Walker’s Mill: The Genesis of a Neighborhood

17 Nov 2020 1:33 PM | Anonymous

In the early 1800s, Elijah Paty purchased a tract of land along Clear Creek, which today defines the western boundary of Piedmont Heights. In 1834, Paty sold the land for $450 to Benjamin Walker, who built a grist mill on Clear Creek just south of Plaster’s Bridge Road, today’s Piedmont Avenue. Walker’s mill would have also sold dry goods and other essentials, which would have made it a gathering place for surrounding farmers. Eventually it became the heart of an unincorporated town called Easton, today’s Piedmont Heights.

Walker sold his property in 1857 to his son, Benjamin P. “Doc” Walker, a former Confederate soldier and Fulton County Commissioner, who built a log house on the property up the hill from Clear Creek. The house and the mill were destroyed during the Civil War, and in 1870 Benjamin built a new house on the site and incorporated one of his father’s old millstones in its front facade. In 1887 the Walker home was sold to the Gentlemen’s Driving Club which was then renamed the Piedmont Driving Club. The house was expanded over the following years, but the millstone can still be seen facing Piedmont Avenue.

In 1887, Atlanta held the Piedmont Exposition on the grounds behind the Piedmont Driving Club, dubbed “Piedmont Park” for the occasion, and a second exposition followed in 1889. Then the city’s 1895 great Cotton States and International Exposition on the grounds surpassed them both.

So, what does all this have to do with our neighborhood? Well, the expositions at the end of the 19th century brought streetcar lines almost to Easton, and in 1918 Atlanta expanded across Clear Creek and renamed us “Piedmont Heights.”

--By Bill Seay (Rock Springs Rd.)


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