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Buckhead

Buckhead is a wealthy and historic Atlanta neighborhood. In addition to sprawling mansions and glamorous high-rise condominiums, Buckhead is also home to some of Atlanta's best shopping malls, Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza. Some of Atlanta's snazziest restaurants are also located in Buckhead.

"You don't need Tom Wolfe to tell you that the Buckhead section of Atlanta is the jewel of the city, an area of gracious homes, elegant hotels and shopping centers, as well as some of the best restaurants" -Florence Fabricant, New York Times

As a community, Buckhead traces its origin to Henry Irby's general store and tavern, which was founded in 1837, according to an Irby descendant. It was located at what is now the northwest corner of West Paces Ferry Road and Roswell Road. Irby's tavern became the stopping place for travelers rich and poor in the thinly populated wilderness and the community that grew up around it was known as Irbyville. He maintained it until well after the Civil War. Irby, who died in 1879, is buried in the Sardis Methodist Church cemetery on Power's Ferry Road near its intersection with Roswell Road.

It was Irby, according to his descendant, who killed a large deer and mounted the "buck head" where travelers could see it.

Why this display made such an impression on people, who came across it is hard to say. Some sources describe it as a sort of joke, a way of poking fun at European noblemen who displayed hunting trophies on their walls. At any rate, the name Buckhead proved durable, and a campaign in the late 19th century to rename the area Northside Park was unsuccessful.

Buckhead is one of Atlanta's most important business districts, and includes Atlanta's wealthiest neighborhoods, with the Georgia Governor's Mansion, a part time residence of Elton John, and the Atlanta History Center with its museum and library. Buckhead was also the home of golf legend Bobby Jones until his death in 1971. Although there are some moderately priced homes in the area, the price of most homes and condominiums starts at around $500,000 and extends well beyond $10,000,000. Buckhead is also one of the major shopping areas in the Southeast, where shoppers spend in excess of $1 billion a year. The primary shopping district comprises Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza. Through the years, Buckhead has held onto its claim as the most renowned and fashionable of all Atlanta neighborhoods.

As you move away from the bars and shops of ground zero Buckhead, a growing battalion of high-rise luxury apartments and condominiums attracts the city's most prosperous up-and-comers. Gradually, small skyscrapers are beginning to dot the landscape of Buckhead's perimeter commercial area, as office and condominium space is sold at an astronomical premium.

Some things resist change more strongly than others, however, and the tree-lined neighborhoods west of Peachtree, especially along Paces Ferry Road, live on as exquisite enclaves of old Atlanta money. Just a mile down this awe-inspiring stretch of road from the rollicking, disco-themed Have a Nice Day Cafe sits the august Georgia Governors Mansion. Many local celebrities and the families of early Atlantans make their homes in the wooded estates scattered hereabouts. A casual driving tour through these gently winding backstreets has a tendency to make one feel like a rolling prop in a pictorial out of Southern Living or Architectural Digest. The paradoxical proximity of these bucolic streets to crowded and hectic Peachtree Road is at the heart of contemporary Buckhead, and is perhaps what gives the neighborhood such wide, energetic appeal.