and Atlanta. Prior to the project's completion, the company leased the road to the Seaboard Air Line Railroad system, a collection of regional railroads headquartered in North Carolina eager to extend its reach to Atlanta.[8]

Seaboard built depots at a number of small villages, often little more than a crossroads, and named them for railroad company officials. The depot at Jug Tavern, for example, was named for Seaboard's general manager, John H. Winder. The stop at Bryan was named in honor of the system's general superintendent, Lilburn Meyers. Although the origin of the name is unknown, it is possible that the next stop, in the Brownings District, may have been named for Rufus S. Tucker, a director and major shareholder in several Seaboard system railroads. At the DeKalb County Centennial Celebration in 1922, Charles Murphey Candler stated that Tucker a “prosperous and promising village on the Seaboard Air Line Railway . . . was named in honor of Capt. Tucker, an official of the Seaboard Air Railway.” Some residents attribute the name to a local family with the surname Tucker.[9][10]

1895 Map of DeKalb County, Georgia, including Tucker.

The first train steamed into the new Tucker station on Sunday, April 24, 1892. Originating in Elberton with a final destination of the Atlanta suburb of Inman Park — a four-hour trip — the Seaboard train consisted of two cars carrying 150 passengers and a baggage car.[11] Two months later the US Postal Service appointed Alpheus G. Chewning first Postmaster of the Tucker Post office. Rural Free Delivery began on March 2, 1903.[12][13]

In 1967, the Seaboard Air-Line Railway merged with the Atlantic Coast Line to form the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad. In 1980, the company merged with the Chessie System to form current railroad operator, CSX.[14] Although no longer a train stop for passengers, the Tucker depot is currently a CSX field office for track repair and signal maintenance.[15]

Tucker, at 1,117 feet (340 m) feet above sea level, is the highest point of elevation on the railroad line between Atlanta and Richmond, Virginia.[16]

Twentieth century[edit]

Following World War II, Tucker began a steady transition from an agricultural community to a mixed industrial, retail, and residential area. The strength of a county-wide water system extending into Tucker by the 1950s, and the post war establishment of nearby employers in other areas of the county including the CDC in 1947, General Motors in Doraville, Kraft Foods in Decatur, and the growth of Emory University, brought new residents to Tucker from across the nation. Descendants of early settlers subdivided and sold family land for neighborhoods and shopping plazas. Local community leaders opened Tucker Federal Savings and Loan, created a youth football league, and by the 1960s newspapers identified Tucker as “DeKalb’s Area of Golden Opportunity.” The Baby Boom drove the growth of DeKalb County schools and with the affordability of the car, the expansion of the highway system, and inexpensive fuel, Tucker became an ideal location to call home.[17][18]


U. S. Geological Survey 1964

Tucker is located in northeastern DeKalb County at 33°51′6″N 84°13′17″W / 33.85167°N 84.22139°W / 33.85167; -84.22139 (33.851736, -84.221524), approximately 15 miles (24 km) northeast of downtown Atlanta. According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 12.1 square miles (31 km2), of which 12.0 square miles (31 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2), or 0.83%, is water.

The Eastern Continental Divide cuts through Tucker, along Chamblee-Tucker Road to LaVista Road and continuing south towards Mountain Industrial Boulevard. Water falling to the west of this line flows towards the Chattahoochee River and the Gulf of Mexico. Water falling to the east of this line flows towards the Atlantic Ocean through the Ocmulgee River.[19]


Tucker creeks and streams

Tucker is in the state's Piedmont geologic region, composed of igneous and metamorphic rocks resulting from 300 to 600 million year old sediments that were subjected to high temperatures and pressures and re-exposed roughly 250 to 300 million years ago. Rocks typical of the region include schist, amphibolite, gneiss, migmatite, and granite.[20]

Over a dozen creeks originate in Tucker including Burnt Fork Creek, South Fork Peachtree Creek, Camp Creek, and Henderson Mill Creek. Prior to the widespread accessibility of electricity and indoor plumbing, several were used as mill ponds or dammed for baptism. From 1906 until its demise in the 1940s, Burnt Fort Creek was the primary tributary for the Decatur Waterworks.[21]

Surrounding municipalities[edit]


Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches

Tucker's climate, typical of a humid subtropical climate, features mild winters and hot summers. In spite of moderate conditions compared to communities many other states, Tucker has occasional extreme weather. The record high is 110 °F (43 °C), recorded on July 8, 1927, and the record low, January 21, 1985, −10 °F (−23 °C).[22][22][23]


