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Bimonthly Article 

Preserving Vanishing Smyrna
January & February, 2006

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New construction and redevelopment in Smyrna and preserving some of the old homes and historic structures has been a concern of many member of the Smyrna Historical and Genealogical Society for quite a while. In fact, the organization was founded, partially, on the basis of protecting and preserving these structures. However, for the most part it has been a losing battle.

When home owners of the old houses are approached by developers who are willing to pay large sums ofmoney for small lots with older houses that were constructed for a few thousand dollars, its hard for the home owner to resist selling.

It's equally hard for city councils and county commissions to resist the rezoning requests made by the developers to put huge houses on those same small lots. It helps tax digests for the counties and cities tremendously.

But in our country, property owners rights are sacred to most of us and if we want to sell our property, or cut down a tree, or put up a fence or an outbuilding we feel we should have the right to do it.

But some people who have lived in their houses for years and years and do not want to sell out to developers. They feel wronged. All of a sudden they are ur-surrounded by gigantic houses that dwarf theirs and they feel their quality of life has diminished because of it.

The City of Atlanta has proposed rezoning laws that might address this problem. As less and less land is available other municipalities and counties might have to look into solving the same problem.

In the meantime, in an effort to "preserve" some of old Smyrna, the Society has taken on a project of photographing the areas of Smyrna that are potential redevelopment areas.

Specifically, several months ago we started photographing all the houses and structures in the area on the east side of the railroad tracks: The streets included in this project so far are: East Spring, Anderson Circle, Elizabeth, Foster, Roswell Street, Old Roswell, Highland Avenue, Matthews, Gilbert, Windy Oaks, Mimosa Circle, Hawthorne, and possibly a couple of others.

Museum volunteer Paul Ostborg is doing the major portion of the photography at this time. The historical society provides him with the film. When he has completed a couple of rolls he brings it to the museum. The historical society has the film processed and prints made. The photos are placed in a three ring binder labeled for the particular street. The are located in the research are at the museum.

Robert Lewis, a life-long resident of Smyrna, recently contributed a number of prints of the houses on Highland Avenue. He lived on that street with his parents. Some of his relatives are still there. He saw that many of the old houses were being torn down to make way for the new larger houses and he started taking pictures of the existing ones. His photos have been added to the collection of Smyrna photos in the research room.

We are always looking for photos of Smyrna and Cobb County residences, business, and other structures like barns, bridges, out buildings and the like. If you have pictures like that and you want to keep the original, just let us borrow them to make copies and we'll return the originals to you.

Some of the photos might be used in a future pictorial history of Smyrna that is being compiled at this time.

There are several photos we would especially like to have. The Belmont House previously located at the approximate location of the Windy Hill Road RR overpass. Smyrna Drug Store (Landers) exterior view, previously located at the present location of the Zucca Bar in the Market Village. The Swimming Pool and Goofy Golf Course at Belmont Hills Shopping Center. Dog and Suds building formerly located on Atlanta Road just north of Windy Hill.

It doesn't matter if people are in the photos of houses and other structures. They add interest to the photos. We also need photos of activities and any city or county elected officials, police chiefs and policemen, city clerks, firemen and chiefs, volunteer policemen and firemen. Please contact us at 770 435 7549.


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