Past Tense Kirby

This photograph of four Kirby brothers includes, front row, left to right, Stephen Kirby (Laine Kirby Wood's father) and Max Kirby; back row, from left, T. J. Kirby and Dwight Kirby.

I’m always curious about the origin of street names, including Lisa Lane in Dunwoody. I had heard a story that the road was named for two sisters in the Kirby family — Lisa and Lane. Now I have confirmation of that story from Lane herself, except her name is spelled Laine. Laine Kirby Wood and her family grew up in a 19th century farmhouse on what is now Lisa Lane.  

Laine’s father, Stephen Kirby, came from Jasper, Georgia, to Dunwoody in 1916 with his siblings and parents, Tolleson and Laura Little Kirby. The last leg of their trip was on the Roswell Railroad from Chamblee. The Kirby family purchased 40 acres from Scott Powers, along what is called Pitts Road today. During the time they lived there, the road was known as Little Kirby Row. Laine remembers well the houses that her extended family owned along Little Kirby Road, including her Aunt Sue, Uncle Max and Uncle T. J.

In later years, the Kirby family had a home and dairy next to New Hope Presbyterian Church. The church was located near where KinderCare is today on Chamblee Dunwoody Road. Moving to this new location allowed the children to be able to attend Dunwoody School.  

In the 1940s, Stephen Kirby and his wife Mary Bob Bishop Kirby bought a home off Mount Vernon Road on 25 acres with a lake, pond, and creek. Their property was on the border of DeKalb and Fulton County, extending down to Peachtree Dunwoody Road. Their street was first known as Gresham, then Star Route. Later, Laine’s parents named the road for Laine and her younger sister, Lisa. It became Lisa Laine Road. When the county came in years later, the name was shortened to Lisa Lane and the correct spelling of Laine’s name was lost in the process. 

The house was in Fulton County, so Laine attended Hammond and Guy Webb Elementary School, and North Springs and Ridgeview High Schools. She also attended the Annie Houze Cook School for first grade due to a fire at Hammond School. 

Laine Kirby Wood taught horseback riding at the Baptist Church assembly grounds which were located on the former estate of Judge Sam Hewlett and which is now part of Island Ford Park. There were various outdoor activities at this retreat by the Chattahoochee River. She would ride her own horse to the camp, stopping for water at local creeks. She remembers riding her horse through what is now Hidden Branches Subdivision.

Another memory of Laine’s is of Pappy (Sentell) Spruill who ran the post office out of the small country store at Mount Vernon Road and Chamblee Dunwoody Road, where BP is now located. She remembers his blacksmith shop and home that sat where Dunwoody Baptist Church is today. It was a farmhouse with a tin roof, dirt yard, and front porch where family and neighbors would gather. Later, he sold this land to the church and moved into the parsonage home where Publix is located on Chamblee Dunwoody Road. 

Mary Bob Kirby died in 1976, and Steve Kirby sold the property and house two years later due to high property taxes. 

Laine Kirby Wood is a Publishers Rep for Georgia Magazine and recently co-founded the Etowah Film Festival in Canton. She is happiest outdoors and was looking forward to an upcoming kayaking trip when we spoke. Thank you to Laine for sharing her memories of Dunwoody and Sandy Springs.

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