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City’s Trail Name Announced, Button Art Sculpture Unveiled

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Long-time resident Randy Gilbert (left) joins members of the council, Eric Christ, Lorri Christopher, Mike Mason, Jeanne Aulbach and Phil Sadd to celebrate the official opening of the first section of the city's multi-use trail and to announce the name for the trail. Mr. Gilbert's entry "Corners Connector" was chosen in a name-the-trail contest.

During a special presentation and ribbon-cutting event, the Mayor and Council celebrated the opening of a new section of its 11.5-mile multi-use trail system. They also announced the name selected for the trail — and unveiled the first of six sculptures to be placed throughout the city.

In the city’s name-the-trail contest, “Corners Connector” was chosen for the name of the city-wide trail which will wind throughout the community connecting neighborhoods to parks, shops, restaurants and offices. Mr. Randy Gilbert, a long-time resident, selected the winning name chosen from over 150 entries.

Mr. Gilbert was on hand to help cut the ribbon on the new 1/3-mile section of the trail which runs around a portion of the 7-acre Technology Park Lake. This newest section has a plaque dedicated to Mr. Lee Tucker in recognition of his efforts in ensuring the city had the land needed for the trail expansion. Future plans will include the trail to encircle the entire lake.

“The trail is a great asset to Peachtree Corners and well worth the effort to build it,” said Mr. Gilbert. “I can see many people enjoying it in the years to come.”

In several in-person and online surveys, citizens had ranked multi-use trails among the most desirable and valued community recreational assets. The city envisions that the Corners Connector will not only serve as an alternate means of travel but will also be a linear park offering unique amenities and programs for its residents.

“This is an exciting moment for our city,” said Mayor Mason during the event. “We hope our citizens, and those who work here in Tech Park, enjoy this new amenity. We look forward to celebrating each section of our “Corners Connector” trail as it is completed. We are also conducting feasibility study now to add a 3 ½- mile walking trail along Crooked Creek. We hope to have more news on that proposed section soon.”

The new button-shaped sculpture, which is located at the entrance to the lake-side trail section, is part of a Gwinnett-wide effort by a nonprofit organization, Button Art, to showcase the county. The city plans to install a total of six of the round-shaped Button Art sculptures, each depicting a theme based on the area of town in which it is located. Button Art, Inc. is a nonprofit created to further the love of art in Gwinnett County. The project was inspired by Button Gwinnett, the county’s namesake.

Button Art’s first sculpture titled “A Bot’s Best Friend” was dedicated on Aug. 25. It stands at the entry way to the city’s new section of trail in Technology Park. The sculpture is the first of 200 that will be located throughout the county.

The city’s first sculpture features a friendly looking robot walking a robotic dog, a nod to the many high-tech businesses located within Technology Park. The art is titled “A Bot’s Best Friend.” Local artist, Lance Campbell has designed the artwork for the city’s six sculptures which are among 200 that will be sprinkled throughout the county.  

Visit buttonart.org for more information on the Button Art project.

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The City of Peachtree Corners

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City Council Recognizes Norcross HS Senior for Earning Eagle Scout Rank

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left to right – Costa Avradopoulos (father), Mayor Mike Mason, Nico Avradopoulos, Kathi Avradopoulos (mother), Alex Avradopoulos (younger brother) and Eric Christ

The Boy Scouts of America’s highest rank is that of Eagle Scout. Achieving this prestigious milestone is considered Scouting’s highest accomplishment. At its April 27, 2021 meeting, the Peachtree Corners City Council had the pleasure of presenting Peachtree Corners resident Niko Avradopoulos, a senior at Norcross High School, and member of Troop 650 with a formal proclamation in recognition of attaining the rank of Eagle Scout.

The requirements for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout, which are attained by only 8% of Boy Scouts, are numerous including earning at least 21 merit badges, demonstrating Scout Spirit, and demonstrating leadership in their troop.

One requirement for Niko’s Eagle Scout award was to interview a member of the city council. City Councilman Eric Christ was selected because the Avradopoulos family lives in his district.

Mayor, Niko and Councilmember Eric Christ.

The final requirement requires the Scout to plan, organize, lead, and manage a community service project.

For his service project, the high school senior hand-built eight picnic tables for Peachtree Elementary School for the students to use so they could socially distance during lunches.

Niko became his troop’s 80th Scout to attain the rank of Eagle Scout extending Troop 350’s record of success. The troop meets at nearby Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church.

“The council and I are so pleased to have the opportunity to recognize Niko for his achievement,” said Mayor Mike Mason. “The Eagle Scout badge is recognized as a mark of distinction; it signifies a dedication that few can meet. We are honored to be able to present the city’s proclamation to this fine young man.”

