A friends group hopes to use bricks from a recently-demolished house in Indian Creek Park in Buckhead’s Pine Hills to preserve the history of the site, which includes the residence of a victim of an infamous plane crash.

The 4-acre park is located at 3148 and 3162 Lenox Road on two former residential lots about a quarter-mile south of the Lenox MARTA Station. The two lots that were purchased by the city in 2017 for $3 million.

From left, Atlanta Classical Academy students Anna Robbins, Jeanne Werner, Max Tippett, Serena Kapor, Aurora Santifer, Alexa Robbins and Daniel Santifer pose with bamboo in the new Indian Creek Park on July 1. Joe Santifer, who leads the park’s friends group and is the father of Daniel and Aurora, said the bamboo is planned to be a prominent feature of the park’s design. (Phil Mosier)

The house at 3162 Lenox Road was demolished in June to make way for park development. The house at 3148 Lenox Road, which was demolished years ago, once belonged to a victim of the 1962 plane crash in France that killed over 100 Atlanta residents, said Joe Santifer, the head of the park’s friends group.

The friends group once hoped to keep the vacant house at 3162 Lenox to use as a community center for the park, but once the lot was purchased and engineers got a look at the house, it became clear it was not feasible, Santifer said. There were too many structural issues, including some caused by a fire set by vandals, he said.

The cost to make the house useable would have been too expensive, he said.

“The city was very upfront that it would be difficult to do,” he said. “There are elements of the park that would benefit the community more we need the money for.”

Sally Silver, District 7 City Councilmember Howard Shook’s policy advisory, said the parks department is working to set up a steering committee to help guide the park planning process.

The park is officially open and has hours on its official city sign, although it is not developed and has no amenities yet.
Santifer said the specific dates have not been set, but community meetings about the park are coming “very soon.”

The lot is mostly covered with bamboo, which Santifer said will remain part of the park’s landscape.

“It’s definitely going to be a pretty prominent part of the park,” he said of the bamboo.

Atlanta Classical Academy students and parents helping with the park development pose with the official park sign on July 1. Pictured, from left, are Serena Kapor, Alexa Robbins, Alan Robbins, Max Tippett, Aurora Santifer, Jeanne Werner, Anna Robbins and Cindy Robbins. (Phil Mosier)

The group has saved the bricks from the house and millstones left behind from an old grist mill that used to be in the area, he said. They plan to incorporate those in the park design, depending on what the community says in the planning process, he said.

The history of Emily Bartholomai, who lived in the Lenox Road house that had previously been demolished, may also be incorporated. She was one of the 106 Atlanta residents on a European art tour that were killed in a plane crash headed back to the city from Paris, France, Santifer said.

The park development has included help from Atlanta Classical Academy students since the idea to build park there began in 2016. Some of those students are making their Eagle Scout and Girl Scout projects about preserving the history of the site, he said.

The Loridans Park in North Buckhead, which is being developed by Park Pride, is similarly looking to create ties to the history of the site, which includes a cemetery.

The friends group celebrated the establishment of the new park at naming ceremony in March this year, where the name Indian Creek Park was unveiled after having two different temporary names. It was chosen because it has many ties to the neighborhood, including through a subdivision and garden club had that same name, the Creek Indians that settled in that area, and Indian Creek itself, which runs nearby, Santifer said.

“We’ve had amazing support from the community,” he said. “We hope to preserve a lot of the history there and make it a good a space for the neighborhood.”