Tuxedo Park residents Liz Lauer, left, and Amy Hilton discuss the pros  and cons of  living in their neighborhood. Photo BY dan whisenhunt
Tuxedo Park residents Liz Lauer, left, and Amy Hilton discuss the pros
and cons of
living in their neighborhood.
Photo BY dan whisenhunt

As its name suggests, Tuxedo Park’s history contains the stories of Atlanta’s most powerful and wealthy families.

The governor’s mansion is located here, residing on property sold to the state by former Atlanta Mayor Robert Maddox. But even having the governor in your neighborhood doesn’t guarantee a flawless neighborhood.

Traffic, particularly the east-to west commuters, is something residents would like to see less of.  The daily frustration of traffic jams hasn’t deterred the neighborhood’s popularity, however.

Michael Hilton bought his house just before the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and rented it out before he moved in.

“I wanted to live close to work,” he said. “I was single at the time.”

Soon he met Amy and they both enjoy the luxury of a spacious backyard and the convenience of being close to Chastain Park. The neighborhood is zoned for Jackson Elementary. Its northern border is Blackland Road, Putnam Drive and Powers Ferry road; its eastern border is Roswell Road; its western border is Northside drive; and its southern border is Moores Mill Road, West Paces Ferry Road and Andrews Drive. There are about 300 homes in the neighborhood.

Tuxedo Park’s diverse architecture reflects the whims and tastes of Atlanta’s wealthy residents. The Tuxedo Park Civic association notes that “its elegant homes range from Georgian and Tudor to Italianate and Greek Revival” and many of them sit on large lots that add to the neighborhood’s exclusive character.

The neighborhood is on the National Register of Historic Places Streets and its famous residents have included attorney Morris Brandon, golfer Bobby Jones and William Lamar, a Florida congressman.

Gov. Nathan Deal lives there too, of course, as have several of his predecessors.

According to the civic association and Buckhead.net, the original development of Tuxedo Park occurred in the early 20th century. The lots became the summer homes of Atlanta’s elite. After the depression and World War II ended, larger lots were subdivided and sold, though the lots remain much larger than those of other Buckhead homes. Many of the parcels were bought and divided by the Tuxedo Park Company.

A map showing the boundaries of Tuxedo Park in Buckhead
A map showing the boundaries of Tuxedo Park in Buckhead

Buckhead.net observes, “The post-1941 structures in the district occupy property that was originally subdivided much earlier, and by the same development company that sold property to earlier residents. For the most part, the newer structures are of a size, quality and character which complement the district. The historic environment, especially the historic landscape setting, is intact, maintaining Tuxedo Park’s position as one of Atlanta’s most prestigious and lovely neighborhoods.”

Many of the older homes remain standing the article notes.

The Hiltons and their neighbor Liz Lauer said the biggest issue they face is traffic. Blackland Road is an east-to-west commuter street, and Cobb County traffic keeps the streets busy.

“Cars drive through here fast,” Michael Hilton said.

While the larger lot sizes are one of the neighborhood’s key selling points, it’s also an obstacle to community building.

“You see your neighbor more often at the grocery store,” Amy Hilton said.

Even getting sidewalks built has been a contentious issue among neighbors. The Tuxedo Park Civic Association hosts regular events to keep everyone connected.

Despite these barriers to neighborly relations, the residents here enjoy their intown haven. The public schools and the nearby green space help the neighborhood maintain its status as the home of Atlanta’s movers and shakers.

“The convenience was important,” Lauer said.

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011-2014. He is the founder and editor of Decaturish.com