August 15, 2012
On a balmy August evening, the Northwoods Area Neighborhood Association (NANA) held a special cocktail reception honoring Georgia State University’s Heritage Preservation Program, the Dekalb History Center, and original Northwoods architect Ernest Mastin for their efforts and contributions toward getting the neighborhood listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of NANA’s 100 members attended, as did Doraville Mayor Donna Pittman and Doraville Librarian Tammy Henry.
The reception was hosted at NANA President Bonnie Grey Flynt’s lovely 1955 home. The wood paneled walls of the dining area, hardwood floors, vaulted pine beamed ceilings (all original!), and lovely outdoor space by the pool were a perfect setting. Also positively contributing to the atmosphere were the 50s-style servers walking around with platters of bacon-wrapped shrimp, egg-salad stuffed croissants, maple walnut brie, chocolate covered strawberries, and other delicacies. A playlist made up of hits from the 50s and early 60s wafted through the air the entire night. The Fabulous 50′s poolside bartender, Stefanie Jones of Northwoods, was also right in line with the theme!
The reception had multiple goals. First, it was a chance to let members of the community see the nomination research that the Georgia State Students had submitted for consideration on the National Register. A copy of the report they had compiled was present, as were many maps with various types of information. It was a really neat experience, because neighbors who had never met came together to pour over these maps with mutual interest and awe. They’d point out where they lived, and talk about the information that was being presented. There was a nostalgic camaraderie and feeling of togetherness that we wouldn’t necessarily have had the opportunity to experience if this project hadn’t taken place.
In addition to showing off the students’ work, NANA also took the opportunity to specifically honor them, and their professor, Richard Laub. The work they did for our community is truly priceless.
In addition to Professor Laub and his students, Earnest Mastin, one of the original Northwoods architects, and his wife Anita were in attendance as special guests of honor. The pair, who have been married for 66 years, actually lived in Northwoods from the 50s through the 70s. Bonnie presented Mr Mastin with a special “Presidential Award” on behalf of NANA, in recognition for outstanding contribution to the community . Mr. Mastin was very appreciative of the recognition and told us how proud Walter Tally, the original builder, would have been to have seen that the community he created is still thriving. Mrs. Mastin commented that the neighborhood had always been a good place to live and that “Northwoods stays with you”.
The historical documents were formally presented and donated to Doraville’s Head Librarian, Tammy Henry, who was very pleased to be able to add these to the library’s collection. She also took the opportunity to mention that local author Bob Kelley will be having a reception and book-signing of his Book on Doraville History on September 22nd at the library. Many people mentioned they are already looking forward to attending that event!
All in all, this was a fantastic event. I met lots of neighbors I might not have if we hadn’t had this reason to gather. I think many of us feel a sense of pride and involvement in the community that would not be as pronounced if we had not been through this process. We are also lucky to have such a great neighborhood association president – who makes these kinds of activities fun, and genuinely seems to enjoy bringing people together. I am so happy to live in Northwoods and have these neighbors, and extremely excited at the prospect of the final induction of Northwoods into the National Register of Historic Places,which is anticipated in January of 2013!
Photographs by Bonnie Grey Flynt, Edward Howard, and Joseph Geierman