“the City Too Busy to Hate”

Sometimes remembering hurts but it’s always good to know how far we’ve come. I found the history of Cascade Heights to be bitter-sweet, as what occurred was not very long ago. As per Wikipedia:

Cascade Heights is an affluent predominantly African-American neighborhood in southwest Atlanta. Along with Sandtown and other portions of unincorporated South Fulton County, the area has a reputation as having a high concentration of the African-American elite in the city.

Cascade Heights, or simply Cascade, can refer to a large area that is bound by I-20, on the north, I-285 on the west, South Utoy Creek on the south, and the Adams Park and Beecher Hills neighborhoods to the east. By this definition, this area also includes neighborhoods such as Peyton Forest, West Manor, and Mangum Manor to name a few. This situation can be paralleled to Midtown’s role in Northeast Atlanta; each neighborhood is separate and distinct but the area is still known by one generic name.

Here’s the interesting part:

In the early 1960s the area was a predominantly white neighborhood. After an African-American physician bought a home in Peyton Forest, white residents in the area feared that their neighborhood would become a victim of blockbusting,a business practice in which real estate agents would profit from the racial fears of white residents while changing the racial makeup of a white residential area.

Stop here.

Now, let’s not go on a Real Estate Agent bashing session, these were ignorant greedy people who happen to be agents and making their fortune from playing on the fears of their people (as they were also White). Every culture and race  have a few evil, greedy self-serving people. I remember reading how some Blacks sold other Blacks into slavery (another crazy history lesson for another day…)

Continue:

“When African-Americans moved in to a neighborhood, their presence resulted in lower residential property values because many whites considered an integrated neighborhood to be undesirable. Real estate agents stirred up racial tension and benefited from the commissions they earned when fearful homeowners sold their properties, often at a loss, in order to escape the area.”

But are you kidding me? I understand greedy sales people, but et tu brute– Mayor? —- Read on! 

“In a 1962–1963 episode that came to be called “the Peyton Road affair”, Atlanta mayor Ivan Allen responded to residents’ fears of blockbusting by directing city staff to erect barricades on Peyton Road and Harlan Road to restrict access to Cascade Heights, thus preventing African-American home seekers from getting to the neighborhood from Gordon Road. He took the action at the urging of white residents of southwest Atlanta(in particular, one of his high-level employees who lived a short distance from Peyton Road). After the barricades went up, December 18, 1962,the incident quickly drew national attention. The barrier was compared to the Berlin Wall and nicknamed the “Atlanta wall”. Some newspapers in other parts of the country questioned Atlanta’s motto “the City Too Busy to Hate.” The walls were torn down when, on March 1, 1963, a court ruled them to be unconstitutional.

This event is considered to have helped spur the growth and prominence of Collier Heights, the first affluent community in the nation built by and for African-Americans.”

Whoa! DRAMA- can you imagine living through that?  I can’t, – just thinking,  my mother was alive during this time. Thank God for growth and progress. I  must constantly  remind myself-this was a different time, a different world and that maybe the Mayor did what he thought was best for the overall good??? (I was not there so….)

Notable residents of Cascade Heights include: former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin, baseball legend Hank Aaron, former UN Ambassador and mayor of Atlanta Andrew Young, and past national president of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and founding member of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Ozell Sutton, Dr. Howard W. Grant, current Executive Director/Administrator of the Atlanta Board of Education, and Kandi Burruss, singer/songwriter, record producer, and cast member of The Real Housewives of Atlanta ( Kandi recently bought a new house in a Cascade gated community-Go Kandi!!)

Today, what’s sad are the home values. Cascade Heights was hit  hard in the bust. The wonderful Veltre Estates still has a sign at the corner of Cascade  and  Veltre Circle.  During their development, I knew these would be a treat in Cascade Heights, with only 24home sites!  I found the quality of this builders to be like none other, in a time when everyone under the sun was building out Cascade and Camp Creek.  Throwing up homes in a month, on lots too close for anyone. Jones & Minear Homebuilders left no stone unturned when it came to the details.

Unfortunately home sales went from $599K down to $355K  last in 2011; what an amazing deal on these estates of 5 Bedrooms, 3sides brick and 3 car garage  homes.  This may be a great area to keep an eye on for a future short sale.

Here’s an old sales website– see how drastically they were reduced…

No worries, Cascade Heights will rebound. It’s a perfect location- perfect for those wanting to live close to the city, but maybe a bit tired of living in a really urban area.  The land is cheap enough for investors to purchase and rebuild new construction-although, to really have an impact on value the builder will need to do more than a few homes. I love the look of the older homes on Boulevard Granada and Boulevard Lorraine, but I can picture many new single family homes on these streets similar to what was done in Washington Park, since there are a few without character. – Don’t sleep on Cascade Heights- a good investment area!

Author: niaknowles

Real Estate Broker, Christian Yogi, Mother of three

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