To the editor:
You do not live in Atlanta, not Ashford, not Nancy Creek, not Silver Lake, not even Historic Brookhaven. Nope – none of the above.
I agree with the folks at AshfordNeighors.org who vehemently dispute they are in “Brookhaven.” Though, I fear they have overlooked a most obvious fact: They don’t live in Ashford, either. They live in Cross Keys.
All they need to do is look across Johnson Ferry and read the historic plaque, “Old Cross Keys,” compliments of the state of Georgia. Or, they could stroll down to the end of Ashford-Dunwoody Road to visit the Peachtree Golf Club. Formerly the House Plantation, it was from there that Sherman’s officers issued orders dispatched from “Cross Keys” to direct the Northern invaders (liberators) towards Stone Mountain and Decatur objectives.
Our entire area was long known as “Cross Keys” long before what became “Historic Brookhaven” was a twinkle in the eye of real estate developers. Virtually every square inch of what is now proposed to be “the city” in our community was encapsulated in the “Cross Keys Militia District” and was governed as such.
We have been Cross Keys far longer than any of the other promoted names on the table for a proposed city.
Just like the thousands that drive by the “Old Cross Keys” plaque daily and give it no notice, so too, the pro- and anti-cityhood folks have overlooked the simple fact that the only community name we have had in common since colonial times has been “Cross Keys.”
You don’t believe me? Go to the library or DeKalb Historical Society and do some reading. Too busy to research? All right, how about a little common sense exercise?
Long before the Dunwoody “cityhood” movement, the community had to name with pride their newly minted, local public school. What did they choose? Dunwoody High School. Tucker? Tucker High School. Druid Hills? Druid Hills High School. Stone Mountain? Stone Mountain High School. Chamblee? Chamblee High School. See the pattern?
In 1958, our community made the same prideful choice to assign their own community name to Cross Keys High School. The same year St. Pius X opened, in the same time-frame Marist relocated, our community was still mindful of history and chose Cross Keys as the moniker for the most significant public institution in its history. From what was to become I-285 all the way down to what was to become I-85, our community knew its history and its common name in 1958. Ask any of our high school alumni of the sixties and they’ll tell you Brookhaven was the enclave along a tiny strip of Peachtree and no more.
What happened since then? Well, that is a fascinating discussion we’ll have to have in person over coffee or an adult beverage. Suffice it to say that we as a community in the past 50 years got caught up in forming and destroying imaginary and real lines to divide our community and sub-divide our community into neighborhoods.
What will these neighborhoods we’ve become do to convince ourselves and our elected officials that we are, in fact, a community again and we want to be a city? I am biased, but I think an excellent start would be to re-adopt the high school we once named after ourselves with pride. Haven’t been by there? It’s in the heart of “Brookhaven” and I’d gladly give you a personal tour.
Kim Gokce is the President of the Cross Keys Foundation and lives with his family in … Cross Keys?