Map of the US Census Bureau's Tucker CCD and Tucker Census-designated place (CDP)

According to the 2010 census, the Tucker Census-designated place (CDP) had a population of 27,581, and the racial and ethnic composition of the CDP was as follows:

  • White American: 63.0% (Non-Hispanic Whites: 57.8%)
  • African American: 22.3%
  • Hispanic or Latino (of any race): 10.6%
  • Asian: 7.4%
  • American Indian and Alaska Native: 0.4%
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0.1%
  • Multiracial American: 2.7%[24]

As of 2012, the median income per household was $64,388, and the per capita income was $33,552. 11.4% of the population is below the poverty line, 5.6% lower that the state average.

Of the 11,894 housing units identified in 2012, the home ownership rate is 70.7% and the median value of owner occupied housing units, $233,700. Multi-unit structures (apartment complexes, condominiums) represent 22% of all housing.[24]

Culture and contemporary life[edit]

Downtown Tucker in January

Tucker primarily consists of 1960s and 1970s-era ranch and split-level homes, and 1970s and 1980s-era multi-story homes. The latter two often feature daylight basements. Various neighborhoods are typically groups by geographic association with elementary schools and other centers of community life such as parks.

Community organizations[edit]

The lack of a formal city government, and the desire for community involvement, fostered the growth of various groups and associations. Some of the more significant include; the Tucker Business Association, Tucker Community Improvement District, Tucker Civic Association, Tucker Football League, Tucker Historical Society, Friends of Henderson Park, Friends of Johns Homestead, Main Street Tucker Alliance, Northlake Community Alliance, Friends of the Tucker Nature Preserve, Old Town Tucker Merchants Association, Tucker Parent Council, and the Tucker Youth Soccer Association (which has since changed its name to Triumph Youth Soccer Association).

With the exception of sports organizations, involving residents in multiple counties, most of these groups are predominantly led by and serve residents within the Tucker area.

Tucker includes multiple Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentecostal, and Presbyterian churches; Catholic, Mormon, and over a dozen non-denomination Christian churches, some holding services in Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Several churches including Rehoboth Baptist, established in 1854, and First Baptist of Tucker, established in 1893, maintain large youth athletic programs.[25][26] In the 1970s, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints built a regional welfare and emergency response center in Royal Atlanta Business Park.[27]

Outdoor events[edit]

Outdoor events held on Main Street are a central part of the community for numerous residents and organizations. The Tucker Day celebration, first held in the 1950s, is an annual event typically including a parade, that runs the length of Main Street with food vendors, artist, musicians, and merchants. Other annual events on Main Street include the Taste of Tucker and Tucker Chili Cook-Off. The street is also closed for the Tucker Cruise-In held monthly between April and September. The Farmers Market on Main Street occupies a similar seasonal schedule, though weekly.

The Tucker Civic Association, Friends of Henderson Park, Friends of the Tucker Nature Preserve, and neighborhood groups regularly organize park and roadside cleanup efforts. The Tucker Historical Society hosts the annual Brownings Courthouse Day and the annual Garden Tour.

The Tucker High School varsity football team, the Tucker Tigers, is a large seasonal draw for former and current Tucker alumni and residents. Like most high schools in DeKalb County, Tucker does not have a local football stadium, thus home games are technically away games.

Cyclist completing the weekly 42 mile ‘’Tucker Ride.’’

Amateur sports[edit]

Tucker Football League (TFL) and Triumph Youth Soccer Association (TYSA), formerly the Tucker Youth Soccer Association, are the two largest independent youth sports organizations in the community. TYSA is the largest in DeKalb County, and the fourth largest youth soccer association in Georgia.[28] The TFL holds games and practices at the privately owned Fitzgerald Field. TYSA uses county fields at Henderson Park and the privately owned Granite – Patillo Field.[29]

Adult sports include road bicycle racing. The weekly 42-mile (68 km) Tucker Ride and Baby Tucker. According to Southeastern Cycling, "This is where the big boys and racers show up to play."[30] The Tucker ride maintains speeds over 24-mile (39 km) per hour. The Baby Tucker is slightly less strenuous at 20-mile (32 km) per hour.[31]


Suburban residence in Tucker

According to data from 2007, the Tucker CDP had 3,709 businesses, and the ethnic composition of the owners was as follows:

  • Black or African American-owned owned: 18.3%
  • Asian-owned: 10.3%
  • American Indian and Alaska Native-owned: (Not available)
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander-owned: (Fewer than 25 firms)
  • Other: 71.3%

