When the word “mill” is in a road name, you can bet there was a mill in that area many years ago and it was probably either built or run by a person whose name is part of the road name. That is true for Harts Mill Road, named for Dr. C.C. Hart, physician, landowner and mill owner.
Christopher Columbus Hart was born in North Carolina in 1843. Harts Mill Road runs between Chamblee Dunwoody Road and Ashford Dunwoody Road, where the Hart corn mill would have been located along Nancy Creek.
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Dr. Hart attended Emory School of Medicine, completing the program in 1866. He met Cynthia T. Bankston in Georgia and they married in 1869.
Their home was located along Peachtree Road, at the same place where later stood a sanitorium, then Veteran’s Hospital No. 48 and today’s DeKalb Services Center. The sanitorium was known as King Sanitorium for the doctor who ran it and was bought by the U.S. government in 1919 to become the veterans hospital. Sanitorium was the term used in those days for a hospital that provided long-term care, often for illnesses such as tuberculosis. (Atlanta Constitution, King Sanitorium, Beyond Buckhead Purchased by U. S., December 24, 1919).
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The mill house for Hart’s Mill was located where Oglethorpe Apartments were later built, home to today’s Blackburn Park. (Vivian Price, The History of DeKalb County 1822-1900). According to the 1890 Georgia tax digest, Hart accumulated 278 acres in Cross Keys (now Brookhaven and Chamblee) valued at approximately $1,500.
In 1896, Hart was called to testify in a murder case. The victim was his former business partner, J. H. Polk. In addition to serving as physician for the community and owning a corn mill, Dr. C. C. Hart had managed the local Cross Keys store along with Polk. Hart was called to the scene of the crime and later called to testify. Both C. C. Hart and J. H. Polk’s names can be found in a listing for Cross Keys, DeKalb County in “Shole’s Georgia State Gazeteer and Business Directory” of 1879. C. C. Hart is listed as a physician and J. H. Polk as a teacher.
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Dr. C. C. Hart died in 1899 and is buried at Prospect Cemetery in Chamblee. When he died, the corn mill closed. The 1900 census shows Cynthia Hart still living in Cross Keys as a widow with four children. Her oldest daughter is 25 and teaching school, while her youngest is 5 years old. Their name lives on with the road we know as Harts Mill Road.