Opinion: Recounting Chesnut (not Chestnut) household historical past | Opinion

From left, David Chesnut, Glenn Austin, Manget Davis, and Ethel Spruill collect with others for the “I Keep in mind Hour, Dunwoody” in 1993.


Linda and David Chesnut, together with their daughter Caroline, lived at Donaldson-Bannister Farm from 1975 till 2006. They had been the final household to stay there, and many individuals nonetheless recall the horses and donkeys the household stored within the fields on the nook of Chamblee Dunwoody Street and Vermack Street.

David Chesnut’s household has an extended historical past in DeKalb County. 

“Our family-owned land on each side of Chamblee Tucker Street all the way in which from about 300 yards west of I-85 to over the place Embry Hills is positioned,” in line with Chesnut. “I used to trip mules and plow corn and candy potatoes on my granddaddy’s farm proper in the course of what’s now I-85.” 

The Chesnut farmhouse was demolished and changed with a Denny’s Restaurant after the development of the interstate. 

A highway named for the household and farm stays within the space, however with the inaccurate spelling of Chestnut. Chestnut Drive extends from Buford Freeway to only west of I-85. (Atlanta Structure, Feb. 15, 1987, “From sluggish to speedy transit, MARTA Chairman David Chesnut maintains his household’s pioneer spirit”)

Chesnut Elementary College in Dunwoody is known as for family members. David Chesnut’s grandfather was on the DeKalb County College Board, and one other member of the family, James Chesnut, additionally served on the College Board. David Chesnut’s mom, Mary Smith Chesnut, shaped the DeKalb PTA Council after she started instructing residence economics at Chamblee Excessive College. She helped get the college lunch program began. College lunch applications grew to become essential throughout the Nice Despair. 

Many in the neighborhood wished to call the college after instructor M.E. Smith of Chamblee Excessive College, however David Chesnut remembers that colleges had been by no means named for a dwelling individual on the time.

David was born in Chamblee in 1938 to Mary Smith and John Harvey Chesnut. The household lived on the nook of Chamblee Dunwoody Street and Hart’s Mill Street when Hart’s Mill was referred to as Sexton Street. Their Forties neighbors included Quinn and Lib Lengthy who ran Lengthy’s Grocery store; plumber, electrician and ironmongery store proprietor Gene Smith; Dr. W.A. and Ruth    Mendenhall; and a baseball coach at Oglethorpe College referred to as Coach Frank. 

Chesnut attended Chamblee Elementary College and Chamblee Excessive College. He remembers taking eleventh grade English in the identical classroom the place he was a second grader. The fireplace that destroyed Chamblee Excessive College on Dec. 8, 1941, is one among his early reminiscences. 

David’s dad was the Amoco distributor for DeKalb County, so there have been 4 garages and gasoline vehicles within the household’s yard. “After I was going by way of highschool,” says Chesnut, “I had a yard filled with chickens and I peddled eggs for an FFA (Future Farmers of America) venture.” (“The Story of Dunwoody, 1821-2001” by Elizabeth L. Davis, Ethel W. Spruill, Joyce Amacher and Lynne Byrd)

Within the Fifties, David Chesnut remembers there was “nothing between Harts Mill Street and Mount Vernon Street.” Sooner or later, Chesnut and his pal Earl Donaldson went looking with their beagles and ended up the place Murphey Candler Park is at the moment. They had been following a rabbit. When it received darkish, the boys fearful about falling in a properly or their canines falling in a properly. They determined to spend the evening out within the woods.

Chesnut and Donaldson made themselves beds by piling straw after which laid down and lined themselves with their coats. 

Chesnut continues the story, “About 2:30 that morning, I heard a siren going off, and my daddy had pushed by way of Pink Spruill’s cornfield, looking for us.” A gun shot from David Chesnut helped the 2 males find the boys. (“I Keep in mind Dunwoody,” 1993 video, DeKalb Historical past Heart)


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