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Kites and Hikes Girl Scouts Event

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Date: May 1, 9 AM – 11 AM

Location: Simpsonwood Park
4511 Jones Bridge Cir NW
Peachtree Corners, Georgia 30092

Interested in Girl Scouts? Bring a friend, make new ones, fly a kite, and go on a hike! This is a free event! Parents & Caregivers are invited too!

For questions contact Amanda Higgins via email or contact Autumn Tinsley at 770-680-8323 or at ATinsley@gsgatl.org

To Register: http://bit.ly/NorcrossHike

*All attendees must wear a mask

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Who were the brave new settlers? – Book Excerpt

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pinckneyville
historian Harold Medlock knew the area’s history well. Here, he stands beside the well-known WELCOME TO PINCKNEYVILLE sign in Peachtree Corners (Photo courtesy Laura McCullough)

* An excerpt of “Peachtree Corners, the History of an Innovative and Remarkable City”.

The new Georgia territory, a frontier that opened to the south and to the west at that time, was explored and settled, in part, to serve as a buffer protecting South Carolina from Spaniards coming north from Florida. Contrary to some popular historical accounts, Georgia was not settled just by prison debtors brought from England by British parliamentarian and soldier James Oglethorpe. For the new colony Oglethorpe founded, trustees sought out carpenters, tailors, bakers, merchants, and farmers to settle the region. Pioneers with these skills would ensure the success of the newest settlements.

Mt Carmel United Methodist Church

When Georgia was first colonized, it was a frontier state; not much land west of the area had been occupied or even explored by English settlers. Early maps, including an 1825 map outlining the stagecoach route through the town of Pinckneyville, show DeKalb, Gwinnett, and Hall counties bordered by the Chattahoochee River, and territory north of the river is labeled “Cherokee Indian” territory.

Pinckneyville and the Hunnicutt Inn

Bentley’s Nursery and Stoneyard, located at 3319 Medlock Bridge Road, sits adjacent to the four acres on which the old Hunnicutt Inn in Pinckneyville was located. The inn also served as a stagecoach stop, a spot of great importance to travelers and merchants in the early 1800s.

The Hunnicutt Inn was also a Cherokee Trading Post for a time. Today, a self-storage warehouse is located on that richly historical spot.

Travelers depended upon the stagecoach, since traveling alone was both unsafe and uncomfortable. Businesses and banks used stagecoaches to transport goods, money, and mail. That same stagecoach line made cattle trading possible from points west down to south Georgia. Farmers made use of the stagecoach to do business in the Atlanta market, and this particular stagecoach line provided a vital connection to the neighboring state of Alabama. From the late 1700s until railroads began to crisscross the state in the late 1800s, the stagecoach lines were as critical to travel and business as airports are today.

The Hunnicutt Inn also served as a stagecoach stop in the settlement of Pinckneyville (Weekly Newspaper)

The Hunnicutt Inn served as a stagecoach and travelers’ stop until just after the Civil War, when the railroad was built. Records indicate that a tavern was located either inside or adjacent to the inn, and it was owned by a man named William Greer. The inn was a massive wooden structure held together with large nails and thick, wooden pegs, made by Hunnicutt himself. Where the inn once stood, rusty handmade nails, wooden pegs, and pieces of heavy timber can still be unearthed on that piece of property today. They are all that’s left of that historically rich frontier inn and stagecoach stop.

Agnes — no surname of record — was born into slavery in the late 1700s She is the matriarch of the Nesbit family featured in the book (Nesbit Family)

Massive fireplaces and wide plank wood floors were characteristic of the Hunnicutt Inn and other such structures in the early 1800s, as was one interesting feature that was most necessary in the days when Georgia was the westernmost frontier of the young country. A trap door in the wide front porch opened to a safe hiding spot from raiding Indians. Tensions often arose between the new settlers and Native Americans, especially the Creek, who didn’t become a minority population in Georgia until the mid-1700s. The encroachment of the arrogant new settlers, with their brash ways and empty promises, provoked even the most hospitable Native Americans.

The railroad changed the sleepy agricultural area of western Gwinnett County forever. (Gwinnett Historical Society)

A stagecoach map, on display in Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church in Peachtree Corners, clearly shows that the territory north of the Chattahoochee River was designated as Cherokee Indian Territory. That same map shows the westernmost area of Georgia, abutting Alabama, was designated “Lower Creek Indians.” Settlers coming into the area known today as western Gwinnett County were truly a brave lot of frontier pioneers.

