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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Northwoods Historic District
Reference Number 14000322
State Georgia
County DeKalb
Town Doraville
Street Address Roughly bounded by Buford Highway, Chamblee-Tucker Road, Shallowford Road, Interstate 85, and Interstate 285
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 5/13/2014
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The Northwoods Historic District is significant at the local level as a good intact example of a mid-201h-century subdivision that was developed as part of an explosion of growth in suburban DeKalb County in the years following World War II. The neighborhood provided housing and other amenities for workers in new industries in the area, such as the Doraville General Motors plant, which began operating nearby in 1947. The district is significant under Criterion A in the area of community planning and development as one of the first planned tract developments in Georgia that included a mixture of houses, schools, parks, churches, and shopping centers. In the decade of the 1950s, over 700 single-family houses were built on the first 250 acres. The main developer was Walter Tally, who tried to maintain low costs and high quality in order to appeal to young middle-class families. Tally had to work with lenders who were initially reluctant to finance the more innovative designs of the Contemporary-style ranch houses, as opposed to the first houses in Northwoods with more conservative pattern-book plans. Tally later went on to develop several other subdivisions in the Atlanta metro area, including Northcrest, Sexton Woods, and Brook Valley. The district is also significant under Criterion C in the area of architecture for its good collection of mid-201h century houses that follow the predominant national trends, as well as for its institutional buildings that reflect a modern design ethic. Residential architecture includes split-level houses and various styles and subtypes of ranch houses as identified in Guidelines for Evaluation: The Ranch House in Georgia (2011 ). The developer worked closely with architects Ernest Mastin and John Summer to devise six model floor plans that could be customized by the purchaser. These graduates of the Georgia Institute of Technology were influenced by California contemporary designs, but wanted to apply them to more modest houses. Other architecturally significant buildings include the semicircular Northwoods Presbyterian Church (1969) by architect Jack Durham Haynes and two sprawling modern schools (late 1950s-early 1960s), which were early designs by prominent Atlanta architect John Portman, who transformed Atlanta's downtown skyline in the 1960s and 1970s.

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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria