Buckhead is the uptown district of Atlanta, Georgia, United States, comprising approximately the northern one-fifth of the city. Buckhead is a major commercial and financial center of the Southeast, and it is the third-largest business district in Atlanta, behind Downtown and Midtown. The district's high-rise office buildings, hotels, and condominiums form a highly urbanized core along Peachtree Road. Surrounding this dense core are Buckhead's suburban neighborhoods, which feature large single-family homes situated among dense forests and rolling hills.
In 1838, Henry Irby purchased 202 1/2 acres surrounding the present intersection of Peachtree, Roswell, and West Paces Ferry roads from Daniel Johnson for $650. Irby subsequently established a general store and tavern at the northwest corner of the intersection. The name "Buckhead" comes from a story that Irby killed a large buck deer and placed the head in a prominent location.Prior to this, the settlement was called Irbyville. By the late 1800s, Buckhead had become a rural vacation spot for wealthy Atlantans.
Buckhead remained dominated by country estates until after World War I, when many of Atlanta's wealthy began building mansions among the area's rolling hills. Despite the stock market crash of 1929, lavish mansions were still constructed in Buckhead throughout the Great Depression. In 1930, Henry Aaron Alexander built one of the largest homes on Peachtree Road, a 15,000-square-foot (1,400 m2) house with 33 rooms and 13 bathrooms.The community was annexed by Atlanta in 1952, following an earlier attempt by Mayor William B. Hartsfield in 1946 that was voted down by residents.
To reverse a downturn in Buckhead Village during the 1980s, minimum parking spot requirements for bars were lifted, which quickly led to it becoming the most dense concentration of bars and clubs in the city, such as BAR, World Bar, Lulu's Bait Shack, Mako's, Tongue & Groove, Chaos, John Harvard's Brew House, Paradox, Frequency & Havana Club
Beginning in 2000, residents sought to ameliorate the crime situation by taking measures to reduce the community's nightlife and re-establish a more residential character. The Buckhead Coalition's president and former Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell, along with councilwoman Mary Norwood were instrumental in persuading the Atlanta City Council to pass a local ordinance to close bars at 2:30 AM rather than 4 AM, and liquor licenses were made more difficult to obtain. Eventually, most of the Buckhead Village nightlife district was acquired for the "Buckhead Atlanta" multi-use project, and many of the former bars and clubs were razed in 2007.
In 2008, a newsletter by the Fulton County Taxpayers Foundation began circulating that proposed the secession of Buckhead into its own city after more than 50 years as part of Atlanta. This came on the heels of neighboring Sandy Springs, which finally became a city in late 2005 after a 30-year struggle to incorporate, and which triggered other such incorporations in metro Atlanta's northern suburbs. Like those cities, the argument to create a city of Buckhead is based on the desire for more local control and lower taxes.
Buckhead roughly covers the interior of the "V" formed by Interstate 85 on the east and Interstate 75 on the west. Buckhead is bordered by Cumberland and Vinings in Cobb County to the northwest, the city of Sandy Springs to the north, Brookhaven and North Druid Hills in DeKalb County to the east, Midtown Atlanta to the south, and West Midtown to the west.
Buckhead comprises most of the neighborhoods of Atlanta's north side, 43 in total.
According to Forbes Magazine, Buckhead is home to the ninth-wealthiest zip code in the US (30327), with a household income in excess of $341,000 per year and is the location of the wealthiest of Atlanta's neighborhoods. Home to the Georgia Governor's Mansion, the area's real estate market is also the most expensive in the state of Georgia with an average home value in 2005 of approximately $761,000. Two of the nation's fourteen Mobil five-star restaurants — Seeger's and The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead — can be found here. The Robb Report magazine has consistently ranked Buckhead one of the nation's "10 Top Affluent Communities" due to "the most beautiful mansions, best shopping, and finest restaurants in the Southeastern United States". Due to its wealth, Buckhead is sometimes promoted as the "Beverly Hills of the East" or "Beverly Hills of the South" in reference to Beverly Hills, California, an area to which it is often compared.
At the heart of Buckhead around the intersections of Lenox, Peachtree and Piedmont Roads, is a shopping district with more than 1,400 retail units where shoppers spend more than $1 billion a year. In addition, Buckhead contains the highest concentration of upscale boutiques in the United States. The majority are located at Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza, sister regional malls located diagonally across from each other at the intersection of Peachtree and Lenox Roads. The malls are home to designer boutiques, mainstream national retailers, as well as six major department stores. This commercial core also has a concentration of "big-box" retailers.
The "Buckhead Atlanta" mixed use development originally aimed to bring even more exclusive boutiques, restaurants, hotels, condos and office space to Buckhead.In 2011 developer Oliver McMillan bought the property and plans to build a scaled-down version, not an upscale shopping district, but an "urban village" woven into the community with 300,000 square feet (28,000 m2) of retail and restaurants, 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2) of boutique offices and two 20-story luxury apartment buildings.
Buckhead is also a center for healthcare, and is home both to Piedmont Hospital and the private, catastrophic care hospital Shepherd Center which specializes in spinal cord injury and acquired brain injury. The two hospitals are located adjacent to one another along Peachtree Road. This location is known as "Cardiac Hill" by runners of the annual Peachtree Road Race.
While much of west and north Buckhead is preserved as single-family homes in forested settings, the Peachtree Road corridor has become a major focus of high-rise construction. The first 400-foot (121 m) office tower, Tower Place, opened in 1974. Park Place, built in 1986, was the first 400+ foot (121+ m) condominium building. 1986 also saw the completion of the 425-foot (129 m), 34-story Atlanta Plaza, then Buckhead's tallest and largest building. In 2000, Park Avenue Condominiums pushed the record to 486 feet (148 m). Since that time, a wave of development has followed. The 660-foot (201 m) Sovereign and 580-foot (177 m) Mandarin Oriental were completed in 2008. Today, Buckhead has over 50 high-rise buildings, almost one-third of the city's total.
Primary and secondary schools
Public schools in Buckhead are administered by Atlanta Public Schools.
The following public elementary schools serve Buckhead:
- E. Rivers Elementary School
- Garden Hills Elementary School
- Morris Brandon Elementary School
- Sarah Rawson Smith Elementary School
- Warren T. Jackson Elementary School
The area is served by Sutton Middle School and North Atlanta High School.
By 2012, due to overall population increases in Buckhead, many schools became increasingly crowded. Brandon Elementary was at 97% capacity, Garden Hills was at 102% capacity, E. Rivers was at 121% capacity, and Sutton was at 150% capacity. In the round of school zone change proposals in 2012, Ernie Suggs of the Atlanta Journal Constitution said that the zones of Buckhead "remained pretty much intact."
Local private schools include the Atlanta International School, the Atlanta Speech School, Christ the King School, the Atlanta Girls School, The Galloway School, The Heiskell School, Holy Spirit Preparatory School, Trinity School, The Lovett School, Pace Academy, and The Westminster Schools.