Opinion: 1939 Earl and Vivian Smith summer home | Opinion

Along Chamblee Dunwoody Road, just north of Donaldson-Bannister Farm and Vermack Road, was the location of the 1939 summer home of Earl and Vivian Lowrey Smith. They soon made it their permanent home. The white painted Cape Cod style home sat among lovely oak trees. Vivian Smith filled the home with fine antiques.

The 1939 home of Earl and Vivian Smith once sat along Chamblee Dunwoody Road, just north of Vermack Road. 


Earl Smith worked as a city salesman for Norris Candy, a large and successful candy manufacturer in the first half of the twentieth century. The Norris family also had a summer home along Chamblee Dunwoody Road. The guest house of the Norris family still stands on Sirron Court. Roy Head, who worked for Norris Candy for a time before starting his own candy company, lived in a white frame home on Chamblee Dunwoody Road with his wife Pamela. That home still stands, but the Smith house was demolished several years ago.

Before working for Norris Candy, Earl Smith worked for United Cigar Company. He listed United Cigar as his employer on his June 5, 1917, draft registration card. Smith served overseas from June 1918 until January 1919 as part of the Miscellaneous Quartermaster Companies Unit 2.

The 1930 census shows Earl and Vivian living on Kennesaw Avenue in Atlanta. He is listed as a candy salesman for Norris Candy. The census also lets us know the Smith family owned a radio.

In “The Story of Dunwoody” by Ethel Spruill and Elizabeth Davis, Vivian Smith shared some of her memories of living in what was considered the country at the time. Smith recalled, “My husband was so in love with the beauty of the outdoors and country living that even though there was no central heating in the house, he persuaded me to spend the winter in Dunwoody. He spoke in such glowing terms of the crackling log fires, the romance of candlelight and the beauty of the snow and ice storms we would see when winter came, that he finally persuaded me, against my better judgement to stay.”

One night the couple was expecting guests from Atlanta for dinner. Smith laughingly told how her guests “found me at the stove bundled in my precious fur coat, broiling steaks.”

In 1940, Atlanta Journal writer John Woodward shared a story about J. Earl Smith in his “About Dogs” column. A starving stray dog showed up at the Smith home, so thin “you could count his ribs.” Earl and Vivian Smith named him Pup and began serving him table scraps from their dinner table. He kept returning each night for another meal.

Pup was a mixed breed dog, which suited the couple fine since they were “folks who’d rather have an inch of dog than miles of pedigree.”

Then one day, after Pup was no longer looking gaunt, he showed up with another thin and starving dog. Earl Smith filled up one plate with food for the two dogs. Rather than get in a fight over the food, Pup stepped aside and let the new dog get his fill. Then Pup ate what was left. The Smiths named the new dog Blue and continued to share their leftovers each evening with the pair.


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