Vinings didn’t happen on accident.
It has been fervently protected, preserved and promoted by the old guard and new guard alike — by the families of the individuals who carved the community out of a crossroad and the homeowners who moved into neighborhoods along Paces Ferry Road and Woodland Brook Drive over the last five decades.
Proof of this can be found in the great-great-granddaughters of Hardy Pace, the man who founded Vinings. When a developer planned to build a truck stop behind the fire station on Paces Ferry, sisters Earle Smith Carter and Ruth Carter Vanneman convinced developer Felix Cochran to buy it and set it aside.
It would be 14 years before he built Vinings Jubilee on the site, with an aesthetic inspired by historic structures, including the Solomon Pace House and the Old Pavilion.
That’s not a coincidence. Vanneman had strong opinions about her community. When she died in 1992, she created a charitable organization to preserve historic Vinings properties — including the 1856 Solomon Pace house and the 1880 Yarbrough house — which led to the founding of the Vinings Historic Preservation Society.
Before Cochran convinced Vanneman he would get the development right, a group of 10 residents led the creation of the Vinings Association, today the Vinings Village Homeowners Association.
Celebrating its 50th year, it has seen metro Atlanta grow from 1 million residents to more than 6 million and has served as a constant check on the ever-encroaching development some feel threaten the distinct character and identity of the community.
They didn’t do it alone.
The backbone of Vinings dates back to 1919 and the Vinings Village Civic Association, which served as the earliest tool for community engagement. The homeowners association gave voice to the residents. The Vinings Village Woman’s Club, founded in 1978, created the social element, and the preservation society gave the community the resources to save its historic homes.
They are the glue that holds Vinings together.
Geography also helped. It has distinct boundaries, which allowed the organizations to focus on the area northwest of the Chattahoochee River in Cobb County to the railroad tracks. Some may dispute the boundaries, but that is Vinings.
The name comes from a man who wasn’t in the area long, William Vining. A civil engineer from Delaware, he spent about two years in the area.
The Western and Atlantic Railroad hired him to oversee a challenging part of the route connecting Chattanooga, Tennessee, with the future city of Atlanta. An encampment of workers grew up around the construction site, and the area became “Vining’s station.”
It was previously known as Crossroads.
That is where Hardy Pace came around 1939. He first settled in present-day Buckhead on West Paces Ferry Road and Castlegate Drive.
With the railroad coming through in 1839, he knew Crossroads would become a transportation hub. He built a home …….