The Outpost

A short history of the origins of Vinings

Have you ever wondered how our community of Vinings came to be? It all started in the 1830’s when a tar heel transplant named Hardy Pace began offering a ferry service to help shuttle folks across the Chattahoochee River in Vinings. Hardy eventually owned 10,000 acres of land from Vinings to Buckhead, along with a farm, grist mill and a tavern.  He could ferry you across the Hooch in less time than it takes to order a caprese salad at Canoe. Paces Ferry lives on today as one of the main street thoroughfares in Vinings.

Development steadily advanced across the South in the mid-1800’s until a passing visitor from the North named Sherman paid a visit to Vinings on his tour through Georgia. Topping Signal Mountain in July of 1864, where the Vinings Overlook office tower now perches, Sherman laid eyes on Atlanta for the first time.

Union soldiers, under the command of General Ollie Howard, established their headquarters in Hardy’s beautiful seventeen room antebellum home in Vinings and lodged there for eleven days while planning Atlanta’s landscape redesign. The army ensconced in his ancestral home prompted Hardy to take a spontaneous summer trip with his family down to the gnat-line in Milledgeville.  There are disputed accounts of how he died later that year.

In any event, after the Union soldiers enjoyed a comfortable respite at the commandeered Pace estate, they mustered for their march south and lingered just long enough to leave the Pace family a tip. Unfortunately, it was the tip of a match which was then lit and used to burn Hardy’s family home to the ground.

Later, when Hardy’s children, returned to Vinings, prospects of a long-term ferry business were fading and progress soon demanded the construction of a bridge across the Chattahoochee River (now ‘Hermi’s Bridge’). The dividing line of Fulton and Cobb counties runs right down the middle of the river.  However, Fulton County was stuck paying for three-fourths of the bridge and Cobb only paid one-fourth; perhaps foreshadowing the fiscal hawkishness that would be a hallmark of Cobb County governance for many years!

My parents drove over that wooden-slatted bridge when they moved their family into Vinings over four decades ago. At the time, their friends were alarmed by their risky decision, saying things like: “You’re moving out to the sticks!”  “What will your children do out there in the country?”  That place is too far from the city to ever become developed.  Well.  Many of those overly-opinionated critics now live in Woodstock, Canton, John’s Creek, and Alpharetta – cities many consider to be more appropriately categorized as lower Tennessee. But, then again, perhaps one day our descendants will consider Chattanooga to be a north Atlanta suburb!

There is much to love in this remote country outpost of Vinings: friendly families, beautiful homes, outstanding restaurants, great shopping, world class schools, dynamic churches, spectacular performing arts venues, exciting sports activities and a world of other things to experience within our scenic enclave, just minutes from the big city. It is not too shabby a coming-of-age for that quiet countryside whose remoteness once engendered such alarm!

As fate would have it, this southern boy found the love of his life in upstate New York, married her and brought her safely back across the Mason-Dixon line to live in Vinings. I trust her implicitly, but since one can never be certain of where latent and distant loyalties lie, I insist on maintaining possession of all of the matches.