There was once a school at the intersection of Jett Ferry Road and Spalding Drive. It sat up on a hill and was known as Chestnut Ridge School. This Chestnut school is spelled with a “t,”unlike Chesnut Elementary on North Peachtree Road. That was all the history I had about the school until recently.

Freda Donaldson Williams came across a photograph of Chestnut Ridge School in her family archives and shared the photograph with me. Freda’s father Fred Donaldson was born at Donaldson-Bannister Farm. Her mother is descended from the Adams and Wade families.

The photo was given to Freda by her grandmother Ellen Adams, who said the school was a one room school house that sat on a hill. Freda’s ancestor, Elizabeth Copeland Donaldson is one of the two teachers in the photograph.

Carolyn Anderson Parker, Jane Anderson Autry, and Ken Anderson’s mother attended Chestnut Ridge School. Their mother’s name was Lucy Carpenter and her family home was where Tilly Mill Road and Mount Vernon Road meet. When Lucy finished at Chestnut Ridge in 1919, her only high school option was Chamblee High School. There were no school buses, so students that didn’t live close by boarded with a family in Chamblee. However, Lucy’s mother didn’t want her to be away from home that much and her education ended.

Another ancestor of the Anderson siblings, Laura Belle Copeland, taught school at Chestnut Ridge. Elizabeth Copeland Donaldson and Laure Belle Copeland were sisters and are both shown on the 1930 census records living with their parents, John and Mary Copeland. The family owned a dairy and lived on County Line Road, which was one of the previous names of Dunwoody Club Drive.

The location of Chestnut Ridge School is Fulton County today, but it was once part of Henry County, Dekalb County, and Milton County before becoming Fulton County. This corridor between the Chattahoochee River and Dunwoody Club Drive was Milton County from 1859 to 1926.

If you would like to know more about how the Sandy Springs corridor was once part of Milton County, go to and search for Jim Perkins 2006 Past Tense column, A Mystery: Why Was Part of Dunwoody in Milton County?

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