More demographic figures:

  • Hispanics (of any race) were 4.7% of the owners
  • Women were 28.8% of the owners


Tucker serves as corporate headquarters for several nationally and international recognized companies including; Oglethorpe Power, YP Holdings (Publisher of ‘’The Real Yellow Pages’’), Primo Grills and Smokers, The Big Green Egg, Case-Mate, and Georgia Case Company[citation needed]. Tucker is also home of the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association the Emory University Orthopaedics and Spine Hospital, the Montreal Industrial district, a portion of the Northlake retail area, and Royal Atlanta Business Park[citation needed].

Community Improvement District[edit]

In February 2013, DeKalb County Board of Commissioners approved the formation of the Tucker Community Improvement District (CID). Extending from Mountain Industrial Boulevard to I-285, commercial property owners in the district vote on a self-imposed milliage rate and property tax increase and use the funds for community improvements. The tax and milliage rate increase applies to commercial property only, and not residential owners. Under Georgia law CID funds may be used for street and road construction and maintenance, parks and recreation area, public transportation, and other services. CID investments are often leveraged through state and local grants increasing return on investment.[33]

In September 2013 the Northlake Community Alliance entered into an agreement to partner with the Tucker CID for economic development.[34][35][36]

Government and politics[edit]

Tucker in Georgia's 4th and 6th Congressional Districts; Georgia State Senate Districts 40 and 41; and Georgia House of Representatives House Districts 81, 86, 87, and 88.[37][38] At the county level, Tucker is in DeKalb’s District 1, represented by Commissioner Elaine Boyer.


In February 2013, in response to concerns over crime, zoning, and self-determination a newly formed organization, the Lakeside City Alliance (LCA), announced a proposal to investigate the creation a new city in DeKalb County, including portions within the Tucker zip code, on both sides of I-285, and began fundraising for the state required viability study[citation needed]. On March 25, 2013 State Senator Fran Millar submitted an '’Act to incorporate the City of Lakeside in DeKalb County’’ to the Georgia General Assembly.[39][40][41][42]

The same day, State Representative Mary Margaret Oliver submitted an additional act, preemptively, to form a new municipality, affording residents inside I-285 affected by the Lakeside proposal the opportunity to pursue the option of incorporation.[43] The following day, March 26, in order to secure Tucker a seat at the table during the 2014 legislative session, State Representatives Billy Mitchell, Michele Henson, and ‘’Coach’’ Earnest Williams submitted an additional act to incorporate a new municipality.[44]

In response to the time line set by Senator Millar, residents of Tucker formed Tucker Together to evaluate options to preserve Tucker as an existing community and raise funds for an incorporation study. Tucker2014 organized in June 2013 as an advocacy group in favor of incorporation.[45][46] In May 2013, the City of Briarcliff Initiative, Inc. (COBI) announced plans for a city proposal that include Tucker west of I-285. The Briarcliff map includes the entire Lakeside City map west of I-285 and additional unincorporated areas of DeKalb County.[47][48]

The results of all three incorporation studies indicate that each map contains enough revenue to support a proposed city. However, all three maps overlap, and all three include significant resources within the Tucker zip code. .[49][50][51][52]

Based on U.S. Census data, the estimated proposed City of Tucker population is 55,713, comprising 23,089 households in a 25 square mile area, with 2,976 businesses.[53] The proposed City of Tucker includes all of the Tucker CCD inside the Perimeter in the Tucker zip code, and east of Henderson Mill Road to I-285 at Henderson Road, all of the Tucker CCD outside the Perimeter, a portion of the Stone Mountain CCD in the Tucker High School District, a portion of the Stone Mountain CCD above East Ponce de Leon Avenue, and the industrial area north of I-85 and south of the City of Doraville.[54]

The proposal includes all of the Tucker zip code, the Tucker High School District, Smoke Rise, and Embry Hills. The Northlake area, inside the Perimeter and north of Lavista and Briarcliff Road, while historically considered to be part of greater Tucker,[citation needed] was assigned an Atlanta zip code in the 1970s. The area became more closely identified with its commercial hub, which led to a feeling of disassociation with Tucker among the many new residents who settled in the area[citation needed]. The area inside the Perimeter and south of LaVista Road remained under the jurisdiction of the Tucker Post office, retaining the Tucker designation.[55]