The Enchanted Land

The community of Pinckneyville was settled in the early 1800s; most accounts cite 1826 as the year Pinckneyville was established. However, some records indicate the name “Pinckneyville” was first used for the settlement as early as 1799. The sparsely populated area and its farmers were settled just east of the Chattahoochee River, an early nod to the farmers’ respect for the river and the rhythm of regular flooding along the riverbank. The Chattahoochee governed a great deal of the farmers’ fortunes, not only because of its nutrient-rich bottomland and the abundance of crops that it produced, but also because of the frequency with which the river flooded well beyond its boundaries. Farmers and landowners had to contend with the Chattahoochee’s flooding until the 1950s, when the river was dammed, and Lake Lanier was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The lake was named for Sidney Lanier, a Confederate soldier, poet, and graduate of Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, because of his poem “Song of the Chattahoochee.”

The Chattahoochee River has lured settlers to the region for hundreds of years (Photo by
Jonathan Phillips)

The river, of course, meant as much to the Creek and Cherokee people as it did to the new settlers. A thorough chronicling of the history of Peachtree Corners cannot be complete without including the fate of the Native Americans who lived in the area before the English settlers arrived.

As early as the late 1600s, Native Americans inhabited Georgia, including the area that would not be named Gwinnett County for more than one hundred years. They had dubbed north Georgia the “Enchanted Land.” Dense forests, clear rivers and lakes, and plentiful wildlife made the region a haven for them, as well as for intrepid English, French, and German settlers. And while “white” settlers were legally prohibited from settling in the regions occupied by Native Americans, some defied the law and squatted in Indian territory anyway.

The Robert Medlock farm sprawled along the banks of the Chattahoochee. The rich bottomlands and humid
climate were perfect for growing corn (Medlock family – Jane Garner)

Nowhere was the land more enchanted than in the area now designated Gwinnett County. The natural resources and mild climate were powerful draws, not only for Native American tribes, but also for settlers seeking to make a home and a living in the New World. Pioneering families came to the state with a desire for adventure, exploration, and a new start in a grand new land of plenty. The vastly different cultures and practices were bound to collide.

With advanced agricultural practices, sophisticated tools and weapons, beautiful art, schools, courts, houses, and villages built of wood structures, the Creek and Cherokee people were known as two of the five civilized nations in the New World. The Cherokee were close allies, as well as trading partners, with the British during much of the 18th century. Still Cherokee, and often Creek, raiding parties would attack the new backcountry settlers who were illegally living on, or even encroaching on, their lands. In addition to direct attacks by Native Americans, settlers often got caught in the midst of skirmishes between Cherokee and Creek warriors. Settling in Georgia in the early 1800s was most definitely not for the faint of heart, but the draw of the ancient river and the fertile bottomlands that bounded it was too powerful for courageous settlers to resist.

—Excerpt from “Peachtree Corners, the History of an Innovative and Remarkable City 1777-2020” by Carole Townsend.

History of Peachtree Corners’ Book to Debut Soon

Peachtree Corners has a rich and colorful history. Centuries ago, Native Americans roamed the land bordered by the Chattahoochee River and later, strong and resilient families settled in the area and farmed the fertile land. Today, the city has become a magnet for futuristic technology.

Paul Duke (Duke family photo)

The City of Peachtree Corners announced that its storied past has been captured in the community’s first history book. The book, titled Peachtree Corners, the History of an Innovative and Remarkable City 1777-2020, is filled with stories of long ago. Numerous historical photographs add to the story of the community’s rich past. The 230-page coffee table-style book is expected to be released soon.

Frank Neely (Gwinnett Historical Society, Neely family)

Well-known author Carole Townsend tells the story of the early days when the Creek Indians claimed the land as their own, then takes the reader on a journey of the early settlers through the eyes of long-time residents who recall farm life. That life was hinged on a good crop year which determined if the farmer’s children would have new shoes for the coming school year. The city’s history ends with its modern-day transformation that began in the 1970s when Georgia Tech engineer and developer Paul Duke began purchasing land for Technology Park and the surrounding community.

Robert Medlock- photo- Medlock family (Jane Garner)

“What an honor it was for me to be invited to trace Peachtree Corners’ history back to the days of Native American inhabitation,” said Townsend. “For a city as progressive as this one is, to honor its history as it has with this unique book, is truly remarkable.”

Townsend, an Atlanta native and 30-year Gwinnett resident, is a longtime journalist and published author with six books to her name. She was named a finalist for the 2017 Georgia Author of the Year Award for “Blood in the Soil,” a true account of the shooting of controversial publisher Larry Flynt.

“This book thoughtfully recounts the past and present of our community through personal narratives of the people who lived here and knew it best,” said Mayor Mike Mason. “It’s their memories and photographs that we set out to capture and preserve. What is the future of Peachtree Corners? That’s a story for another book.”

Peachtree Corners, the History of an Innovative and Remarkable City, was published by Deeds Publishing, in Athens, Georgia, and will be available through the city of Peachtree Corners’ website.

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