While looking through some old issues of the Dunwoody Crier, I discovered an interview with Elizabeth Davis. She was principal of Dunwoody Elementary School from 1937 until 1962. The school was located where the Dunwoody Library and Spruill Center for the Arts are today, so Mrs. Davis had a short walk from her home at 5300 Chamblee Dunwoody Road to the school.
Elizabeth and Manget Davis previously lived in Decatur, but they often took a drive to the country, including an area known as Dunwoody. They ran into Calhoun Spruill on one of these outings, who just happened to be selling his home and 50 acres along Chamblee-Dunwoody Road. He planned to move in with his daughter, Effie Spruill Carpenter, who lived east on Mount Vernon Road, at the intersection with Tilly Mill Road.
The Davises decided to buy the Dunwoody home and property from Spruill, making their move to the country. Manget was a photographer at Davison’s Department Store, so he was an early commuter from Dunwoody to Atlanta.
The Davises had a son entering sixth grade and soon felt that there was room for improvement at the three-room Dunwoody school. The temporary principal was a preacher waiting for his next church. When Elizabeth Davis approached him with her concerns, he suggested it would be better to “let sleeping dogs lie.” Mrs. Davis, who graduated from Agnes Scott College in 1923 with a degree in French and Latin, didn’t take well to his answer.
Davis made a phone call to the superintendent of DeKalb County School, W. M. Rainey, and before she knew it, she was the new principal of Dunwoody Elementary School. In 1937, she became both teacher and principal along with teachers Nettie Austin and Aldine Chambers. Austin taught first, second and third grade; Chambers taught fourth and fifth; and Mrs. Davis taught sixth and seventh.
The effects of the Great Depression were felt across the country, and the improvements or additional supplies needed for schools were often put on hold. Davis praised the Lions Club and Dunwoody Home Demonstration Club for raising funds to help Dunwoody School. She often recruited Manget to assist with her school projects.
If you have ever noticed the street off Chamblee-Dunwoody Road called Manget Way, it is named for him. In 1955, Manget and Elizabeth sold some of their acreage to Herbert Bryan for development, and Bryan named Manget Way and Manget Court, as well as Nerine Circle for his wife.
Elizabeth Davis retired from her position as school principal in 1962, but she stayed busy helping her community. She assisted with elections in Dunwoody for 15 years. She also co-authored a book of Dunwoody history along with Ethel Spruill, “The Story of Dunwoody: 1821-1975.”
I did not have the privilege of meeting Elizabeth Davis, but thanks to an article in the August 1978 Dunwoody Crier, I get a glimpse into what that would have been like. As the Crier transitions into new ownership by Appen Media Group, Dunwoody Preservation Trust is in the process of gathering 42 years of Dunwoody Crier issues for preservation, as well as copies for the DeKalb History Center archives, and some editions will become part of the archives at the Atlanta History Center.
E-mail Valerie at firstname.lastname@example.org.