Past Tense Map

Early road names were often established based on where you would end up if you kept traveling down that road. Chamblee Dunwoody Road is a good example. On that road, you are headed toward Chamblee or toward Dunwoody. 

Ashford Dunwoody Road was previously known as Chamblee Dunwoody Road and then Old Chamblee Dunwoody Road. Later, the road became known as Oglethorpe-Dunwoody Road, indicating that it led to Oglethorpe University. 

The Ashford in Ashford Dunwoody came from the W.T. Ashford family, who owned the home and land that is now part of Peachtree Golf Club as well as land extending across Peachtree Road. The Ashfords operated a nursery business on this land. The Ashford home was inherited by Mary Ashford who married Cobb Caldwell and led to another street name, Caldwell Road.     

Some road names evolve from the name of the owner of the property or because the road was originally a path or dirt road that led to the home. Northland Drive was once known as Ezzard Road, which led to the Ezzard family farm in Sandy Springs. In the 1920s, Ezzard Road became a county road and in 1958 the name was changed to Northland Drive.  

Mr. Ezzard also began early construction of High Point Road, intending for it to go all the way to Atlanta. When asked why he named it High Point, Ezzard said “because this must be the highest point in the county.” (Sandy Springs Past Tense, by Lois Coogle, 1991).

Hightower Trail, which begins along Dunwoody Place and continues past Roswell Road toward the Chattahoochee River, is part of the original Native American trail from Augusta to north Georgia. Much of the trail was not converted into roads because of the difficult terrain, especially for wagon travel.

Roswell Road was once known as Roosevelt Boulevard, named for Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt’s mother, Mittie Bulloch, grew up at Bulloch Hall. Theodore Roosevelt returned to his mother’s childhood home in 1905, traveling by train from Atlanta to Chamblee and then from Chamblee to Roswell by way of the Roswell Railroad. Roosevelt Boulevard was changed to Roswell Road in 1927.

Mount Vernon Road was previously known as Lawrenceville Road, which is interesting because Dunwoody Club Drive is sometimes identified as Old Lawrenceville Road. Dunwoody Club Drive can also be found on old maps as Hightower Trail or County Line Road.  

In 1998, Jim Perkins wrote about the name Mount Vernon Road for the Dunwoody Crier. He found that the name was changed in 1926, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This was seven years before Mount Vernon Road was paved.

Oxbo Road in Roswell is named for the Oxbo Pants Factory. James Henry (Pony) Waller worked at a cotton factory in Marietta at age 16.  In the late 1800s, he started the Oxbo Pants Factory, which began as a cotton mill and was later known as The Pants Factory. (Roswell:  A Pictorial History, Roswell Historical Society, 1985).

Roberts Drive is named for Roswell Railroad engineer Isaac “Ike” Roberts. He was engineer all the years the railroad was operational, 1881 until 1921. Roberts’ home still stands on the part of Roberts Drive that is on the other side of Ga. 400, between Dunwoody Place and Roswell Road. Roberts Drive is sometimes seen as the Old Roswell Road on maps. 

Jett Ferry Road received the name because Adam Jett had a ferry on the Chattahoochee in the late 1830s to early 1840s. Nesbit Ferry was first operated by Sylvester Nesbit in the 1940s, leading to the name Nesbit Ferry Road. (The Chattahoochee River Crossings of Roswell, Georgia by Michael Hitt). Tilly Mill Road and Ball Mill Road are names that still reflect the mills that once stood near these roads.

If you have a road name you are curious about, write to Valerie at

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