Usually, when a run ends with a trip to the cemetery, something has gone tragically wrong. Fortunately for local lawyer Wright Mitchell, a lifelong resident of Buckhead, his arrival at Harmony Grove Cemetery during a run resulted in a much happier outcome. While it may be hard for some to believe, Buckhead, known for ritzy mansions, gleaming high-rises and upscale shopping, is home to hidden history. Mitchell's fateful discovery prompted him to take action to preserve the cemetery and other important pieces of historic Buckhead through the creation of the Buckhead Heritage Society in 2006. Today, the society actively maintains historic sites in the community, advocates for the preservation of buildings and interprets the history they uncover. And they've already managed to help save one famous Peachtree Road mansion.
As an interview with the Saporta Report highlights, Mitchell's discovery while running among the stately mansions of West Paces Ferry Road was a happy accident. After stumbling upon the cemetery and doing a bit of research on historic preservation groups in the metro area, Mitchell and others formed the Buckhead Heritage Society. One of the group's greatest moments was helping forge a path for preservation of the Randolph-Lucas House, even if it did end up moving out of Buckhead.
Beyond advocacy and preservation, the society works to gather information about the history of the community and share it anyone interested in finding out more — their website includes a map listing all the historical markers in Buckhead as well as information on many historic buildings. The Buckhead Heritage Society offers a glimpse of both the genteel past and rise to opulence the neighborhood experienced as Atlanta grew. And it all began with a trip to the cemetery.