Tucker High School 2013

In the Tucker CDP, 91.4% of adults have graduated high school, 7% higher than the state average, and 46.8% of adults age 25 or older have a bachelor’s degree or higher, 19% higher than the state average.[56]


Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Atlanta

Primary and secondary education[edit]

All public schools in Tucker operate under the jurisdiction DeKalb County School District. The DeKalb County School District’s Sam A. Moss Service Center is also located in Tucker.[57]

Elementary schools[edit]

  • Brockett Elementary School
  • Idlewood Elementary School
  • Livsey Elementary School
  • Midvale Elementary School
  • Smoke Rise Charter Elementary School

Middle school[edit]

  • Tucker Middle School

High school[edit]


Tucker owes the origins of its infrastructure in large measure to the efforts of former DeKalb County Commissioner, Scott Candler Sr.[citation needed] In the 1940s and 50s Candler brought resources typically reserved for cities, to rural communities.[citation needed] Road improvements, public safety, water, and library resources were pushed to the far ends of the County under his administration.[citation needed] Tucker residents continued the tradition of expansion by maintaining and improving theses resources throughout the 1960s, 70s,and 80s. Local businesses like Cofer Brothers, a lumber and supply company, thrived under the mid-century housing boom on both sides of the county line.[58]

DeKalb County continues to acquire green space in Tucker, invest in road improvement projects, and work with local committees and organizations to improve the area.[citation needed]

Livable Centers Initiative[edit]

In 2000, the Tucker Civic Association adopted a Neighborhood Strategic Plan created to assist in identifying goals and policies from the 1996 DeKalb County Comprehensive Land Use Plan, and to make recommendations for strategic planning and development of the Tucker neighborhood identity. In 2005, the Atlanta Regional Commission issued Tucker a grant for the development of a Livable Cities Initiative (LCI). The LCI study focused to reestablishing Main Street as a central point for the greater Tucker community, create a more pedestrian-friendly and interconnected town center by encouraging walking and other modes of transportation to and around the commercial core.[59][60]

In 2008 the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners approved the Tucker Overlay District enabling local business to improve the downtown area.[61][62]

Police, fire and rescue[edit]

DeKalb Fire Station 5

In 2006 the DeKalb County Police Department headquarters relocated to Tucker off Northlake Parkway. The Tucker Precinct is location next to the Cofer Crossing Shopping Center.

Tucker is also home to DeKalb County Fire and Rescue Department's Station 5 on Lawrenceville Hwy, and Station 22 on Montreal Road. The portion of Tucker in Gwinnett County is services by Gwinnett Police Department, North and South Precincts, and by Gwinnett County Fire Department Station 2 on Harmony Grove Road.[63][64][64][65][66][67]

Parks and recreation[edit]

Gazebo at Henderson Park

The Tucker zip code is home to over 230 acres (93 ha) of DeKalb County parks and recreation areas including lakes, creeks, trails, tennis courts, baseball and soccer fields, a swimming pool, and playgrounds.[68][69][70]

  • Henderson Park
  • John's Homestead (Undeveloped)
  • Kelley C. Cofer Park
  • Montreal Park
  • Peters Park
  • Tucker Nature Preserve
  • Tucker Recreational Center (Formerly Tucker Elementary School)

Public libraries[edit]

The DeKalb County Public Library operates two branches in Tucker. The Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library, and the Northlake-Barbara Loar Library.[71][72]

The Tucker-Reid H. Cofer area branch open on Church Street in 1965. In 2010, the library moved to a 25,000 square foot facility at the intersection of LaVista Road and Lawrenceville Highway. The new facility received LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.[73]

In 1991, the county built a second library on LaVista Road in Tucker, the Northlake Barbara-Loar community branch, approximately 3.4 miles west of the Tucker-Reid H. Cofer branch. In 2009, the library expanded from 10,000 square feet to 15,000 square feet.[74]


Lavista Road, Tucker, exit 37 on I-285


MARTA, the Metro Atlanta Rapid Trans Authority, has six daily bus routes traversing Tucker; 75 Tucker, 120 E. Ponce de Leon Ave/Tucker, 124 Pleasantdale Road, 125 Clarkston/Northlake, and 126 Northlake/Chamblee.

Interstate highways[edit]

U.S. highways[edit]

State routes[edit]


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  72. ^ "Northlake-Barbara Loar Library". Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  73. ^ "Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Branch Library: Tucker, GA". Hogan Construction Group. February 15, 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  74. ^ "Northlake Barbara-Loar Library: Tucker, GA". Hogan Construction Group. February 15, 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 

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